Corporate vs Non-Corporate…Moving Your Box 

Shedding light on the nuances of moving from a corporate to a small business less process laden environment.


    After having worked in the banking sector for over 25 years, it should come as no surprise that when one switches careers to a less formal or less“corporate” setting, there is going to be an adjustment. 

Whether it is owning a juice bar, where shorts and t-shirts are the norm or running the front desk of a fitness center, where deciding which yoga pants one should wear is determined by the sports bra of the day, the “casual” atmosphere takes some getting used to. 

The clients are the same, I mean after all, customers workout at a gym and then find themselves running into the bank for a not-so-quick deposit. 

         What I have come to notice is more along the lines of the work atmosphere; the language among the employees and the standard of what is acceptable behavior holds the biggest variance. 

The clients don’t usually see the difference; it’s more about what happens behind the scenes and how the employees relate to each other.  This is not about judgment or what is right or wrong, after all, who is to say. It is simply differences observed and lessons learns along the way.

         Here are just a few of those moments that have caught me off guard.  Some things I have found refreshing while other things I have found I had to adjust through and come to embrace. Either way, they have come my way and I am grateful for the experiences.   

Let’s talk about “performance”…NOT what you think!

         When it comes to discussing the “performance” of employees, I learned very early on in banking that it was one of those topics that one keeps confidential. 

If a co-worker was doing a stellar job we were always quick to share but when it was negative or those “improvement opportunities”, we always made sure to keep those discussions private and behind closed doors. Whether good or bad, salaries, disciplinary concerns, and anything related to how performance was rated…we kept it low-key. 

Your job performance was always kept within the circle of the employee and his/her immediate supervisor and not something shared with staff and co-workers.  Well, I must point out here, that whether it is typical to banking or not, I do not know, but I like “confidential” and believe it should stay this way. 

Since leaving the corporate world, I have found myself in the middle of numerous conversations involving the lack-luster performance of co-workers when I had no business knowing about it.  The discomfort I felt for them while trying to identify my role, as a non-supervisor was difficult.

I simply found myself best to quietly walk away.  Again, I don’t know if it is a changing of the times, the industries, or just coincidence, but it has been my experience. 

The casual lack of confidentiality about the performance of others has surprised me.

Next- What not to Wear! and Stay Open to Change…Be willing to MOVE YOUR BOX