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When Company Culture Isn’t Cliché : Finding Malbek


Lindsay Ritenbaugh

August 29, 2022


Hi, I’m Lindsay, and my road to Malbek has been an interesting one. I went from a job that expected me to work on my vacations to one that values my time and well-being as much as I do. To tell my story, I need a lot more than one blog! So, here is part one of my three-part series, "When company culture isn’t cliché."

 Letting Go, Moving Forward

After 15 years working professionally in elementary-higher education and nonprofit fundraising, in May of 2021 I stepped away from a toxic work environment without next steps identified. This was completely out of character for me, especially since I am a by-the-book, type-A event planner infamous for coordinating travel with detailed, color-coded Google Sheets of to-the-minute itineraries. While I enjoyed the impact I was making in the role, it was quite literally killing me, and I knew it could not be sustainable much longer.

While 2020 had been tough for all of us, it also provided clear perspective that I needed to make a few major changes for my personal and professional well-being. I was lucky to have been able to use savings from selling my car when I returned to Chicago in December 2020, allowing for a few months of (f)unemployment, albeit scary. Friends and family applauded my bravery, but ultimately, I knew I owed it to myself to find a place where I could be truly happy (not unlike my favorite TV character RebeccaBunch):

I hosted trivia part-time on weeknights, which appeased my extraversion, and sought full-time employment during the daytime. Checking LinkedIn Easy Apply, scouring other recruiting sites for new opportunities, and following up on pending job applications each became part of my morning routine. Having these few months of financial security helped me to be more intentional about my job search, but as each week passed, I still had not found “the one”. Slowly but surely, I grew more impatient and discouraged by my search.  

Although I was searching for a job, what I really was looking for was change. I was looking for a career shift to something adjacent to my skill set, such as learning development or communications. But the biggest change I was looking for was work-life balance: something I utterly lacked in my last role. I quickly found that many of the jobs that I was interviewing for sounded more like “We are your life” rather than “we want to be a part of your life”. I began to worry increasingly that I had made a mistake in leaving my current position without another lined up. 

Enter Malbek from stage right

On a whim, I went on a social media platform I had not visited in months and saw a friend and former colleague had added me to a group called Expatriates of Student Affairs. I gasped when the cover photo of the 22,000-strong private group simply included the words, "Be free.” 

My now colleague Becky Evans shared a post in the group on August 13: 

I vividly remember reading this post and immediately applying to Malbek from my phone. The next day I got an email from Matt Patel, Malbek’s Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder. A few short interviews and a demo of Malbek later, I was offered the job in less than three weeks—a record compared to previous job searches. I had never considered a role in legal tech, nor at a startup like Malbek. But the conversations I had during the interviews helped me to realize this was a leap worth taking.  

And so began my journey with Malbek! Watch out for part two, which tells my story of settling in to my new role. 

If you are interested in working for Malbek (and trust me, you should be!), please check out our careers page. If you want to get to know us more, check out our LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter accounts! 

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