#1 Company Culture is Important

When I started out my career, I thought I had to know everything. I was convinced that anything I didn't know made me a failure. Instead of asking for help or seeking out advice from experienced professionals in a similar field, I learned by trial and error. I was headstrong and forced myself to learn everything the hard way.

As I sit here and laugh at my stubbornness, I begin writing out a list of 10 things I would tell my twenty-year old self to help set me on a path to success. Sometimes advice or concepts (even in this post) seem so simple on paper, but then harsh reality sets in and you are forced to step outside your comfort zone to execute them. That's OK. You are going to make mistakes in your professional career - just make sure you learn from them and, most importantly, one day laugh at them!

What you'll find in this blog post are things are things that I believe would have helped me. Different industries and companies are just some of the considerations that play a factor into how you should approach certain situations. My experiences are just that - they are my experiences and reflections on how I will try and do things better as I encounter similar situations in both my personal and professional life. For the next two weeks I will post individual blogs on these topics. Let’s take a look at the first one...

1. Company culture is important

Let's start at the very beginning: Not every company is for everyone. If a company seems cut throat and like it is filled with a bunch of people that you could never see yourself working with, it's probably a good idea to continue your job search. What may be a good company for a friend of yours is not always a good fit for you. Every single person is different - for example, my best friend and I are very happy at two completely different companies with varying cultures. You need to find a company whose culture suits your needs.

A few things I would encourage you to take a look at are a company's core values, their turnover rate and, if possible, try and speak to a few people in the company who will give you their honest feedback about the positive and negative aspects of the workplace (See if any of your friends on LinkedIn have direct contacts at the company). I have made the mistake before of joining a company that I thought was my dream job. In fact, I thought there was no better person suited for the role. I was so blind to the fact that I was miserable throughout the entire interview process that I accepted the offer right away. Always listen to your gut. I can tell you right now that I was unhappy at the company for a very long time. I know that I do my best work when I am in an environment where I thrive (I assume the same holds true for you), which is why it is so crucial to take the time to research the company to make sure they are a good fit for you!

You spend 33%+ of your life at work, so the relationship between you and your job/team is important. Make sure that when applying to new jobs that you aren't putting all of your eggs in one basket. Try having multiple interviews lined up so that you can get to know a few different types of companies. Not only will that give you a better basis for negotiation (wonderful business skill to hone!), but it will give you more experience in assessing the type of company that best suits you. I say this not to waste your time, but rather to make you feel confident with your decision.