In business today propaganda is as easy as posting a few blog entries and having a PR person send out a couple of well crafted announcements.
Its getting harder and harder to determine good vs. bad places to work. At least from the outside. Many individuals are drawn to a fatter paycheck and a glossy annual report. Then they get to their new company and POW...its like getting cold cocked in the back of the head...you don't see it and it hits you...how toxic your new company is.
I used to wonder how the WorldCom, Enron and Tyco's could go on for so long without drawing almost any external attention. In reality its very easy, almost as easy as Bernie Madoff running a Ponzi scheme for more then 2 decades.
Most people are charmed by good looks and pedigree backgrounds. Those of you that believe success is simply hard work and passion need to wake up...yes, many will succeed on the later however many "Pass Go, and collect there $200" simply by manipulating and portraying something that's not real.
We are no longer living in the days of mean leaders that grace the cover of Fortune Magazine, remember Linda Wachner from Warnaco? She was listed as one of the 7 roughest and toughest bosses. By the way so was Steve Jobs...We revere some folks who may actually have extreme talent even if working for them is literally detrimental to your health.
With that said there are still many Machiavellian leaders out there. I have worked in these types of environments along with some very good ones. In some cases I have had both good and bad leaders and you figure out how to make it work.
In the end, my advice to those looking for a new job...do your homework...talk to insiders...whatever they tell you that might be a red flag times it by 2x. Go to glassdoor and other sites. If the overwhelming feedback is bad, then there is probably some truth.
Open the book and check out the insides...