I used to day-dream about working with fully established firms (although I never thought I’d be writing for a living) as a top executive or a core staff; my crave was more for the huge pay-checks and the perceived comfort those kinds of jobs afford and less of how I might be relevant in such firms. Working with a startup was never part of my career plans, the idea rarely crossed the waves of my thought, I didn’t even know what a startup meant.
But then I grew up. And many things changed.
Years down the line, I joined Jobberman.com (a fast-growing startup company according to Forbes and CNN) as Blog Editor and they just turned 3 at the time.
This is my 7th month working with Jobberman plus I just had my first leave ( at the start of the year? who does that?). I spent some time compiling a list of the things I’ve learnt, which I feel applies to most startups.
You’ll overdeliver. Whether you bargained for it or not. Startups consists of too few people doing too many things, every employee is required to do more than expected. I keep looking at my key performance indicators over and again, I see where Jobberman is trying to get to, but what is required from my end clearly looks like a job for at least three people combined and I have to deliver results, as a matter of fact, my boss expects me to surpass the target. I want to surpass the target.
You’ll learn different skills. Tons of them. Looking at my job description, creating content for the blog should be my sole responsibility but as weeks rolled into months, I have learnt a range of things; from customer service to content marketing, search engine optimization for content, team management, copywriting, copyediting, even to coding html. In the course of my work, I discovered I could love many other things asides writing, I recently took an online course in operations management, stepping outside my comfort zone doesn’t seem so bad after all.
You’ll feel more fulfilled– maybe not in financial terms but working with a startup has given me hands-on experience in many things, I am more confident about myself and the value I can offer. You can be a certified professional in anything but what really counts is how much you’ve mastered the skill or art. That’s where you really offer value.
There’s room for creativity. Every startup would love to cut costs and increase revenue as much as they can, it’s easy for your boss to allow you take the initiative to solve problems.
You’ll make friends. Asides the fact that it’s easier to gain employment with most startups compared with fully established firms, you also make close work friends. A startup has teams with a few number of people in each team, and as you go through the work cycle each day you work closer with your colleagues and most likely end up being friends. My immediate senior colleague Gbemi has so far been the best colleague ever, sadly, I don’t have a picture of her- but she looks every bit like Meridda, the heroine in the animated movie Brave (except she’s not a red head). And there’s Bobby too, he’s very attractive, has a brain I’d love to feed on, he taught me how to code and many times I run to him when I need to solve any technical problem.
Oh yeah. Every startup wouldn’t mind to pay you less for delivering the right kind of value. Actually, this happens everywhere, corporations are not people and if a new hire will cost your employers less than what a different candidate would for the same value offered, you can bet they’d hire the candidate who asks for less. On my part, I under-estimated the value I could offer, looking at where I was and not believing I had more experience than I thought, my research was really poor- both about myself and my employers- and when I had the opportunity to negotiate a salary, heck I was lost. I simply blurted out an amount that came to mind- and almost presto, the deal was sealed.
In hindisght, I could have gotten more if I asked for it; which is why the first rule for making any career choice is to do something you really love, find what the society demands that taps your talent and work to meet those needs. You can never run dry with your art, you’d always have that goldmine with or without money. I have once written a book I never published, I was also a contributing writer with Jobberman 6 months long before I got a job as Blog Editor; it’s quite clear where my passion lies and I’ll be rocking this boat for a long time.
In the near future, I can trim all these experiences into a two-page résumé or perhaps make it a topic of discussion with a potential employer – thanks to a startup company.