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I am looking for position in several corporations but judging from the social networks, the adopted culture is quite different from my tastes:

  • I love classical and contemporary classical music (innovative and electronic music is fine with me as well though I am listening it less). I have nothing against popular music, but I listen it only in gym.
  • I love traditional painting mediums (oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastels) and all the physical art things more than digital art.
  • I hate sports and I never spend my free time on them out of free will, though I am regularly exercising quite a lot in gym but for health reasons not the pleasure. I have no idea whatsoever what's happening in the great sport (I like to watch men figure skating only).
  • I am lost with smalltalk though I like lengthy talks about politics, ideas, etc. in restaurants where everyone can have a say and where one's thoughts can develop and flow freely.
  • I have learned ballet and sports dances, but I dislike dancing generally, especially without predefined scripts.

It is not that I am against all those things, I like trying digital arts, some sounds of popular music are very OK and it can be pleasure to talk with people but deep inside me there is something that does not allow me to be completely free and to completely enjoy all the events and cultural programs that can happen in and around the corporations.

I would like to adapt and to find this enjoyment and I would like to understand more why it is so, but for it I need to find some good reading, some guidebooks or something other. Maybe there is some advice how to make this adaptation? Currently I am trying to read corporate novels but it is quite hard to find good corporate novel that is more than cliches (e.g. Microserfs is good one).

Sometimes I hope that corporations have a lot of clever people with sophisticated tastes and that it could be possible to find some connections along cultural lines, but from the other hand - social media pictures something different.

Of course, I am aware that the content of the work and the productivity is the single most important point and that the knowledge sharing is the second point. That is fine. But from time to time those cultural things happen and spring out and I need to be prepared for them.

closed as too broad by Jim G., The Wandering Dev Manager, mxyzplk, Dukeling, scaaahu Dec 31 '18 at 10:19

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Corporately culture and people's personal tastes are not the same thing. Your concern should be about you to be a fit in the company culture and a good team member (regardless what your team tastes are). For that you just need to seem waaaaay less elitist than what you appear in this post. – Adriano Repetti Dec 31 '18 at 8:50
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Sometimes I hope that corporations have a lot of clever people with sophisticated tastes

This is a problem in your attitude. You think that your tastes are superior to others because they're "sophisticated". No, you just like weird stuff. That's ok, so do I. So does everyone. But stop trying to put your tastes above others by terming it "sophisticated". Its not any better than anyone else's weird stuff.

I'd suggest throwing terms like that out of your vocabulary and mindset. There's things you like, things you're neutral on, and things you're not into. Talk about/go to events that fall into category 1 and 2. If there's something you haven't done before, try it with an open mind and see which it falls into. But it seems from your post your big problem is elitism and thinking some things are inherently "better" because they've traditionally been favored by the upper class.

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Ask people about their interests and what they enjoy about them. If you get the chance, take the opportunity to enjoy it with them. Even if you're not as passionate about it as they are, you'll likely get some pleasure out of the shared experience. Also, tell them about your interests and passions. Explain why they're important to you and the meaning you get out of them. If you put in the effort to relate to people while withholding judgement, you'll probably find you have more in common than you may think.

Edit: I should probably add that social media is a very poor indicator of what people are like in real life.

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In the workplace talk of hobbies and interests is a way to ease tension and increase camaraderie. It is admirable that you are looking at ways to relate to your coworkers and I hope that you will find some. You can relax in that several of your coworkers will likely try to find ways to relate to you, as well, so the job does not rest solely on your shoulders.

Helping People To Relate To You

People are diverse and have varied interests. A person can write sonnets and listen to Heavy Metal. They can enjoy Football and dance. They can enjoy restaurants and reading. Sometimes those interests are hidden and the best way to draw them out is to provide an indicator of your interests, so that others can comment on them.

You mentioned your love of traditional painting. Perhaps you could display a poster of a painting you particularly enjoy. Or a photo of you in front of a museum that has those types of paintings.

You mentioned your love of classical music. Perhaps you could put some album art (or CDs) on display. Perhaps a program from a symphony you enjoyed attending.

You mentioned enjoying watching figure skating. Again, some memorabilia from a competition or picture of a skater that you enjoy watching might trigger recognition from a coworker and spark a conversation.

Looking For Ways To Relate

You will come across others who work out—some for pleasure, some for health. You might be able to ask them about the type of music they listen to when working out and have a conversation about new suggestions. You might be able to talk about the exercises you enjoy and the exercises you dislike.

In my experience, every four years, people talk about figure skating a lot during the Olympics. You might be able to join a conversation with someone who you know is also watching. “Did you see that Salchow last night!?…”

Some of your coworkers will, no doubt, have kids. Asking them about their kids (“Are they walking?”, “Are they sleeping through the night?”, “How are they doing in school?”, “Are they looking at college?”) is an easy way to relate and get them talking. I suspect that you’ll find many, many parents who are willing to talk at great length about their kids and who will think kindly of you for asking.

Shared hatred of sports. In any group of decent size you will probably find a few people who think sports are a waste of time. Perhaps you can bond with some people over your mutual disdain.

Small Talk

Questions that are on your mind and non-offensive opinions make great small talk, especially when they’re related to your interests and activities. Based on your interests you could try questions and comments like:

  • “I’m getting together with some friends this weekend. Do you know any good quiet restaurants for conversation?”
  • “I see you’re heading to the gym. What music do you listen to while you’re there?”
  • “I’m heading to the gym. Today is leg day. I really hate squats.” (Note that nobody will be upset if you hate squats. Some people might be upset if you hate Football. Limit small talk emotions to things that won’t upset people.)

You can also look through web pages of small talk questions and memorize a few to keep in your back pocket when you need to kick off a conversation. Here’s a page to get you started: https://www.themuse.com/advice/48-questions-thatll-make-awkward-small-talk-so-much-easier


In the end, I don’t think you need to adapt to the interest of others in order to relate. I think you’d be best served finding ways to help others see your interests and to find ways that your interests are relatable, even if tangentially: like talking about restaurants, working out and music.

Finally, I’d be remiss in my fandom to not share the video that your question most reminded me of, from The IT Crowd: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yN2H3--1aw

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Whichever job you enter, you will be the new guy. Other workers will want to know more about you, as time permits, so they can categorize you in their minds. This initial phase of questioning will be followed by a continued period of passive acceptance.
So, in the beginning, don't try to exert your differences. Go with the flow as you get into the accepted rhythm of daily work. You will learn who is easy-going and who is a tough critter. After a while you can express your needs safely to your closest co-workers. Social media tends to reflect the extroverts and the followers. Face to face, people can be more normal. They will use your attitude as feedback.

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