Fitting In-The Editorial

This editorial I wrote ran on SQLServerCentral a couple weeks back and generated a lot of comments, and more than a little pushback. I was looking at it again today, thinking what would I do different to do a better job of getting the point across without getting pulled into visions of joining the Borg collective?

For this one I think the problem is that it’s about what you (me) should do, and I suspect it would have resonated more if was on the perspective of the person who didn’t fit in, and what advice we would give to that person if asked. That’s actually how the idea for the editorial started, I started work for a new client on the same day as another consultant and he just never fit in on the team he joined (not the same team I was on, but near by). It was painful to watch. I tried to nudge him a little in the right direction, but at some point you realize it’s oil and water.

Which brings us back to the pushback. We all have built in limits on what we can or will change. Some will draw the line at wearing a polo. Some will draw the line at wearing a green polo with the company logo. Some refuse to acknowledge any limit. The lines are arbitrary, but real.

The tips in the editorial are what I think tips that work for 80% of us in 80% of the jobs we’ll have – maybe more. It’s why examining the culture before you take the job is so important, because there is nothing wrong with turning down a job because the culture doesn’t fit you, but there is a lot wrong with taking a job and deciding to ignore (and disrespect) their culture.

I’m not going to re-write it, but I will be writing more about it,and not just about fitting in – sometimes the culture needs to be changed,and there are ways to do that.