- Casey Hampton
I beat the culture drum a lot in my Vanderbloemen blog posts. For me, it’s one of those “shout it from the rooftop” things. I spent a lot of years working for companies I loved and respected, but ultimately I just didn’t fit with. I was searching for something in my work that I couldn't put my finger on, and didn’t know what it was until I found the Vanderbloemen team. While it’s great to talk about building culture within your church or ministry team, what about those who work within an already existing staff culture (good, bad or in between) and just don’t fit with that culture? Below I’ve outlined a few things you can do if you find yourself in exactly that situation.
1. Don’t focus on the negativeWhen you spend eight-plus hours a day in a situation, especially one that is less than ideal, negativity easily creeps up on you and thrives if you’re not careful to dispel its influence. Your frustrations are often on your mind, so make sure to make an equally intentional effort to be positive about your situation. Look at frustrating occurrences in the best possible light. Give your coworkers the benefit of the doubt. Some days, it might feel fake, and that’s OK. But other days, I hope you’re able to find comfort in that your work situation isn't as bad as it feels on the bad days. The hearts of people are generally well meaning, and although the ways they choose to live may not always be congruent from your view point, it’s worth giving them a little extra grace. Remember that church teams all have a common goal of serving the Kingdom.
2. Manage your attitudeThe second step to focusing on the positive is acting like you do as well. No one enjoys working with someone with a poor attitude, and being that person will only push you further out of the culture. Keeping your attitude in check will make sure your coworkers, differences aside, enjoy your company and want to involve you in things. This could end with you surprisingly discovering you do actually fit in with the staff culture, or at the very least, with some of your coworkers. And let’s be honest: Friends at work make every job way better.
3. Review why you’re not a fitAt Vanderbloemen, all of our employees take a personality test when they start. It helps us understand how to relate to and communicate with each other, but reading the results are also a fascinating look into yourself. I’m a high feeler and am therefore a big proponent of feeling your way through life. Over the years, however, I’ve discovered that often I need to understand why I’m feeling a certain way. Feeling like you don’t fit in the team culture in which you work is a big deal, and it's one of those things that is very much worth taking time to assess the why behind what you feel. Ask yourself some difficult questions and be honest when you answer. Some I’d suggest are:
- What makes you different?
- Is that difference something that is important to you? Especially in ministry settings, is this difference something you feel God has called you to?
- Did you take this job to fulfill a specific purpose? Is that purpose still valid?
- Has God placed you in this position/organization for a specific purpose, and has that purpose been fulfilled?