Originally published at http://www.careercast.com/career-news/age-office-culture.
The Age of the Office Culture
When interviewing for a new job these days, you should expect to be assessed just as much on how well you fit in with an organization’s culture as on your qualifications and experience. Of course, the shoe also is on the other foot: if you knew the “culture” of the organization, would you still want to work there?
To that end, here’s a handy (and hopefully humorous) guide to help you identify the different office cultures that exist in the working world. The goal is to highlight the warning signs you should watch for before you make a mistake and join the wrong employer. If it’s too late, you have my sympathies – as well as a few tips on how to cope.
The Boring Office Culture
This is the office where no one actually seems to get any satisfaction from their jobs. They don’t make eye contact or talk about anything with happy connotations such as the sun, ice cream or balloon animals. Keep your head down and carry on populating that spreadsheet.
Signs of this culture: Cubicles; the Christmas party consists of a box of donuts; and the company website hasn’t been updated since 2009.
How to cope: You can start trying to break the monotony by decorating your cubicle with things that remind you of better times and places, such as personal photos or a lava lamp. Maybe try to inject some life into your co-workers by organizing fun office team-building days, or have a different person’s iPod on in the office as background music each day. If you’re really struggling to garner office support, how about a wacky hat Friday?
The Survivalist Office Culture
This is the office where mistakes are punished with a ruthlessness not seen since Attila and his friends fancied a trip to Western Europe. Unsurprisingly, every employee here develops a survival instinct of which Bear Grylls would be proud. Don’t expect to make too many (real) friends in this environment either. Just remember that while everyone in the office hates everyone else behind their backs, everyone outside of the office hates you all to your face.
Signs of this culture: Everyone lives off coffee and bagels (the sole reason they hire interns); the office is built on what used to be a children’s playground; and power trips are daily occurrences for everyone.
How to cope: Don’t be afraid to stand your ground – the last thing you want to do is give an inch because you know how the rest of that saying goes. Work hard, don’t take people at face value and do your best to stay out of the office politics.
The Upper Class Office Culture
This is the office you’d expect to find in the center of an affluent city providing top quality goods and services to customers of a certain ilk. Your colleagues will most likely be working just to make their spouse or parents happy. There’ll be no karaoke bars for your Christmas party; instead expect to be whisked off to your boss’ mansion. This would be great, if he didn’t make you serve his dinner guests.
Signs of this culture: Everyone is related to wealth (however distantly) and your colleagues still think it’s OK, even endearing, to refer to their parents as ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’. Surprisingly little work takes place here, but the intern is wearing a more expensive outfit than you, which is a little depressing.
How to cope: Try not to let their pretentiousness get on your nerves. Instead, see it as an amusing quirk. If they patronize you, don’t rise to take the bait. After all, they’re the ones who aren’t living in the real world. There’s no point engaging in class warfare in the office.
* * *
Are you interviewing? Do you wonder what the office or firm culture is like? How would you fit in? Have these questions? If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. If you are interested in learning more about finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are interested in attorney or other roles in the legal industry, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.