Don’t Be Culture-Clubbed

So goes the culture, so goes the company.

Jason Ogle
User Defenders: Publication
3 min readAug 5, 2016


Yeah, I’m gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there.

This article first appeared in my “Usable Thoughts” section of my private User Defenders podcast newsletter.

When interviewing for a job, we always brace ourselves for the questions we’ll be asked while in the hot seat. But how often do we think to interview the company back? You know, the people we’ll be spending more time with than our loved ones.

When given the opportunity (typically at the end of the interview)…follow Jordan Chase’s advice and just “Take it!”.

Ask Questions Like

  • What’s the culture like here?
  • Tell me about the leadership style and philosophy
  • Tell me about the emphasis put on employee development through conferences and other training opportunities
  • Are there remote opportunities? (this can reveal trust levels of leadership)
  • What do people like most about coming into work each day?

Get The Inside Scoop

You can also research what other people who work(ed) at the company are saying by digging in on Glass Door. search tool

If you really want the job, you can search LinkedIn for folks who work there. See if you can connect with someone for a lunch or coffee to get a sense of the culture. If you hit it off, you may even gain an in-road into the company.

I’ll Be Your Case Study

A company may look really great on the outside, but once inside you can find yourself unpleasantly surprised.

Been there. Done that.

I’ve uprooted my family 1,079.1 miles away, and taken a 40% pay cut for a job that looked amazing on the outside–but turned out to be anything butt on the inside.

The people keeping the gears turning were treated like cogs. The people keeping the lights on were viewed as a flickering commodity. The people starting good things were a means to an end.

Leadership was poor from the top down and no thanks to gravity, poop rolls down hill.


Life’s too short to spend 40+ hours a week under poor leadership that doesn’t value you, or make you feel safe. When you don’t feel safe, you are incapable of producing your best work. Not to mention the physical dying you’re doing in that toxic environment day in and out.

The ratio of people to cake is too big.

Even if you’re not currently looking, you more than likely will be in the future. Hopefully you can use this advice to preemptively afford yourself time and opportunity to be extremely picky about where you hang your hat.

You deserve to find yourself doing what you love and loving what you do around people (especially leaders) who respect, value and propel you forward.

People don’t leave companies…they leave leaders.

Choose wisely.

“Corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything — for better or for worse.” — Simon Sinek

Listen to Justin and I get in the weeds on his excellent book, and how to cultivate a creative culture →

Austin Knight also articulates the critical importance of a healthy work culture in Episode 023 of User Defenders podcast.

Did you find value in this? I would be honored if you clicked the ♥ button below!



Jason Ogle
User Defenders: Publication

Host of User Defenders: Podcast. Human. Designer. Story-Catcher. Deep-Diver. Husband + Father x 7. Has a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe.