Are you Camille?

Camille really enjoyed her summer jobs working as an administrative assistant in her university's recruiting office.
She was part of a highly motivated team inspired by a manager who encouraged everyone - including Camille - to contribute ideas and share opinions, even if they differed with the manager's. When Camille graduated, her experience helped her land a job as a corporate recruiter in a Fortune 500 company.

After a few months on the job, Camille was shocked when her boss called her in for a discussion about her poor attitude. He accused her of being disrespectful and a know-it-all. The boss said that as a new employee, Camille needed to stop acting like she knew how to run the department and especially needed to stop questioning authority. Instead, she needed to do as she was told.

What was Camille's mistake? She didn't realize the culture of her new job was entirely different from the culture in her summer jobs. Even though the summer boss was probably more progressive by soliciting input from all employees, this was not the norm in Camille's new environment.

It's important for new employees to take the time to observe what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in their new job. Often these cultural norms are unspoken, so they can't be found in written policies. One way to discover them is to identify the most successful people in the workplace and note how they perform.

Ultimately, you may decide that you can't live with your current employer's culture and you need to find a new job. Let that be your choice, not your employer's who lets you go because you didn't figure out the rules of behavior and are considered a problem employee. Read Hit the Job Running for more tips on how to be a success in the workplace.

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