Ambitious with the work

Because every job matters, and nothing you're good at should be a disappointment.

We have been doing this for a long time, and still the multibillion-dollar corporations sneak by. Today, it’s Elgin-based Middleby, a foodservice equipment maker now buying Florida-based foodservice equipment maker Welbilt for $4.3 billion. Casual. While you may not have heard of Middleby, you’ve definitely eaten food out of its fryers and fridges, and perhaps lusted after its Viking and La Cornue ranges. 

If raw foods are more your vibe, the news about Hazel Technologies has you covered. The company — which makes essentially silica gel packets but for keeping produce fresh — raised $70 million and plans to hire another 15 people before the year’s end. Good for the local startup economy, even better news for that avocado that was already turning brown by the time you got it home. 

Quick-growing Clearcover is also raising money, $200 million on the heels of a year where the auto insurer claims to have doubled revenue and headcount. It plans to use the money to double headcount again, this time by adding 250 jobs as it expands to more states. 

And after a not-at-all-great year for commercial real estate, offices are starting to expand as well. Cinespace plans to add up to 19 new soundstages to continue turning out Dick Wolf “Chicago” dramas, plus some more interesting work including a new show from Michael B. Jordan that deals with police corruption. Where will he find the material???

Enlace is a great place to donate if you just barked out a laugh-sob — the team there has been doing the work in Little Village for a long time. If you are a paid subscriber to this letter, you’ve already made a small donation this month.

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In addition to the fictional workplaces, Chicago’s getting a couple of new real offices as well. Diaper and tissue maker Kimberly-Clark is opening up 250 jobs in a Fulton Market “commercial center,” mostly by relocating people from Wisconsin in exchange for millions in state tax credits. Our favorite scam!

This is as good a time as any to tell you that Wisconsin’s greatest grifter, Foxconn, is losing billions of dollars in tax credits after promising 13,000 jobs and delivering … 281. Don’t spend too much time savoring the justice though — the manufacturer is still getting $10 million in tax breaks, plus all the eminent domain, utilities upgrades and other community-wrecking benefits it’s already enjoyed. 

Elements is planning to add real jobs, both here on behalf of itself and everywhere on behalf of its clients. The staffing firm essentially helps companies go global, either by managing international hiring or doing the hiring directly and lending the talent. The company is moving its headquarters to the Loop from Barcelona to be closer to clients, with a goal of hiring 160-odd roles over the next few years. 

And yes, the CEO who grew up in Evanston is aware of the differences between the two cities. He plans to keep a presence, as well as his condo, in Barcelona.

Something that still doesn’t make sense: SPACs! We can comprehend the fundamental concept — a publicly owned “company” is formed solely to raise money and buy a to-be-determined privately owned company, taking the existing business public without any of the pesky processes and regulations. We just can’t understand why it’s legal.

Anyway, ticket broker Vivid Seats is going public via a SPAC at a valuation of almost $2 billion. Yes, a company that makes money off of live events happening is skipping the due diligence and moving straight to the stock market with a value comparable to the GDP of the Marshall Islands. 

Which brings us to Amazon, and the news that it hired 15,000 people in Illinois alone last year, none of whom are unionized

Jobs, Glorious Jobs
VP of Social Media for Marcus by Goldman Sachs
We cannot deny the appeal of this job, running social for the “hip” “young” arm of Goldman Sachs. We, too, like to talk to millennials about money. Though we feel this job will have less of a “seize the means of production” vibe.

Community and Partnerships Manager at Mozilla
Or join Mozilla in its fight for a free and open web. The money is probably not as good, but the sleep sure is better. 

Director of Marketing & Communications at Lakeview Pantry
Ditto this role, where you can use your expertise for good by leading the internal and external marketing efforts at one of the city’s largest and longest-operating food pantries. Create a marketing, comms and PR strategy to build the pantry’s brand, important mission and presence. Manage the website, newsletters, social accounts, budget, media relations and a small team.

Content Strategist for International Mental Health at Teladoc
The effectiveness of telehealth is still up for debate — particularly when it comes to mental health — but we do fundamentally believe in expanding access. And Teladoc, freshly merged with Livongo, is in a good position to write the checks. Keep that $37 billion in combined value in mind as you negotiate your salary.

Inspiration of the week

“Everything I do is the most important thing I do … it might not be close to being the best, but I have to make it the most important thing. That means I will be ambitious with my job and not with my career. That’s a very big difference, because if I’m ambitious with my career, everything I do now is just stepping-stones leading to something — a goal I might never reach, and so everything will be disappointing. But if I make everything important, then eventually it will become a career. Big or small, we don’t know. But at least everything was important.”

Actor Mads Mikkelsen, better known as “oh, that guy!” with some delightfully astute life advice. We don’t suggest taking your eyes completely off the career ball — that’s advice for white men. But getting ambitious about what you can control today? That we can get behind. That and not fucking with Rihanna’s money.

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