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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

"Culture fit" is a two way street; it's them, not you

Look at a statement of equivalence. You might say that "A is equal to B" or "A == B". There are two "flows" going on there: A has to match up with B, sure, but B also has to match up with A.

The whole thing of "culture fit", loaded term though it is, also works this way. The problem is that far too many people seem to treat it like a one-way street when it's not. Just like the equivalence statement above, it goes both ways. It has to. If it doesn't, it might just mean you're describing something nefarious, like, oh, say, a cult?

I write this for my friends who are increasingly finding themselves at a company that doesn't "fit" with them any more. After they're gone, people may whisper about them that "they were no longer a fit". The implication is that "the company is just fine, but they aren't", and I'm sorry, that's crap. That can't always be the case.

Instead, consider that the person may be just fine, and the company might have fallen out of sync with what reasonable people can handle. It's mighty unfortunate that some people assume the company can do no wrong, and therefore anyone who doesn't "get it" is somehow "broken".

It's been my experience that such people continue thinking that until it finally stops working for them, at which point they get on board and realize this is actually possible. By then, it's too late to take back some of the nasty and hateful things they said about people who just happened to reach that point first.

Different people have different amounts of flexibility when it comes to dealing with unreasonable situations. Also, due to the continued rampant mistreatment of people under our visa situation (ranted about elsewhere), a lot of them have to put up with far more shit.

If really good people who are able to literally work anywhere are still at your company even though they don't have to be, it's probably doing pretty well. If those same people then turn around and leave the company, you should worry. They are the canaries in the coal mine, and fail first. It takes much longer for it to filter down to the folks who don't have the privilege of having so much flexibility and so many options.

Once again, if you're stuck on the merry-go-round, for whatever reason, keep your head down and lay low. "Make hay while the sun shines" and prepare for the next thing. We're fortunate that it's still a good economy and the jobs are plentiful. Bide your time and make your plans. Those of us who have already escaped are not going to judge you for remaining behind for an extended period of time. Trust me, we get it. We understand that you have to look out for you and yours. Don't put your family or your livelihood in the country at risk over this. There will be plenty of time to rant about it and skewer those responsible once you're clear of the blast radius.

Wages and working conditions. Write about those all day long. Appreciate the labor law precedent which makes this possible for us.

And remember, you're still a good person and you're still good at what you do. The way you prove it is by moving on and succeeding beyond what you could have ever done at the current gig. Once that happens, you can confidently say "it was them, not me, all along".

Been there, done that. Trust me. It gets better.