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In a recent conversation, an employee complained bitterly to me about how frustrated he was in an organisation he had joined with a lot of enthusiasm- a little less than a year ago.  He mentioned that in reality that organisation was very, very different from the one he imagined it to be. He regretted having given up his previous job and was already looking out frantically for a change.

When I asked him what efforts he had made to find out about the organisation before he joined, he revealed a somewhat naive disposition. ” I thought there was no need to check” he said ” The company is well known and has been around for many years”.

Sometimes you may feel let down by organisations. There could be a large gap between what you expected and what you found over time. Why does this happen? In some cases you may not at all be responsible- the “good” employer is acquired by another organisation which has values you are not willing to back. You join as part of a team engaged to carry out a particular project – but a few months later the project itself is shelved by the organisation. These are known to happen and will perhaps always be the case.

Apart from finding out as much as you can about the organisation by reading and research, try to talk to people there. Talking to current and past employees of the organisation gives you very valuable insights. Unless you know that you can absolutely trust the comments of a current employee, take feedback from them with a pinch of salt. Many after all have referral programs where employees are rewarded for bringing in more people. They may exaggerate virtues not only to sell you the job but also to reassure themselves that they are on to a good thing.

The best feedback perhaps comes from people who worked in that organisation for a reasonable time but do not work there any longer. Here too be aware that individual experiences can vary. Just as perspectives do from person to person. Don’t ask the obvious. Asking the right questions about the areas where you may have some misgivings can make these interactions more valuable. Nevertheless, these insights you get can be a vital input before you decide.

So the next time you plan to make a move, ask yourself if you really know what you are in for.

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This is Post No: 209 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success