Magazine article Management Today

First-Class Coach

Magazine article Management Today

First-Class Coach

Article excerpt

In previous jobs, did it take time to feel settled, or did you enjoy it from the word go?

Q. I've just taken a new job in a company I thought would look good on my CV, and I hate it. Although the role is interesting, I just don't fit into the firm, morale is low, and I find my boss very difficult to work with. What should I do?

A. Ah, the perils of choosing an employer on the basis of reputation!

The trouble is there is always a time-lag between current reality and public perception. Companies with fine reputations may be basking in the sunshine created by their original founder or a previous, enlightened management, but time has ticked on and all may not be well there now.

Similarly, organisations that have made great strides in turning themselves into successful operations and model employers may continue to be hampered by negative perceptions, long after deserving positive reappraisal. Just look at Marks & Spencer, for decades cited as the paragon of good retailing and management, then falling from grace and now fighting to turn round public and City perceptions.

The moral is: before you join an organisation, make strenuous efforts to find out what it's really like to work there. Discover what the culture is - not just its published or ascribed values, but what goes on every day. Some cultures are cut-and-thrust, such as Dixons and Sky. Some people find this type of culture stimulating and thrive in that environment.

By contrast, some organisations, although ambitious and striving for quality, are focused on supporting and developing their staff - Carphone Warehouse, for instance.

The question for you is: should I stay or should I go? Staying could be the best option if you sense any possibility that what you feel is mainly due to the newness of the job and the difference in culture compared with your previous company, where you knew the ropes and shared mutual respect and friendship with your colleagues and boss. In that case, sticking with the job and trying to improve relationships with your boss and peers could make sense.

You know yourself best: try to stand back from the situation and see whether there is a pattern here. In previous jobs, did it take time to feel at home and settled in your job, or did you enjoy it from the word go?

Staying would also make sense if you're the kind of person for whom the work you do is more important than the environment in which you do it. …

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