I've contemplated creating an advice column on FS because I wasn't sure what advice I would be able to provide, until I thought about the last four years of my career that took me from working for large public companies to small private companies. There are pros/cons to both but in terms of professional development what I learned can be summed up in one sentence. Never sacrifice who you are professionally regardless of environment. This may sound obvious and it is something I took for granted for many years until I encountered the culture of being in a "me" environment and not a "we" environment. Which was a terrifying thing.
At that point, in a difficult economy I made the decision to leave my position because I didn't want the environment to change who I was or what I had learned from the the previous companies I had worked for and for which I still admired and respected. Now I work for a start-up renewable energy company and continue to believe that the following traits will always contribute to collaborative success as long as the culture fits your moral beliefs.
Make sacrifices for the benefits of others.
Put in the extra effort when it's needed, expect nothing in return.
Resolve issues or conflicts directly. One on one.
Agree to disagree. And move on.
Trust your colleagues. They are there to work with you, not against you.
Make sacrifices for the benefits of others and when you need it most,
others may sacrifice for you.
Be universally respectful--from upper to middle management, to your colleagues
and to the person who works in the lunch room.
Be on time. If you're late you are wasting the time of others.
Be humble. Be open. There is always more to learn.
*adapted from Cognition