The wrong fit that almost ruin her career.

She left her favourite brand just last week, for a change in work environment. Not because her passion is gone, but to pursue what she hasn’t tried. She served three years and the half with full of passion. She thought it’s time for a new change; never she thought she has got it wrong.

With hopes for a new beginning, she was convinced with her new venture, another favourite brand of hers – different portfolio, different industry.

In the early morning of her start date, she put on her best attire to fit the new environment. She studied a lot beforehand. It is one of a kind, a cult, and also an organisation with its own unique culture that could potentially break or make someone. Tough challenge she was expecting and very much she looked forward.

She arrived on time. The office building architecture is admirable. It is one of the heritage row units that is located on a happening street. Mirroring the brand identity, the 3-storey building has a clean look that exudes a minimalist impression. That also explains the discrete signage that no one could possibly have spotted. Mystery creates curiosity, and she was enthusiastic.

The building was infused with a distinctive aroma – A refreshing citrus scent that gave a warmth sensation just two steps before the entrance. As she stepped into the building, the interior was expected to be nothing less than the exterior premium standard – smooth and fine wood texturised staircase, a comfy couch, a creative standing lamp, and 2-3 decorative plants on the hallway. They all seemed to blend pretty well and expensive. “Beautiful”, she thought. “It’s truly one of a kind, it will be a great start”, she assured herself. She was greeted with a Mac laptop, black stationeries, an amber vase of white carnations stalks, and an amber bottle water on her desk. Classy – are these all a dream?

Not quite yet. An organisation culture is made up of people. People is the soul to keep an organisation going. This facet has yet to be explored by her. More often than not, a job description is an easy tick in the box. What constitutes a good working culture is not the job description that keeps one satisfied and happy, but the people that make up the organisation. The people within are contagious, influential, and have the power to make or break each other.

In a beautiful boutique-like organisation as above, one usually can expect a high standard from inside out, not just on a surface level. What if the reverse is true?

This is why 3 months probation is crucial. Not just as a venue for employer to assess the new employee’s capability, but also the other way round. It is an opportunity for employee and employer to explore each other. In other words, the “fit” is a two-way communication with its own boundaries.

Unfortunately, it seems to be a norm for employees to set high expectation on themselves to fit into an environment, whereas the employer takes a back seat to watch how they survive. The employees act on all rational measures they possibly can, with hope to be accepted into a new environment. Why? Because he or she has a lot to lose by giving up their past for a new beginning. It’s an expensive investment. Eventually, they’d forced themselves to be blinded by the beautiful boutique picture painted on the outset.

Many employees overlooked that ‘make it or break it’ also involves the acceptance and compromise of one’s principles he or she believes in. Bear in mind, ‘to accept’ and ‘be accepted’ are two different terms. Organisations often take for granted that great talents can be found anywhere and it is expected for talents to work towards ‘being accepted’ by what’s offered to them – an opportunity.


She struggled for the first 3 months – not on the job, but on the culture of never-ending short-cuts, laziness, lies, procrastination, weekly Monday and Friday medical leaves notification on mobile, process bypass, act of stupidity for political reasons (the innocent cat approach), being free of responsibility (taking-order approach) as well as ridiculous excuses or reasons to not be at work, ie: from having trouble commuting to work that never existed when they signed up for the job,  ass-pain, stomachache, twisted leg, ankle, and all sort of possibilities to sit at home to blast emails without human connections. They claimed as a groupthink – these are how things work around here and these are what they call a good work-life balance.

Young, smart, privileged, and lazy. They are all in early 20s and ready to retire.

But, one thing for sure – when it comes to work travel abroad with awesome retreat and accommodation, everything works perfectly fine. Even a broken ankle could climb the mountain.

Empty she felt. In an office of 11 people on the 2nd office floor, with half of the time 2 present. Two-third lunch at different hours ranging from 12pm – 4.30pm and even after she could see some went on the 1st and 3rd floor to take a nap at the sofa where no one could see them. When the head wasn’t around, 10.30am will be the official start hour. Phones were left ringing and delivery acceptance at published hours on behalf of lazy team were what drove her nuts. When work timeline was questioned, system was the one to be blamed. Asked the management, a forgiving culture is what being practised, and it takes time to learn. The question is ‘how long’? – Longer than a newbie?

She fought her way to gain support from the top for the next moves, but they were all talks with touch of soft actions. Enforcement is not encouraged. To blend or not to blend?

In psychology, an attitude refers to a set of emotions, beliefs, and behaviors toward a particular object, person, thing, or event. Attitudes are often the result of experience or upbringing, and they can have a powerful influence over behavior.  While attitudes are enduring, they can also change. – Kendra  Cherry

Or, can they?

On the 5th month, she decided to pack and go. Although she is a goal-getter, time is too precious to wait for a pack to change.

It’s not always the case to be accepted by the employer. To make someone at the expense of breaking one’s principles is not mandatory. Instead, having some respect for what she is made of strengthens her purpose in life. Passion is never to be underestimated but it shall be achieved in the right manner. 

“I am happy that the organisation decided to confirm my probation. But, I am sorry that I am not able to accept this. I love what I do, but there is no soul attached to it. It’s nothing wrong with the organisation, it’s just a wrong fit for me.”

A statement that sent a shock to the employer because it doesn’t usually work the other way round. 7 months now, everything has changed for her, but nothing has changed since she left. She’s glad she has made the right decision to move on with courage.

Imagination can be real.

Nongsa, Riau Island, Indonesia

Nongsa, Riau Island, Indonesia

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