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Learning Workplace Culture of the New Job
The First Day of Work
The first day of work. We have all experienced the feeling of walking into the new office to start your first day at the new job. You walk in with your newly purchased suit with shoes that are pinching your feet. You spend the first day being introduced to people whose name you will never remember. You go home mentally drained from all the new information that you have taken in from the new workplace. Now, get to work.
Honeymoon is Over
It usually does not take long for reality to set in. You are now an employee. The niceties of recruitment that wooed you to the job stop for the reality of everyday responsibilities and demands of your new job. You learn who is who in the chain of command and make your first impressions on your new coworkers. The longer you are there, the more you will learn the pecking order of who's who in the company. You may even make a new friend with a coworker who tries to give you the inside scoop of their perspective of the state of things. While this person will give you some helpful background information, be sure to filter everything you hear to develop your own opinions later.
Workplace culture is simply how an organization gets things done. It comes from the values and attitudes that direct the work processes. The leadership of your new organization will be defining and directing this sense of workplace culture. If you ever leave a job with a large company where there are defined policies and procedures to go to a family run business, you certainly will experience a culture shock. Chances are good that the new job is going to have a much different set of rules that govern how employees do their jobs. I once worked for a small company with a policy manual that was so negative that it was actually offensive. It was filled with more "don'ts" and "you better not even think about it" verbiage than any document I had ever seen. Their bottom line was selling their products at all costs, no matter what it takes. As one can imagine, the sales employees were treated with the most respect. Their cares and concerns were addressed more aggressively than others in the organization. For this organization, the sales department was the priority.
Use You Own Judgment
Even as a new employee, it will not take you long to get a good sense of the culture at your workplace. The best advice would be to take things in slowly to make your decisions about the organization. Remember, you are also checking out this new employer. While jobs are not as easy to come by these days, there will be a time when opportunities and options will be more plentiful. When this happens, good employees will be able to leave bad employers. Give this job some time to get a good impression to find out if it fits who you are, and what you want from an employer. Some individuals prefer a small employer where they feel there might be opportunity for lots of input and interaction with the decision makers. Conversely, some individuals prefer to work for a larger employer where there is room for advancement through more promotional opportunities, educational support, training, etc. By taking time to learn about the mission and strategic goals of the organization, no matter the size, you have the opportunity to decide if this is the job for you. While the job may be checking you out during this introductory period, you, too, should be checking it out.