Taimur Ali Shah is client solutions director, Asia at RPO Korn Ferry Futurestep.
The atmosphere at my workplace has taken a turn for the worse. Should I get out?
I have been in my marketing job for two years and I have been getting disillusioned in recent months, mainly because the atmosphere has changed for the worse because of a change in personnel. I have considered looking for work elsewhere but now I have been offered a promotion.
It will be a more senior position and will probably be to the benefit of my CV and my career. I am a bit wary of the prospect of staying at the company though. What do you think I should do?
To quote Peter Drucker, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.
This sums up the notion that workplace culture is what makes the foundation of an organisation as well as what fuels one’s desire to remain there.
The situation you’re in is fairly common – where new team members have created a new and unfamiliar work environment and culture, compared to what you have previously known.
Navigating this can be challenging when you are the odd one out.
Leaving an organisation because of the culture alone is a big step. You will need to ask yourself how this internal change affects you.
I categorise workplace culture in two ways. The first is where the people you work with are affecting the way your day goes – through office politics, trying to outdo other team members, pretending to be busier than they are and so on.
The second is where the attitude and approach of those you work with (management as well as your team) is having an impact on your deliverables. The latter is more serious, as it would impede your career progression as well as your level of motivation.
From what you have shared, your organisation values you as an individual, as well as valuing your professional contributions, with the promotion offer.
In this case, staying with the organisation would allow you to influence the work environment from a cultural aspect – leading by example is the most effective way of bringing about a change in culture. And this new role may allow you to do just that.
From a career perspective, I would also recommend that you consider the impact of leaving an organisation where you are valued and recognised for your work.
Make a list of the pros and cons of staying with your company. If you find that culture or atmosphere to be one of the only serious items listed on the cons side of the page, you may have found your own answer staring back at you.
In my experience, no workplace is perfect – it is what you make of it. One suggestion is to find like-minded people with whom you can relate to in the workplace. The fact is that we spend more time in the workplace with people we barely know than we do with our family and friends.
That said, it is essential to ensure that those hours in the workplace are spent positively or when you do leave work for that short period of time with loved ones, you will not be bringing a sour taste from the working day back home with you. I wish you all the best, whatever you decide.