Navigating corporate culture shock

I have a friend who just transitioned from a startup to a corporate gig. Having lived in both worlds, I can tell you that the differences are dramatic.

The one piece of advice I gave him last week was the same thing I’d tell you:

Take every opportunity to learn from this new situation. As you do, you’ll be able to bring your experiences and talents to the table. But you need to have a lay of the land (context) before you can figure out how to shine. And be prepared to learn some new things. Lessons that will help you in the future.

The truth is that stepping into a new organization that works differently is just like visiting a new country you’ve never been to. It’s called culture shock and it comes in waves.

But just like you can learn to navigate culture shock, you can also learn how to navigate corporate cultures that work differently than startups. Even more, you can enjoy bridging the gap between them.

Does the image help you think about the transition you might be in? As I showed it to my friend, we had a good laugh. Transition is hard. But knowing what you’re going thru can help.

If you’re navigating this kind of transition I hope thinking about it as culture shock helps frame things for you too.