Blog Post 2

The most interesting cultural trend that I’ve observed during my time in Detroit definitely stems from the culture that I’ve observed in my workplace. This is both in the Green Garage and also within my respective organization. Though I expected the Green Garage to be a fairly relaxed workplace, I still expected a more serious sense of tight professionalism. I have always had a pretty stiff and clear-cut definition of what a workplace should be, and this place has definitely broken that mold (though it wasn’t a tough or rigid set of expectations anyways, considering I have little office-space related work experience). The atmosphere of the Green Garage is definitely much more relaxed and natural than expected. I expect work to be filled with much more focus in a tense and controlled way. Instead I’ve observed a much more casual approach to what a shared workspace looks like. In my opinion this is thanks to, in part, the very open layout of the Green Garage. Over 50 organizations share one open floor. In this space there are the cubicles and areas set aside for each organization, but there is also a large communal space where anyone is welcome to work. Furthermore, there is a community kitchen connected to this all, as well as other neat community spaces that encourage interaction across these organizations. Because of this open space, people naturally come together in conversation. This atmosphere is bolstered for me due to the fact that within my own organization there is no sense of urgency to the work that I am doing. Because there is no quota or product that we’re pushing out, and the arrangements for the DFA summer program have been all but made, there is a definite lull in the workload. That’s given me time to really examine the social environment of the Garage, and to observe the relaxed and open culture that the Green Garage goes out of its way to promote (this plays into the observations that I made in my previous blog post). Within my own organization I’ve also observed a concern with building strong working relationships through casual conversation and icebreakers. The meetings are all begun with non-work-related questions such as “How is your pinky toe today?”, or “What is a musical genius, and what does it look like in today’s music?”. This work method is definitely not what I expected, but a pleasant and relaxing environment to work in. The most interesting thing about this is the very intentional effort to develop this culture within the Green Garage and within the DFA. It’s shown me that positive and unorthodox work culture is definitely an atmosphere that takes intentionality to develop.

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