Do I have to fit in?

When we step into the workforce from university, the transition feels quite natural. It is more of a change of cars than shifting of gears so we are more receptive of change and open to whatever culture we may have to learn and fit in. Whatever we pick up at the job will be seen as “what’s how work life is like”. So we accept it because we generalise it.

But what if we knew things can be different? We can have more holidays, we don’t have to stay in office past 7pm, or how things can work well differently? Then it might be harder for us to accept. So it is critical that we know our possibilities. Not the vague ones but real concrete ones – through work offers, actual job experiences.

That’s why in your second or third job, it gets harder to make compromises, and you become more assertive. And in today’s job markets where labour is tight, companies are often complaining about workers switching or being self-entitled. The truth is that companies can no longer just force staff to fit into a culture but to hire for a culture they want to create, and have that culture attract more of the people we want to work with.

I’m not saying you should be switching jobs often and keep tempting yourself with other offers; but it is important to recognise that the possibilities are limited to the boundaries that you define for yourself within the environment. And whether you’re trying to fit into that small tight space, or something much bigger.