Throw-back Thursday

Italy Sept 2012 006

I thought that I would re-post this because I have been working with some employees that are struggling with the feeling that they do not fit in at their place of employment.  I am sure this happens more that we realize and possible there could be people who work where you do that are feeling this same way.

When You Don’t Fit In At Work

Workplace culture can be quite interesting.  You may fit in very well, or you may not.  Then there are some who do not want to fit in no matter what.

What happens if you like your job, but don’t fit in with the culture?

Maybe the workplace culture is pretty chummy, and co-workers go out of their way to “click” with each other because “belonging” feels so good.

You on the other hand, do not have the need to belong.  You have your own group of close friends and are very happy with your life the way it is.

It is not that you do not like the people you are working with, it is just that you really do not desire to experience the closeness with them.

Whatever the reason may be you just don’t fit in with them.   Even though you work together 40+ hours a week, walk and talk the same workplace language, you feel different.

There are those that have a hard time when “everyone” on the team is not on the same social and workplace cultural playing field.  It is important if you feel that being a “workplace groupie” is not for you, that you let the others know.

Let your co-workers know why you feel differently, and that it is okay.  You enjoy them as co-workers, will always have their back and will do your job to the best of your abilities.

If you let the people you work with know where you are coming from then they will have a better understanding of who you are.

Fitting in can be difficult when you don’t really want to fit in so closely.  Be honest and upfront.  The article below has a few good tips about not fitting in with your workplace culture.

If this is how you feel or have felt, please share how you handled it at work with your co-workers.

What Do You Do When You Don’t Fit In?

13 thoughts on “Throw-back Thursday

  1. Reblogged this on Leadership Musings of a Skeptical Positivist and commented:
    Cultural fit has always been an important, and intriguing, issue in the workplace. We’ve likely all experienced it from time to time, some more than others, perhaps. I put up with a poor workplace culture fit for about five years, very intentionally, because I knew that the experience of having worked at a Fortune 500 corporation would pay off in future work with clients. At the end, however, the culture (stagnant, transactional, and of severe leadership insecurities) did not allow me to continue growing as a person and a professional. Eventually, I opted out of that culture for many of the same reasons highlighted in this blog post (and the accompanying article). Great post from Tina and the PPM Blog!

    • Hi Trevor

      Thank you for the comment. Making the decision you did, was something that a lot of people cannot do bravo! It is also true that employers will keep employees that are the wrong fit just because they do not want to go through the hassle to replace them. But once they are gone they realize how much better they workplace is without them. We need to make the right decisions for both us, the employee and our place of business as the management staff.

  2. Every year despite my best efforts with recruiting, team fit interviews and challenges, I have one intern that doesn’t quite fit. As you say, either he or she is happy not fitting in, or they’re just different and they stand out or they simply don’t have the people skills. Regardless, as a manager, I find out the why and then I take action. Obviously if they are happy with the status quo and it’s not affecting morale or the work to be done, then I just monitor the situation, but a few times I have had to take steps. This has included helping the intern to find their feet, or to give them a confidence boost. Other times it has involved drawing the intern out of their shell and staging evenings out to get everyone on a more informal setting to help them interact. Most of the time, I have been successful, though not every time. I find it difficult to watch an intern not fitting in as I have also encountered this myself. In my case, I was simply too different from those around me. I learned a lot about communication and myself during that time and eventually simply had to say “Ok, I’m simply not going to fit in. Ever”. Which for me as a people pleaser was hard at the time. Still I learned a lot and I’m a better manager because of it. Fortunately I had some good friends at the time who helped me to focus on the good and the positive rather than taking the isolation to heart. I often had to repeat to myself these three phrases:
    1. No fitting in does not make me less than. Different is simply different.
    2. Being true to yourself is more important in the long run. Doing things you’ll later regret simply to fit in does not work.
    3. The work place is actually a very small place, with a small population of people and a small selection of personalities. Inevitably someone is not going to fit in. As a strong person, it may as well be me that doesn’t fit. I can learn from the experience and grow.

    • Alesandra, thank you for your input. I agree that we need to be ourselves no matter what. When I was quite young I got a job where I did not fit in and gave up who I was really (at least during work hour) t0 become what the others liked. I learned a lot from this…. and never allowed it to happen again. I was cheating myself and it felt pretty bad.

  3. Great blog… Sometimes we do not fit in as we are on a different path to our work mates. That is okay as long as we can work with them in a friendly manner that enables a positive work environment.

  4. Pingback: Are you as keen as mustard? Should you be? | User Friendly

  5. Covered this topic at a talk last night. Everyone in the room had a story- it’s a complex challenge. Good to see it explored here. Thx Tina.

  6. Hi Tina, thanks for stopping by at my blog and for liking one of my posts ”A FRIEND IN NEED”. I hope you enjoyed the visit and I look forward to more of your visit while I frequent yours as well. Blessing!

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