Monday, April 15, 2013

Let Me Introduce You to Our Culture

You have been searching for a job and someone decides to take a chance on you- YOU’RE HIRED! So you go through the typical range of emotions: you’re excited, confident, relieved, maybe anxious, and nervous, yet ready for the changes to come.

Day 1 begins- you wake up, change your outfit a few times trying to decide what’s “appropriate” for this momentous occasion and off you go! You arrive at work and for a brief minute, while you’re still outside of the building, you question what this is going to be like. It’s like the first day of school, but more pressure to perform and your friends won’t be there. You get over yourself, and head towards the front door ready for the day ahead.

You step into the building- what happens?

Did someone greet you with a warm and friendly smile or was there no one around to help you find your way? Was anyone expecting you and prepared to deal with your first day on the job? Did you have a workspace or did you have to set one up for yourself? Did someone introduce you to people you will be working with or does everyone ignore you? Do people see that you need help and help you? Or get annoyed by your questions? Was there a training program for new hires? Was music playing or was it silent? Do people around you seem happy or apathetic?

I could go on and on, but these questions lend themselves to the way in which we understand work culture. The way that you feel in a work environment, the way people dress, the way people interact- it’s all in the culture. And you will never be more aware of the culture than on your first day of work.  Overtime, you will discover if you can fit into this new culture. If things go smoothly and you adjust quickly, you are a culture fit. On the other hand, if every day gets worse and worse and you can’t seem to find your way- you may not be a good fit.

What can you do to make your work life easier? Before you begin a new job, ask questions about the work environment to try to gain a feel for whether or not it is the right fit for you. Ask for a tour, introduce yourself to some potential coworkers, and check out the atmosphere. You’ll gain a pretty good understanding if there are any deal breakers within the building right away. Consider those work culture factors especially if you are weighing the options of two different job offers.

Work culture factors will strongly influence your longevity and success within an organization. Make sure you do your homework before committing to a particular work culture and don’t get discouraged if the culture is a mismatch for you. Better to know now than spend the time enduring a new job that feels like a bad relationship.

By Kristen Keyes

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