May 20, 2013

Culture Shock

As I transition to a new job, I've been thinking a lot about work culture. It is amazing how adaptable we are as employees: sliding into and out of habits based on interaction with bosses, colleagues and the internal structures around us.

It's not always seamless, though.  

My new work environment is 180 degrees different in tone than that of my old one. There is a dramatic lack of emergency: e-mails aren't red-flagged, no competition for attention, accolades or funding; no late-night calls; programmatic timelines are realistic and respected; budgets adhered to. For the last two weeks, I've floated from task to task in a state of genuine culture shock. I keep waiting for a desperate freak out or a deadline to pop up like whack-a-mole. In addition, I notice a real shift from individual accomplishment to teamwork, from go-it-alone to accomplishing things together. 

I don't believe that this is a product of good versus bad or old versus new. Instead, I think it's more about the culture surrounding everything we do. We can't control everything around us in the work place, but in a transition, there are ways to bring the best with us and leave the rest behind. That's what I'll be writing about this week: those qualities that bring out the best in me that I want to cultivate (and those that I hope to leave in the dust).

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