Is the place you work the right culture fit for you? 6 signs that will tell you that it’s not (Blog #19)

green robot amongst red robots

We’re often told that in order to really know if the place where we work is the right fit for us, we need to give it time. And logically it makes sense. But looking back it’s amazing how with every job I’ve had, the way I felt about the place within the first week, was the same when I left.

In other words, by the end of the first week my feelings of whether it was right for me or not, were spot on. However, looking back I wasn’t aware of this at the time. Yes, I was aware of what I was feeling, but I didn’t think I could really know that early on.

Well, it turns out that I did.

So, here are 6 signs that enabled me to see that the place where I was working, at various times in my life, just wasn’t the right culture fit for me.

No. 1 – When your future manager talks badly about one of their past or current employees straight away.

It can happen at the interview or even on your first day. And it’s usually a case of where they say something about how incompetent they are or were. I remember one of my managers during the interview for my very first marketing job said, “You know dumbness really spreads out there. You know how dumb people are.”

I remember even then thinking this can’t be good. And I was right. What does that say about that person, if after two minutes of meeting me they’re already talking about other people they worked with?

What a joke. What a lack of character.

Yeah, you can really trust him. NOT!

No trust. No respect. No team.

When thinking back to his comment about “dumbness spreading” it makes me laugh.


He was the one that hired these so called “dumb people” he was complaining about. So what did that say about him?

No. 2 – You discover what “hump day” is.

It was my second stint in government and on the first Wednesday I heard people around me say “It’s hump day. It’s hump day.” Meaning half of the week was over.

So, why was this a sign?

Every second in that place was agonising to say the least. And it’s almost like everyone needed a mental reminder that the weekend was getting closer, just to get through the week.

Basically, when the work culture is good, it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. When it’s bad, you’ll notice people will somehow acknowledge in different ways that the weekend is almost here. This’s what gets them through the week.

No. 3 – People walk past you like they don’t even see you and it’s considered perfectly normal.

Does it really happen?

You bet.

The last corporate place I worked at I was there for more than two years and it was common to see this type of behaviour there the whole time I was there.

No way should this be considered acceptable. If you do see this your alarm bells should ring big time. GET OUT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

No. 4 – Gossip is at an all-time high.

This is when people talk about other people like it’s the only thing they’re there to do.

I thought I seen it all and then one day I was with a colleague in the lift when another colleague walked in. Colleague A said to colleague B “How are you?” Colleague B replied back saying that she wasn’t that well and added some detail. As soon as colleague B left the lift, colleague A turned around to me and said, “Gee, why don’t you tell me your life’s story?” As if to say how dare she answer her question.

I couldn’t believe it!!

She had started the conversation herself and bitched about why the other colleague replied.

Could it get any worse?

No. 5 – You feel completely uncomfortable asking someone a question and when you manage to ask them, you apologise like you’re asking the world of them.

Yep, I’ve seen it, “I’m really sorry to bother you. Really sorry.”

Here’s the thing when you work in the same company together you’re teammates. You’re supposed to speak to each other. You shouldn’t feel like you’re asking the world of them by asking one question or even more.

When you see this type of behaviour know there are problems with the culture.

No. 6 – You feel really disconnected like you’re not part of the team and in order to be part of the team you need to change who you are as a person.

An example that I’ve experienced is when people in my team started to swear at each other. E.g. call each other names like “Bitch” and give each other the middle finger. And, if you didn’t like it or didn’t join in, then there was something wrong with you.

Like Simon Sinek once said, “If you’re a different person at home to how you’re at work then somewhere you’re lying.” You’ll never be happy in a place where you can’t be yourself or, even worse, where you have to lower your character to fit it.

And FYI – when it comes to swearing in the workplace, I’ve seen people use this as a sign to show how close and comfortable people are with each other.

What a load of rubbish!

From what I’ve seen, the workplaces that had a lot of swearing where the ones the were in trouble the most. I mean their work culture/environment was revolting. Shocking. Poisonous. You could cut through the tension with a knife.

You get what I’m saying?

The way they spoke to each other was merely a reflection of how they felt. Pissed off, unhappy and miserable.

Blog #19 Tip – Trust your gut instinct. Don’t spend years in a company that is the wrong culture fit for you. It will just get in the way of you excelling and becoming the best that you can be.

Also, if you’re in place where you have to lower your character to fit in, where you’re not becoming a better person, but you’re going the other way, e.g. in the way that you behave and how you treat others – get out of there! It’s not worth it. Your aim should always be to find a culture/environment where you become a better person, not the opposite.

What did you think of blog post #19? Have you come across any of these signs? Or, do you have different ones you’d add to the list? Tell me about it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you know someone that will benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.


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One of my biggest career regrets. Make sure YOU don’t make this mistake (Blog #18)

Signs saying new skills and training

I remember it like yesterday when I finished my last uni exam. I still remember the date, it was 23 June 2005. I know, it’s a bit sad. But other than having a freakishly good memory, that’s how significant it was to me.

And as I was driving home that night I remember thinking, I’m finished. It’s done. I’m here. I made it.

Yes, I still had to wait for the results, but my bit was done. The moment that every uni student looks forward to. Where life with homework ends. And I remember almost feeling a little bit lost, but relieved at the same time. What was funny, for a second there, I thought about starting another degree, I think out of habit. Only to be stopped by some rational thinking – now I have to get experience.

It was now going to be all about getting as much experience as possible. I had two uni degrees and I remember thinking, that’s enough. I’d done my bit studying and now it was time to hit the working world.

The conscientious student

As a student I was a lecturers’ dream. My education was number one priority and I always put in 110% into everything I did. Those who knew me all commented on how committed, interested and focused I was. Basically, I was the person you wanted to work with on your group assignments.

But once uni finished that was it. I somehow felt that this emphasis on education was no longer needed. Like I’d done my bit.

And this tends to be a very common reaction that I’ve seen with people finishing uni. It’s like when you’re studying fulltime it’s your job to study. But when that finishes, other than the fact that you’ve had enough of it for a while, you tend to think you’ve done your bit.

Continuing to educate myself should never have changed from being number one priority. Regardless of the job I had or how much money I was making.

Now, when opportunities presented themselves through work, for example to attend seminars and presentations, basically when worked paid for it, I showed a lot of initiative. My conscientious nature took advantage of as many paid opportunities as possible.

But where I’m really disappointed with myself is that when work didn’t pay for it, I stopped right there.

I didn’t pursue it myself. I felt sorry to spend money on my education after uni and somehow had it in my head that if work wasn’t going to pay for it then neither was I. Even though for most of my working life money wasn’t an issue. Especially, at the start. I was single, didn’t have kids and was living at home. I remember times when full pay cheques were saved.

Had I made a conscious decision to continue my education after uni and actually put a plan and budget in place, the possibility of what I could’ve been exposed to and who I could’ve met is endless. This would’ve also put a lot more control in my hands as to how fast I develop, instead of leaving it in the hands of managers above me.

In fact, there were times were I completely hated my job and felt like not only was I not progressing in any way, but I was going backwards. Forgetting what I learnt. Imagine if I turned the experience around and used the money that I made from those jobs to do some courses or seminars in areas that I wanted to develop in? I would’ve put the control back in my hands and not kept it in the hands of the people above me.

Why learning should always be a high priority

In order to get to the point where you feel fulfilled in your career you need to be moving forward. And by continually focusing on your education, your skill set and knowledge, this is one way you can make sure this happens. In fact, when I think back to the most unhappy times in my career and life it’s when I stagnated. It’s when I didn’t move forward.

And the other important thing is that it puts the control of what you want to achieve with your career in your hands. Not your manager’s, but yours. As there’s nothing more frustrating than when you feel as though you have lost control of where your career is going. When you feel like there’s nothing you can do about it. Well, there’s definitely something you can do about it.

Blog #18 Tip:

Have a good think about where you want to be in one to two years time. It doesn’t have to be far into the future. When we set goals that are far into the future, we tend to feel as though we have plenty of time and lose focus on achieving them. And something that can help you out in this process is sorting our your ‘why’. Refer to Blog #17 – Want a successful career? What YOU need to do to get the right experience.

Then think about all the skills you need to learn to achieve what it is you want to achieve. If you’re currently employed and you can get your work to pay for it, then GREAT!!! If you can show your employer how they will benefit from you learning these skills, then definitely approach then with the idea.

But if the say “No” or it isn’t directly linked to the job you have now, don’t let it stop you. Do it anyway!

And the best thing about all this is that it’s never too late to start reinvesting in yourself again. I just wish I had this mindset 10 years ago.

So, how did you find this blog post? Can you relate to some of the things I’ve spoken about?

Has it made you think about things differently and, if so, how? I’d love to hear about it.

If you know someone that will benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.



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