Culture Club

True story, it was my first day on a new job and I was about two hours into the day when my director takes me on a tour. We enter this one floor and I get introduced to "Betty". We chatted with "Betty" briefly and then went to the stairwell to move to the next floor. We no sooner entered the stairwell when the director exclaims, quite loudly, in an echoing staircase, "That fat F*** is such a C***. Don't listen to a word she says. She's an F****ing bitch." What did I hear? Welcome to your new work environment!

Looking back on this experience, I can tell you this one incident clearly laid out the culture of my new job. There were other examples of egregious behavior throughout my tenure at this organization. I still regret that I never addressed how offensive, unprofessional, or threatening this environment was. I can tell you that from that first day on the job, I was already plotting my escape.

Culture clashes aren't always this extreme. Usually it's smaller stuff. Let's say you are in your office clearly in a meeting. Does the office culture support interruptions in this scenario? Or, is it an unspoken rule that even though the door is open you should come back later. Why do we even care?

We care because the organizational culture influences how we interact with peers, supervisors, and even the outside world. Don't believe me? Check this out

Based on the true story you read above, which was my introduction to this organization's culture, what do you think was going on in this organization? Here is what I saw:

  1. My department was not well respected in the organization.

  2. Fostering positive relationships with others in the organization, including within my own department, was very hard work.

  3. The work was rewarding but took way more energy than it needed to.

Epilogue: The entire department was eliminateed about a year after I started working there. I had already moved on. Clearly, the organization did not see the value in having this department. I was not surprised.

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