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I got myself immersed in a completely different culture

Inbar Gazit

Engineering Manager at DocuSign

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Problem

About six years ago, I was hired by a health insurance company. Before this, all of my experience had been in tech companies. I was not prepared for the cultural difference between the tech companies I had worked for and the new company. At the health insurance company, everything I wanted to do took forever. I remember, in my first days, I came to ask for a database: "Ok, I need a database, how can I get this done?". They replied, by saying "Well, you have to fill this form, and do this and this". Their process took three weeks. Argh!

Actions taken

During my time in the company, I tried to adapt as much as I could, but stood up for my principles. I fought for everything, tried to accelerate processes (I finally got the database in three days), and tried to do things my way (I was also in charge of recruiting a team, and I wanted to do it my way, by setting up the best team for the job). But I also learned the way people worked there. Some business guys had been working there for 40 years, and they just had a different approach to the job than mine. I understood it was not just processes, but a way of working, based on strong cultural principles, that were not mine.

Lessons learned

I guess the lesson from all of this is that in any workplace you have to understand not only the developers, the technology and the product, but also the culture of the company, its business culture, and its industry's culture, which varies a lot, especially if you are in a tech company vs. a non-tech company. This experience helped me later in my career, as most of my customers are not in technology companies now. When I talk to them I have an understanding of where they are coming from.

"I finally got the database in three days" "I understood it was not just processes, but a way of working, based on strong cultural principles, that were not mine."


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Inbar Gazit

Engineering Manager at DocuSign


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