Fit In or Express Individuality? Company Culture & Starting A New Job
When you start a new job, you have a short time to adapt to the company culture.
But the company culture is not something that is readily explained to newcomers. And being that you’re new to the job, you may be so focused on work and making a good impression that you fail to notice the culture in which you’re now a part.
As a new staff member, understanding the culture puts you in a position to quickly learn the expectations for company interactions. But you’re ultimately responsible for how well you adapt and your success in your new role.
Let’s talk about succeeding in a new job and how the company culture can impact this.
1. Understand the company culture
Starting a new job means planning to adopt a company’s culture. Therefore, evaluating the company’s culture before applying, during the interviews, and when starting a new job is essential to know what to expect. And what is expected of you.
In these initial few weeks, listen and be observant so you can quickly move over the new job learning curve.
2. Make critical use of those first 90 days
While you may not be on an official probationary period, those first 90 days are crucial for new job success. You can assess how persons act in the workplace and how they are treated when they do. This gives you clear insights into how the company appreciates its workers individuality or if everyone tries to fit into a predetermined mold.
Remember also that a collaborative approach is necessary. So, you can’t be constantly touting your own horn as a way to maintain your individuality in the workplace. This will certainly present a negative impression in the mind of your coworkers and affect working relationships. You too are also helping persons to determine how to act around you. Help to create and reinforce a positive work environment where your coworkers also feel safe to be themselves.
3. Don’t forget that you are your own brand
When you join a new company, you bring your personal brand with you. It would have been evident in your interviews and interactions with members of the recruitment and hiring team.
From the moment you step into that new environment, you are already representing your personal brand. How you interact with managers, co-workers, and staff determines how they see you. First impressions do last, and that initial honeymoon period is ripe with making impressions – good and negative. You’ll be showing co-workers how to interact with you and they’ll also be judging you by your efforts.
4. Fit in but don’t lose yourself
The natural desire to fit in is only human. But it can also lead to undesirable outcomes such as losing your individuality. And we don’t want that. When you were hired, you were being true to yourself. But there comes a point where you try to fit in so well that you lose who you are. And you must remember point 3 – you are your brand.
So, try to overcome that fear of being judged. We all have it. If it’s crippling to the point of you noticing your individuality leaving, consider career coaching to stem the tide and keep your brand.
Some company cultures do require that you leave your individuality at the door and become a carbon copy of the other professionals in the workplace. And this is OK to an extent. Some persons are fine hiding who they are at work, and it doesn’t affect them. But, if suppressing who you are is affecting your health and well-being, then it’s time to consider finding a new work environment, one that supports people being themselves.
5. Conformity doesn’t mean uniformity.
Fitting in also means accepting people in all their individuality and personal characteristics. So, while the company culture will be at the fore, each person’s unique personality forms the sum of the whole.
Individuality and conformity work together in a modern work environment to develop what you want as the company’s culture. So, keep being yourself as much as you conform to the norms within the organization (that conform to your values as well – never lose sight of that).
6. Being yourself comes with limitations
You will get the advice that you should just be yourself in all your glory. But, being yourself comes with certain restrictions. Not everyone has the privilege to work in an environment that is open and welcoming of all aspects of one’s personality. While you’ll definitely look for a company that has a strong cultural fit and people that are “like you”, you will by no means be the fullest version of yourself while there.
Now, this does not mean you are not being true to yourself or somehow inauthentic. There are varying degrees and versions of who we are. And we will not display them all in the same space. Because not being your fullest self does not mean you are compromising your values – those are intrinsic to your being.
Choosing who you want to be at work also does not mean that you aren’t trying to fit in or that you’ve given up on expressing your individuality.
Fitting in doesn’t mean losing who you are
So, fitting in or showcasing your individuality isn’t an either-or situation. It’s a yes, you can do both if you know what to do. So, follow the tips we’ve set out for you, and you’ll see how quickly you adapt to the company’s culture without losing who you are. Developing authenticity in the workplace stems from sticking to your values, adapting to the workplace culture, and being the version of yourself that makes you most comfortable – without losing who you are as a person.
Developing emotional intelligence and empathy goes a far way in helping you determine how to react in a new work environment, and how far is too far in expressing who you are. Plus, there are workplace cultures to suit everyone. Find one that supports who you are and even actively encourages you to do so.
If you found these tips refreshingly easy to follow, stick around for more insightful, educational content on being in the job market and growing a successful career. Subscribe to the blog and stay updated on the latest trends, facts, and insights into today’s job market.
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