07 Feb Should You Stay or Should You Go: Why Cultural Fit Needs to Matter to You
Just imagine landing a role at your dream company, but your excitement quickly depleted once you were exposed to the culture of that company, which you felt didn’t include you. You aren’t feeling comfortable in your own skin and the people that you need to impress to move up the corporate ladder are uncomfortable around you as well. You aren’t the normative and the only way to play to win is to play the game with a mask and alter the true uniqueness that is you.
Now that my friends, colleagues and I are navigating our mid-level career roles, there’s been much talk around the brunch table about cultural fit. It’s not about entering the workforce anymore, but now it’s about whether they should stay or leave their current roles because they no longer feel included in the direction of their company’s culture. They are losing themselves, their personal interests and their joy to keep their heads above water. The journey to the top exposes us to some of the nuisances that we weren’t privy to in junior level positions. Therefore the longer they stay in their roles at their current companies the more their work environment will turn their joy into sadness.
I’ve experienced many “frogs” in terms of jobs and I probably still have more “frogs” to encounter in my journey, but one thing I’ve learned is that cultural fit needs to matter to me just as much as it does to the companies that I pursue.
Sociologists Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler call it social contagion. Their theory explains that “the social networks we occupy exert a powerful influence on every aspect of our lives, including the levels of success and stress we experience in our careers.” The old age saying is true in this instance and you are the company you keep. We choose our friends and lovers, but who says you can’t choose your co-workers? Salary is important, but who you choose to spend the rest of your day with matters. Since we spend most of the hours of our days at work and with our co-workers making sure you get along with them or and tolerate them for a large amount of time is important. According to Inc., “Asking yourself one simple question can illuminate the potential impact of the network. The question is: Do I want to be like these people?”
Companies are already-made social networks that you would be joining, and their values and beliefs can impact you directly. If everyone is negative about where the company is headed then you will be negative about its progress, too. If your co-workers moral is low then yours will be, too. As a minority working your way up the ladder you’ll see less and less people who look like you. That’s something that will also have a negative impact on you as you take on the burden as becoming “the first” or “the only one” in the boardrooms.
So when you are in your search for a new role ask yourself these questions:
Do they have the things you want for yourself?
Are they happy?
Do they have good marriages, good health, and supportive communities?
Are they people you want to be like?
Make the right decision and be carefully who you choose to be around daily because their energy and lifestyle can have a direct impact on your wellness.
Also published on Medium.