Company Culture That Disrupts

JobRewards Company Culture That Disrupts
I found a rare gem among my library of business books the other day. The gem in question is Dan Lyons’ interesting account on his misadventure in a well-known tech start-up company, HubSpot. And the name of this account is a book called “Disrupted”.
I actually devoured the whole book in just three days as the plot was so engrossing with entertaining events happening on a page-to-page basis. Given how Dan was treated at the company, every chapter reads like a new series of drama itself.
The narrative, laced with sarcasm, comes out more on the harsh side as a whole, and yet very frank in its dissection of a company’s rotten culture. Entertainment aside, there are workplace lessons that can be drawn from Dan’s experience which I have decided to share in three parts today.
But before that, let me first make a disclaimer here – this is just purely my thoughts and reflections after reading the book and it is definitely not my intention to insult or discredit anyone whether directly or indirectly. I will also try to keep the spoilers to a minimum.

Big Cultural Difference

JobRewards Company Culture That Disrupts
It all began when Dan, a middle-aged family guy who always started his morning with a cup of black coffee, joined a young start-up that was run by young people (the majority) who enjoyed Starbucks.
Trivia aside, these “youngsters” to Dan’s annoyance enjoyed scheduling important but also unimportant meetings on the e-calendar just to look professional. It reminded me very much of the frequent but pointless workplace meetings that tend to give the illusion of productiveness or professionalism when in fact they were the exact opposite of the two.
From Dan’s point of view, the company obviously lacked structure because everyone seemed to be reporting to someone and yet no clear instructions or stern decisions were ever made. The kind of culture described can only be unhealthy, especially when someone starts to slack off while waiting for instructions, or worse, when some unsound, self-appointed leaders start to make bad decisions with people blindly following only. Learn more about your workplace personalities here.
It became unsettling for Dan when he realised the company’s belief was very “cult-like”, and no one was supposed to question the leaders and their beliefs. People may get fired or sidelined if they are not “one of them”. This frightens me because I always believe that a healthy company should be transparent and professional, and people should believe in the company because of the company’s values and products which are not solely dependent on what the leader says.

Big Generation Gap

JobRewards Company Culture That Disrupts
Dan felt the full force of the generational gap when he advised his younger colleagues to spend their time and money wisely. As a family-centric and person wise in his age, he thought he was doing his juniors a favour, when in reality he was stamped as an outdated fossil from the ancient world by his juniors. Dan’s predicament resonates with me as I have had personal experience of getting the cold shoulder from juniors when giving work-related advice as it seems some Gen Zers are so full of themselves that they have no need to respect seniors or listen to any advice given.
On top of being fossilized, Dan found it hard to deal with juniors that were too emotionally sensitive, or as I tend to call them “people who melted easily just like a special snowflake”. When a simple joke was made and people were offended, it was expected that the “offender” had to buy ice creams or cheesecakes to “mend the relationship”. These rituals reinforced the workplace into an unhealthy play of high-school drama and workplace politics as a lot of time was spent on redundant emotional caring and cheering while not much work gets done.

Big Bozo Boss

JobRewards Company Culture That Disrupts
It does not matter if a company is a giant MNC or just a start-up, all bosses can sometimes turn out to be knowingly or unknowingly annoying. Aside from being overbearing and micromanaging, some bosses also encroach into their employees’ personal lives and demand (delusionally) that their employees dedicate one hundred percent to the company. Read more about horrible bosses here.
Unfortunately for Dan, it seemed that he met someone from the horrible bosses club. According to his account, his boss would stalk him on social media to make sure he did not write any comments that could possibly throw the company or any of his colleagues in the negative light. If Dan posted such comments (even as a joke), he would be threatened to remove those comments as well as be asked to apologise to the HR or his colleagues. In the end, he had to remove and block his colleagues from his social media account. Putting myself in Dan’s shoes, I would have done the same because I believe a healthy dose of work-life balance goes a long way.
Probably the most nightmarish and tormenting experience for any employee is the shock when it is discovered that the supposingly caring and understanding boss of yours is in fact a two-faced betrayer who works for the “system”. Phishing information from your complaints, your boss then turns what has been gathered into “evidence” to show your unloyalty and insubordination to the company. Not hard to guess that Dan went through that.
In conclusion, despite being at the wrong place (company) and the wrong time (age), I believe Dan was also treated unfairly in a not so professional manner. But then again, there will always be companies out there that are practicing a similar kind of cult if not worse than Dan’s. To be fair, I do believe that the heart of the problem lies in the management team and management style. It is a good cautionary reminder that employees should always stay away from companies with toxic cultures, while employers should keep these things in mind seriously before some good employees are thrown into the pit of sacrifices.

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#JobRewards  #CompanyCulture #GenerationGap #BadBoss #PersonalityTest 

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