In the realms of Mental Health and Wellbeing perhaps the biggest impact, for good or ill, is whether or not you ‘fit’ in an organisation. But how much do we take it into account when we are looking for a job or deciding whether to stay?
Everyone has a list of criteria for the right job and right company that they want to work for. The criteria vary from person to person depending upon their values, concerns and motivations. Not least will be the industry they’re in and whether the company needs and values the skills and experience they have. Then there’s location, salary, prospects, reputation and whether you like the people you’ve met there. All of these go into the mix when you decide to work for an organisation.
However the most important one of all, the one that can break you and lead to mental collapse, or energise you and fire your talents and potential to the next level is ‘fit’. Yet ‘fit’ is all too often overlooked when it should be at the front of the decision-making queue.
Fit is all about culture. It’s about whether you align with the values, approach, methods and structures of the company. So what exactly does culture encompass? For some it’s the values and mission statement written on the wall. For others it’s about how a place feels and how people act. It’s about how people behave, how management do their jobs, how people are measured and rewarded. And all of these things are right, they’re all part of culture, but for certain companies some are emphasised, in others they’ll be different.
What is key is that as an individual you can define what the company’s culture is and then honestly and openly compare it to your values and motivations. A good place to start is to look at these topics:
If you find you’re matching up then it’s pretty likely that you’ll thrive, be a success and not have to worry too much about mental health issues. Remember, some people respond well to short deadlines, military-style management and working in isolation, but a lot don’t. If you’re in the wrong place, get out. Not only is it highly unlikely that you’ll be a success, more importantly there’s no amount of money that’s worth the damage you’re likely to do to your mental health.
When you’re judging a company you should look for the following six criteria. Is it a place where…
(Credit: Harvard Business Review, 2013)
These are supposedly the characteristics of the ‘perfect’ organisation. Have an honest look. If the company you’re looking at or working in gets a tick against all or most of these you may be onto a winner. On the other hand if it doesn’t you have to ask yourself if it’s really where you want to be.
We only really succeed where we are happy and by being happy. As Albert Schweitzer said, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”