“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from achieving one’s values.” – Ayn Rand

Work culture is often discounted as a secondary factor in choosing a new job or career. But, the social dynamics of a company can make even a mundane job great—or make even the most interesting job unbearable. In order to truly enjoy your job, it really helps when you enjoy the culture.

If you’re like many people I’ve spoken with over the years, you find yourself falling into the same type of culture over and over again, in job after job, without really knowing why. No matter where you go, you end up working for the same micromanaging, manipulative, or absentee boss; or, conversely, you end up managing the same resentful, uncooperative, or scattered people. You want to make a move, but you’re afraid that the only difference between the new job and the old will be the color of your office walls.

The truth is, we attract certain types of people into our lives and careers based on our conscious and unconscious thoughts and processes. If you take the time to become clear about what you really want, rather than simply falling into whatever comes your way, you’re more likely to avoid the trap of “same, same.”

Avoid the “Same Trap Syndrome

Take 30 minutes or so this week to envision and flesh out your ideal company culture. Here are some points to consider:

  • In what industry does your ideal company operate? What types of product or service does it provide?
  • Where is your ideal company located?
  • What does the building/campus look like?
  • What is the layout of the office/production space? Do you have your own office? Work in an open space?
  • How big is your ideal company? Do you like having many diverse co-workers, or do you prefer to work with a smaller, select group of individuals?
  • What is your ideal boss like? In what ways does he or she support you? Consider a specific situation (perhaps one from your own recent experience): how would your ideal boss behave? Is your boss a mentor? Does he or she offer consistent guidance and support, or allow you to operate more autonomously?
  • If you’re considering a management or executive position, what are your employees like? What qualities do your team members possess which make them easy to work with? How do they support you in your role, and how do they allow you to support them in theirs?
  • What is the pace of your ideal business or office? Do you thrive under pressure, or do you like to take your time? How would your ideal company culture support your natural working pace?
  • What social, environmental, and financial goals are important to your ideal company culture? What causes does your company support?

You can choose to make a list based on the above criteria of what is unacceptable to you in your ideal company culture. For example, you might write, “I don’t want a boss who micromanages,” or, “I don’t want a boss who says he’ll/she’ll give me a raise/a better position/flexible hours, then never follows through,” or, “I don’t want to manage unmotivated employees,” or even, “I don’t want to feel lost in a sea of desks.”
Once you’ve identified your ideal company culture, it’s a whole lot easier to see how you can fit comfortably into it.

The amount of time you spend doing these exercises upfront will save you years of wasted energy and frustration which directly impacts your overall well being.  You only have one life.  Make it a great one!


DQ’s BRIDGE strategy and job search coaching services are designed to help you identify and zero in on your target company, salary range, location, and other vital factors. When you’re prepared and focused, you’re more likely to capture the opportunities that are out there waiting for you.

Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, facilitator and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now!

Coach DQ
Coach DQ
Dawn Quesnel coaches sales, marketing, advertising and creative professionals through job changes, raises and promotions. In private practice for almost 15 years. Award Career Coach of the Year by her Peers and is a Professionally Certified Co-Active Coach, Certified Career Coach, Speaker, frequent Emcee for industry/Assn professional panels, and facilitator.

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