Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

The Culture of a Small Non-Profit

People often talk about the drastic change in culture between college and employment. It makes sense that the transition from one of the most free times of your life to a desk job at a “collared shirt and tie” company can be difficult. However, I have been lucky enough to find myself working jobs with a little more of a relaxed environment.

If you have kept up with my previous blogs, you would know that my last internship was in Palo Alto, California, a two hour drive from where I live. There is a stereotype that, compared to the East Coast, California is very laid back and easy going. I find this to be true. Especially in Silicon Valley, companies try to adopt this sort of environment in order to attract the most talented employees possible (I mean who wants to work in a small cubicle with a tie strangling them). My job at SAP, one of the leading enterprise software companies in the world, adopted this mentality.

Going into this summer, I anticipated a drastic change in culture. Moving to the Boston area, I was expecting the more classic company culture, with dress clothes, nine-to-five hours, and a business only mentality. I showed up to my first day over dressed and afraid I was going to have trouble fitting in.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that IMPACT Melanoma had a more comfortable environment. As a small company with only around ten employees, everyone is very close and rather easy going. Office doors are always open, we all eat lunch together, and people are comfortable.

I enjoy this more friendly culture. Work shouldn’t be a complete dread to go to. In addition, the freedom that I experienced at both of my internships made it easier to collaborate with my coworkers

Experiencing a relaxed company culture for the second time has helped me to appreciate it even more. I used to think that I would be completely comfortable with a more classic position, but have realized that the benefits of companies like SAP and IMPACT Melanoma outweigh its counterparts.