What Do You Do When You Don’t Fit In Your Company’s Culture?

I know this won’t be shocking to regular blog readers, but I write fairly often about company cultures.

Usually, I write for leadership – what their role is in creating a strong culture, how to do that, how to proactively manage culture based on core values.

This time, however, I’m writing for the average employee, because employees also have a direct responsibility in building a positive culture of recognition by actively acknowledging and appreciating the efforts and achievements of their colleagues.

What do you do when you don’t fit in your company’s culture? That’s the question asked in this Forbes article, which gives several good examples.

2 options when the “problem” is you

What do you do when the “problem” is you. You don’t fit in for whatever reason. Realistically, you have only two viable options:

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  1. Change to fit the culture – Perhaps you’re more of a “heads down, get the work done” kind of person in an office that enjoys lunches as a group, birthday celebrations, etc. You need to get away from your desk and join in the festivities, at least on an occasional basis.
  2. Walk away from the culture – Perhaps the culture is so completely foreign to you and your own nature – it’s too competitive, perhaps too secretive, maybe even one that thrives on back-stabbing and one-upping each other. Perhaps it’s not as negative as that, but it still is foreign to you and how you like to work. All you can do is walk away.

Ultimately, we have to be comfortable in the place we spend the majority of our waking hours. Remember, when you’re interviewing for a job, you need to interview the company as much as they interview you.

Find a culture that fits you, and don’t be afraid to walk away.

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.

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