culture shock

What, “You’re Not A Cultural Fit” Really Means…

culture shockA LinkedIn follower recently emailed me the following:

…In a recent series of interviews, I had three for one role and was down to the final two candidates. I was told, I was “not the right cultural fit” ! What can I take from that! I have never had that one before!

It can be confusing, and frankly, hurtful to hear a statement like that. That’s because, “you’re not a cultural fit,” is code for, “we can’t see your personality and approach to work fitting in with the rest of us.”

Culture Club = It’s High School All Over Again

One of the biggest challenges in looking for a new job is successfully navigating the ‘culture club’ throughout the interview process. It can feel like you are back in high school. Each company you interview with will have its own tribe-like feel. Think of all the cliques you used to encounter: the jocks, the nerds, the cheerleaders, the artists, the goths, the rich kids, etc. Each group had a set of beliefs that dictated how they spoke, dressed, and interacted with one another. It was up to you to find the group where you felt you belonged. While I wish I could tell you times have changed, they haven’t. We’ve all grown up, but we are still human – and forming tribes is what humans do. It’s our way of bonding so we can work together and be more productive. Now, before you get defensive and cry, “not fair!” consider this…

Every Successful Company Has a Strong Culture Club

Google. Apple. Facebook. Amazon. To work at these prestigious companies, you need to fit in with their culture club. This is never going to go away. As long as there are companies to work for, there will be culture clubs to go with them. As job seekers, it’s up to us to identify and pursue companies where we know our personality and approach to work will be accepted. With that in mind, here are three tips for guiding your job search towards the right companies for YOU:

1) Create an ‘Interview Bucket List.” Today, there is no shortage of information about employers online. You can study their websites, social media accounts, and event set up Google Alerts to let you know when they are in the news. By studying what these companies say about themselves in public you can start to see what type of culture club they have.

2) Network with employees before you apply. Find and follow employees of the company on social media. Start online conversations with them about their work. Better still, take it offline and see if you can meet them at a networking event or for coffee. If you find it easy to connect and converse with them, it’s a sign you’d fit in at their employer. From there, you should ask for an informational interview. Here are two great articles on the subject:

3) Invest in improving your interviewing skills. Interviewing doesn’t come naturally to the majority of us. Who likes selling themselves? As a result, it’s possible that you’re making the wrong impression and critical errors in interviews that are costing you the job. By studying and improving your interview techniques, you’ll be more relaxed and confident in future interviews, allowing your real, best self to naturally shine through.

If you’ve been told you weren’t a cultural fit in an interview, don’t take it personally. It’s likely they did you a favor. Why work someplace where you don’t feel like you belong? Instead, move on and use the tips above to find a culture club that lets you do your best work!

Deepak Chopra: 7 Things To Do When You Have Been Betrayed

Life brings situations where someone you trusted betrays you, breaking that trust and creating the kind of resentment it’s hard to release. After being betrayed, most of us have the same reaction. We want to wound the person who hurt us, as deeply and as excruciatingly, as we’ve been wounded and we want to rise above the situation and offer that person forgiveness. But neither of these tactics work. Wounding words tend to boomerang and make you feel as terrible as the person you wanted to hurt. Forgiveness, especially if half-hearted, tends to come off as condescension.

There are actions, though, that you can take to can heal yourself. Every hurt has its own story, and so does every healing. But we can say this: You can heal yourself when you’ve filled the hole left behind by a betrayal, and you can heal the other person when you sincerely drop the need for revenge.

Remember the only betrayals that inflict damage are the ones where an intimate bond has been torn. Love makes you merge with another person, able to feel their emotions as keenly as you feel your own. If you have experienced such bonding, you know that it is a kind of higher reality—and when that bond is ripped apart, it’s as if you’ve lost half of yourself.

So how can you get out of torment and find yourself again?

1. Gain some detachment. Stand back and view yourself as if you were the helper, not the victim.

2. Don’t indulge in emotions you cannot afford. Don’t act worse than you really are or better.

3. Make a plan for emotional recovery. Look at where you hurt, feel wounded, or see yourself as victimized, then set out to heal these areas. Don’t rely simply on letting time do it for you.

4. Feel the hole inside and grieve over it, but promise yourself that you will fill it.

5. Seek a confidant who has survived the same betrayal and has come through to the other side.

6. Work toward a tomorrow that will be better than yesterday. Don’t fixate on the past or what might have been.

7. Counter self-pity by being of service to someone else. Counter regret by seeking out activities that build your self-esteem.

It requires a good deal of objectivity to set about following such a program. Nothing is easier, of course, than doing the opposite, for example:

1. Dwelling obsessively on how you were wronged. Feeling exultant in your self-righteous pain.

2. Turning your pain into an ongoing drama.

3. Acting erratic and scattered, with no plan for getting better.

4. Mourning your loss forever. Not looking honestly at the hole inside yourself because it is too painful or you feel too weak.

5. Talking to the wrong people about your woes. Seeking out those who keep agreeing with you and amplifying our resentment by egging you on.

6. Idealizing the past. Obsessing over the good times that are gone.

7. Letting self-pity and regret dominate your state of mind.

This behavior, though, only makes a betrayal linger.

If you find yourself in the position of being the wronged party, sit down with these two 7-step programs in front of you. With a pen and paper write down all the ways you are following the healing program and then the ways you are sticking with the victimization program. Be candid and objective. It is healing in itself to write down how you are really doing, because the key to psychological healing is self-awareness.

The two lists—and choices—may be in stark contrast, but real life is blurry around the edges. One day you are on the right track; the next day you are a train wreck. The key is to keep being kind to yourself. You know you are being kind when you begin to feel kind toward the one who betrayed you. I know that sounds impossible when your pain is acute, but you can’t be kind to yourself unless that feeling of ease, acceptance, tolerance, and non-judgment extends beyond your own self-interest. Otherwise, kindness is simply a mask for egotism. The idea of “I’m getting better, I hope he rots in hell” is an unresolvable contradiction.

In the end, when you reach the state of being healed, you will see how fortunate you are. As horrible as betrayal is, forgiveness belongs to those who know how to love in the first place, and you are one of them.

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