you’re not a culture fit

i’ve had a fair share of jobs in this industry, and i’ve been fired a few times.

whenever I was fired or laid off I left crying and regretting every mistake I ever made. It always felt like a series of events, coming to a head with me finally being told I “wasn’t a culture fit”.

Not a culture fit #1

  • I was let go through a vaguely-worded email, where it kind of alluded to me needing another job? it wasn’t clear, however it was clear enough that I wasn’t going to be hired by them again.

Not a culture fit #2

  • This one was a time-consuming, long drawn out process. I was working to exhaustion, i was emotionally burnt. I ended up being fired but only after months of crying, feeling bullied, jaded experiences that made me feel like this industry wasn’t worth it

Not a culture fit #3

  • At some point in the day they were in living room, talking on the phone to their business manager, and I could hear them clearly say that they wanted to let me go but they didn’t want to do it themselves. Something along the lines of “yeah, sure I could do things that other managers do but if i I did that then I’ll never have time to do actual music”. i had just planned their birthday party and they talked to me like a close friend.
  • The next day I was let go through a phone call from said boss’s business manager; I came home after work, got a call from the usual Unknown Number the business manager calls from, was given a two-week severance and then was assured that my now ex-boss would call me at some point to keep it amicable and bid me goodbye. I’m sure you can guess that that never happened.

Why was I being let go like this? How could this have happened? I immediately assumed that my employer(s) did their best to help me correct my mistakes. Maybe firing me was the only solution, maybe “not being a culture fit” is something I need to look internally to address… I felt the world of my ex-bosses, and had faith that if they let me go it’s because they really, really couldn’t make it work.

This is the part where I get into the cyclical self-blame game.

While I could easily come up with an arbitrary list of arbitrary reasons that might be/could be why I got fired those few times (which believe me I’ve done a lot)…Down to the wire the real reason could be as simple as they didn’t like me.

I have driven myself to dark places, I’ve thrown myself into pretty depressive episodes because of the few times I was let go without a full explanation. Countless questions. Countless frustration. But once I started accepting that, hey, maybe they just didn’t like me, the narrative changed completely.

Having been in so many bad situations, and now also being in GREAT situations, I understand what it means to have growth-encouraging transparency. I never got formal performance reviews at small companies (most of the time they didn’t even have an HR department). There was no formal warning process or personal development plan. I was in the dark, teetering between actually making mistakes and feeling like my bosses were building resentment towards me. I now know the difference between struggling, and struggling in an environment that was set up for you to fail.

But beyond being fired and the reasons why, what’s more important is acknowledging when it’s time to quit. The minute you start feeling like your job is at stake, the minute you can pull up a list of mistakes that you think might’ve pissed off your boss but your boss is too passive-aggressive to say anything, the second you feel like your coworker is out to get your job – are you feeling crazy or paranoid for feeling these things? It’s beyond that. it’s beyond rational thinking at this point. You are approaching the crucial moment where you need to start recognizing that your work environment is toxic.

My ex-bosses may or may not like me, they may even hate me. They might think I’m the dumbest in the world and it’s a miracle how I’m employed even now.

And that’s complete okay. It’s okay (in fact, it’s normal) to not be liked sometimes. People will come in and out of your life — some will love you, some will hate you, some won’t even care enough to have an opinion. Sure, try your best and take accountability where you can. But most importantly, find people who understand you and encourage the best in you; especially when you are learning, growing, and making mistakes.

The culture fit is a two-way street. You have the power and owe it to yourself to recognize when a company doesn’t fit with YOU.

tysm for reading today

Comment on “you’re not a culture fit”

  1. I’m so sorry your past is haunted with these things. I may not have job experience yet but I can understand how frustrating and saddening these can make someone. I’m sure you’ve already met Skye and Mike (Salvatori), you will have the most fun in your life working with them. Again, I’m pretty jealous and would absolutely love to work at Bungie sometime.

    I’m glad you were employed even with your past, I hope it doesn’t bother you much now as it had before. If I were in your shoes, I’d like to see those experiences as lessons to do extra better in the future. I don’t know if any of this message will make much sense, I’m still a kid and it might be messy so hopefully I didn’t offend you in any way. I’d love to chat with you about your experience at Bungie someday and maybe even talk about music stuff if Skye (and the team) told you all the complicated stuff yet.

    Thank you for the blog, it was a really nice read that I’ll remember once I actually get into field. I wish you luck that your future is amazing.

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