A week ago, I was featured on Thrive In Asia over a 5 minute candid interview on what aspects HR professional must consider before joining a startup: CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO. Due to overwhelming response, I would like to pen down my thoughts on how startup journeys can help you in your current and future career capacity.
Having gone through various organisational settings (MNC, SMEs and startups) myself, the past two years has indeed proven that the need to be agile is stronger than most would have thought. A flexible, innovative, and nimble culture has been key when facing challenges such as remote work, massive industry and market changes, and a completely new reality.
The ability to mold team members to change and adapt fast has been impressive. If you are just starting your career, or are looking for new opportunities, it is worth considering joining a startup and here are the 6 reasons why:
1. Startup Working Culture
Working culture can hugely affect our attitude, motivation, and thus, performance. Startups are known for having an innovative and particular working culture. For most startups (this includes larger corporations with startup cultures), they act as fast as possible and waste no time. The key is the “less is more” and “do more with less” mindset, which will give you the opportunity to explore your creativity into executable innovative solutions that can have direct impact on someone else.
2. Ability to Apply Concepts
Joining a startup means adopting an "out of the box" mindset. Forget about traditional old school, it might surprise you on how you can come up with solutions and strategies to grow that may be something out of the industry. You will find yourself learning and using the most modern and innovative tools and platforms to create even more impact than you think.
3. Collaboration and Inclusiveness
Startups are known to be home to internationally diverse teams. You will find coworkers from various nationalities, backgrounds, and ideologies. This strong multicultural environment can open your mind beyond work and tasks. It also leads team members to have a global vision. This can also lead to partnerships between different people, pushing each other forward to keep growing stronger together.
4. Growth Mindset (No Excuses!)
A startup’s needs are constantly changing, and teams need to be able to adapt and move fast. You will develop new skills, and find yourself doing things you have never done before, even if it is not in the job description. Startup teams are usually not huge, which means they are very close and aligned, working together to achieve the same goals. It is not unusual to be surrounded by highly hardworking, talented, and ambitious people willing to do the impossible. This is a huge motivation to learn from others and also teach and contribute with your own knowledge and experience.
Working for a startup helps you to understand how the whole company works because all teams and departments work very closely (flat hierarchy). This also means there are opportunities to work and learn directly from C-level and executive team members.
"You can pay for school, but you can't buy class" - Jay-Z
5. Take Pride In Your Work
Being a startup team member comes with great responsibilities. No matter what your title is, your work will make an impact on the company’s growth and success. This will make you feel like the job you are doing has an actual purpose and is a huge motivation. Because there are so many things to do, learning self-management to prioritize your work and get things done is a natural thing to adapt.
A startup is a company trying to make its own history, and if you fit and believe in the company’s vision, working for a startup can have a tremendous impact in helping with your career growth opportunities - even when you leave the organization.
6. Problem Solver
Startups can change your life, even on personal matters. It is the intense experience, that will make you inevitably become more proactive and ambitious outside of work too. You will be constantly thinking about how to improve things, be more aware of problems and how to solve them, and become more open to new cultures and ways of thinking. You will also learn to love challenges and even look for them.
Is This Really What You Want?
To sum up, working for a startup requires a lot of determination, dedication, a proactive attitude, and the ability to embrace changes. If you want to work and grow in the startup world, you must be ready to face the challenges of being part of a team wanting to change the world.
Part of working at a startup is also getting pulled in a million directions. Feeling confident about your priorities can help you make the progress that matters — and more easily say no.
“When there's a lot to do, it's easy to wear multiple hats"
You may end up spread too thin and never build up a cohesive skillset. if you choose this path, remind yourself where you want to be in a couple of years, and try to take on projects that will help you get there. I have found it useful to break that down even further by listing your top five goals for the month - HOW ABOUT YOU?