“Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway? It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world. You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing—working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same. You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
This is the first blog I’ve written in a while. Things have been busy, for sure. However, I’m glad to be writing this to connect with the community on The Thrive Vine. Today’s topic is just why Workplace Culture is so important. In my personal life I’ve recently made a job change that has proven to be excellent financially however the workplace culture, has proven to be challenging. I’ve found that many of us in the beginning stages in our careers or even fresh out of college might not know what to expect or even what to value in a workplace. If you are unsure of what to look for in a workplace culture, you are in luck because this blog is for you! Sit tight as we dive deeper into exactly why Workplace Culture is so important:
What Are Your Values – Before you can be aware of what you are looking for in a workplace you first need to be aware of what you value. Do you value camaraderie amongst your co-workers, do you value a quiet space so you can perform your best work, or do you put a high priority on leadership and development? Aside from all of these topics being wonderful interview questions, these are also wonderful aspects to ponder to gain a self awareness of what you value. The million dollar question is how do you know this, or how would you figure out what you value in a Workplace? I feel Corporate America has kind of set us up via trial and error. Aside from a self awareness for what you are looking for the best way to understand what you value, and what you do not value, is to experiment with working at different places, networking with different professionals, and doing some introspection on what you value, and can you achieve your goals based on the company culture and vision.
Safety and Acceptance – When we think about Workplace culture we tend to think about the time off policy, the layout of the office, happy hours, etc… However in reality Workplace culture is nothing more than achieving basic needs of humans as a species. In order to thrive in any environment humans, or any social species, need to feel Safe and Accepted by their family or pack. When our behavior doesn’t match what is around us, we might feel as an outcast or that we don’t fit in. Realistically when we are in our 20’s and 30’s we spend most of our waking hours as work. If we don’t feel safe due to workplace conflict or accepted due to the culture, issues such as workplace stress and anxiety can ensue and can take a huge toll on our mental health.
So how can we combat workplace stress and anxiety? This very topic is what I’ve been thinking about for the past few months. In my personal situation I was offered a position at a not so “emotionally intelligent” workplace where excessive swearing, slamming of phones, and yelling doesn’t seem to bother anyone… except for me. However the money is wonderful and sometimes it makes sense to “suck it up.” Yet, as most of us know after a while of being in an environment our body reads as toxic, biological effects take place such as anxiety, panic, and stress. Here is what I did personally to combat these feelings and get myself mentally back on track:
- Getting up from my desk and taking more frequent walks. Sometimes taking yourself out the environment for short periods of time can do wonders for your mental health
- Taking a step back and thinking long term. What I mean by this is that the probability of me being at this new job for the rest of my life is extremely slim. By taking things into perspective and realizing that I can use the pay increase I received by taking this job, to invest more aggressively; will help me reach my goals faster. I look at this opportunity as just a mere page in an entire book of my life.
- Always keep an eye out for new opportunities. It’s really important to remember that you are in control. Especially when it comes to your employment. Even if you’ve worked at a place for a week and the work culture is not what you expected and is being toxic, there is nothing preventing you from starting your job search again or pursuing your own entrepreneurial endeavors. There are always options and you should never feel trapped in a toxic environment.
Purpose/Support – I think most of us have been raised to think that our purpose of working for a company is to make the company money, or produce a level of value to the company so it secures our employment. Yet, most of us don’t realize that value is a two-way street. As much as we provide value to a business or company, it is the businesses job to enrich our lives not only through the transaction of money; but through purpose and support. If you really think about it, any job on the planet can be a great job (or at least more enjoyable) if it’s in the right environment and we are surrounded by the right people. I understand first hand how hard it can be waking up when Monday morning comes around, however I encourage you to really think about what value and purpose does your job/career/workplace give you. You should feel a good feeling when you help a customer, or you make a big sale, and I encourage you to celebrate those wins; however the place you work for should also help you celebrate those wins and in turn be there when you are struggling.
Conclusion – In Corporate America there seems to be a generational disconnect of what each generation and individual values. Is it practical for each company to heed to a generation’s needs? Probably not. However, in my opinion, a business is more than just a place people go to work. It’s a place where employees spend most of their time, and should be obligated to provide safely, sustainability, and support to the people who are growing it as a direct result of their time. What do you think? How can we do a better job with providing a better culture to employees? What are some aspects you value in a workplace? Share your comments below, we’d love to hear from you!