By Sunny Simon

   I just spoke with a client who hates the job she has been at for the past three months. Martina is working so many hours just trying to stay afloat, she doesn’t know how she will squeeze in time for a job search. After listening to her story, I empathized with her, however, I know what went wrong and how it could have been avoided.

     Much of Martina’s problem relates to the company culture. Often job applicants get so excited about job title, salary and chance for advancement they overlook delving into the company culture before accepting a position.

     Why is culture so important? Because being a misfit in a company leads to misery. Like Martina, job seekers may end up dreading the thought of getting to work each morning.


     It’s not uncommon for new employees to begin their first day with little insight on the company culture. Avoid any surprises by doing your homework on a potential employer. Begin by reading the vision and mission statements. Are you aligned with the philosophy? The core values of the company must match your value system.

     Next read everything you can about the organization. Do you have any friends, or friends of friends who work at your target company? If so, gain more insight by talking to them. Social media is another viable avenue. Check out the company’s Facebook page, view their tweets and review what employees and job applicants post at

     Once you understand the vision and secured more data, ask questions about it during the interview process. Culture is a fair game inquiry. Martina really wanted to work in a collaborative environment where every voice was heard. If that’s your desire ask the hiring manager about teamwork and his or her management style.

     After gathering all the facts, interviewing and getting a job offer from a company  mismatched on the culture issue, should you accept the position? I’d say it’s risky. You may be pleased about the salary and commute, and you probably will survive. But will you thrive in the wrong environment? That, dear reader, is uncertain at best. You may spend long hours trying to swim upstream against a strong current, butting heads with other employees and doing mental eye-rolls during team meetings.

     It is doubtful you’ll ever find the perfect employer who checks all the boxes on your wish list. Make the choice by standing strong on cultural harmony and grow your career  by being on the right team. Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at