when trying to fit in

“Why fit in if you were born to stand out?” – Dr. Seuss

When it comes to companies these days, “culture” is the buzzword that most employees zero in on. We look at company’s cultures with insane detail to unlock what makes them tick, understand why people love to work there and most importantly see if we would fit in.

The need to fit in is nothing new and hardwired into our DNA. The feeling of wanting friends, of desiring a peer group, and of needing to feel like we are valuable members of that group is something normal, especially in the workplace. The need to belong is so strong that we will do almost anything to fit in.

But what happens when you don’t?

What if you think or feel that maybe you aren’t a fit no matter how hard you try…then what?

The Muse wrote a great article on what you should look for in a companies culture if you are considering applying for a role there.

But what if you are already have the role and it’s simply not clicking?

Here are five signs you may not be a culture fit:

  • Your strengths aren’t being tapped. Look at any Gallop Poll and the data speaks loud and clear when it comes to employee engagement. Our work should ultimately align with our strengths. If this is not the case, it’s probably time to pause and reexamine if you are in the right role within the right company. If your not getting the projects and opportunities that makes the best use of your abilities, you can always speak with your manager. In the end, if you aren’t getting opportunities to shine and showcase your talents, it may be a sign that you are no longer trusted or the belief you will do a good job has faded.
  • Your values don’t match your coworkers or company. We all have a set of core beliefs, which shape our daily actions. If it feels as if you are not aligning with your organization it may be time to take a closer look at both. Most companies have powerful and heartfelt missions accompanied by clear visions that don’t change barring some unforeseen circumstance but this is rare. The other place to look would be your co-workers. It’s possible that the majority or minority have different philosophies on certain topics that you don’t agree with. Whether it’s internal or external politics, you have a choice to be happy and can exercise that choice if you want.
  • Your peers don’t like you. No one wants to be “the outsider” or casted to the outer banks of the cool zone but sadly this does happen. If for some reason, you find yourself being excluded and used as a punch line leaving you misinformed, misaligned within your team and misunderstood from within – it’s probably a sign you are not in the right place or at best with the right group of people.
  • You hate going to work. Seeing as we spend more than half our lives in the office, you better believe that liking where you are (and what you do) is somewhat important. That said, if you are dreading going to work and the weekend just started then it’s probably sign there is something there. People literally get sick over the thought of going to work and something psychological becomes physical which is never good. Be honest with yourself and take care of yourself while you’re at it. If you’ve honestly tried to make it work and it’s not – take that as a sign.
  • There’s no career advancement. We all want to learn and be developed. If you find that the ceiling has either been lowered or it’s simply not moving, you should take note as it pertains to your own professional growth. If you’re only way to advance requires anything outside your sphere of influence like waiting on someone to leave or be promoted – it’s a sign. Look at the roles you are interested outside of your current one and see if possibility lays elsewhere. Great companies love to promote within and will match your interest with opportunity if it exists. If you’ve exhausted all avenues and you don’t see a path forward, consider it’s a sign.

Final thoughts:

It’s important to not just align with your company’s moral and ethical values but also be happy. Yeah, happy – it’s an essential part of living a life with purpose and potential. Remember that when your values rub up against someone else’s (or your companies), your work and your attitude will be impacted as a result. Make sure you look for the warning signs to ensure you are engaged, enjoying what you do and that your personal preferences in the workplace align with the companies your work for.

The floor is yours: How important is culture fit to you?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

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