Last Wednesday I went out for lunch with a few people from the new firm. It was good. The partner I’ll be reporting to is great and the other staff who came with were really easy going. That said, it’s going to be difficult getting accustomed to a new culture.
I’m the kind of person that likes to strategize and plan things to the last detail. For some reason I hadn’t even thought about office culture until that lunch. More importantly, its impact on how I’ll get my work done.
Everyone at the table was making inside jokes. One manager started ripping on a partner’s golf game. Our waiter recited a senior’s drink order from memory. The HR manager made a curb reference that almost everyone got. Lots of small things like that, which can seem trivial at first, but make up that esoteric quality of an office. At my old office I could blast tribe called quest (on actual speakers, not headphones), while speaking to a CFO (literally on the phone, I was allowed to call most clients) about different accounting treatments (my partner let me do the research then relay it). That’s a very distinct culture. And I know the new firm will have a a very distinct one too.
After realizing this, lunch become painful. I was too busy knitting together the jokes, humor, body language and mannerisms of my lunch mates with the rigid hierarchies of an office. I was trying to visualize an office culture where I could be myself, without seeming “different.”
I know this sounds intense. And I’m a lot cooler with everything now. It’s just good to consider these things. How well you fit in at your job directly translates into how much you like it.