What’s It Really Like Working for A Startup

The Beginning of Аll

So here it goes. I am young, ambitious and cannot wait to get out of university and jump into the “real” world. If you look at the world from my 19-year-old eyes, you will never see a grown up doing his job and saying: “Ah, yes, I have learned that in my university, I know how to do it.” I wanted to change the world (which millennial doesn’t) and make an impact. So here I am, doing my best to fit my 4-year bachelor’s degree in 3 years or less and looking all over the world to find a university that will allow me to get a master’s degree in less than a year.

So far so good. I busted my [read in British accent] posterior to do all that and I thought I was ready to hit the road, earn the big bucks, drown in gold, leave my parents apartment as soon as I land a job. I spent my whole summer looking for a job, not even a proper job, but rather an internship of some kind, since “who knew no one is hiring people with no experience”?

After countless hours spent searching online, a dozen of interviews, which all felt the same, I finally landed a job that sounded interesting. It was in a huge multimillion, multinational, multi-everything company. They had an amazing policy towards interns and also people with disabilities, which made a huge impression on me. I was proud to be working for a company that was treating everyone equally.

The First Job

Imagine me, first day, all pumped up to be climbing the corporate ladder, gaining tons of experience and one day earning so much money, that I won’t be able to count on my own. My first week there was more similar to a bug hitting the front glass of a speeding car on a German autobahn. Don’t get me wrong, this article isn’t aiming to describe how ‘horrible’ it can be to work in a big corporation, there are loads of people who absolutely love working in such an environment and wouldn’t change it for the world. However, it just didn’t seem to be exactly my cup of tea, or any other kind of drink really. As any other person I was looking for a place where my voice would be heard, my actions would matter and be appreciated, and my dedication would pay off. I am not implying that my employers at that time didn’t at all, but sometimes I felt underestimated, my voice just echoed in the distance and did not make any impact. I felt completely helpless at times and I knew that I had to change something.

You Have to Start to Get to the Up

Countless friends of mine have been working for startups abroad just like Centroida. I was very reluctant to start working for such even though all the feedback and comments I have received from them was positive. The right moment for me to make a move came. It has been almost 2 years of me trying to prove myself just to get several steps up towards the corporate top. I had to change something, otherwise I would just feel like a chess pawn.

A friend of mine, who was an HR at the time, set up an interview for me with Centroida and the first thing that made a great impression on me was how quick things were moving here. The HR team contacted me almost immediately. So it happened that I got the job. Here it is, new job, first day, first impressions and I am so nervous, that I swear I even forgot my own name.

Things were happening so fast, I couldn’t believe it. Decisions were taken now. Before, if you even wanted to change something minor, you had to ask your boss, who would ask his boss, who will ask his boss… you get the pattern. And here on the first day I was asked the single most important question anyone could be asked in his workplace: “What do you think?” I was absolutely flabbergasted. The team was actually interested in what I had to say. This is one of the major perks of working in a startup – your opinion actually matters. With that, of course, you have to deal with responsibilities and stand behind the decisions you make.

If you want to work in a startup, you need to be a very self-organized individual and prioritize everything you do, simply because the environment requires it. It moves at such a fast pace, that you’ll need to do your best to keep up. Be your best, do your best, give your best. And the most rewarding part is that your effort is seen, heard and appreciated.

As any other job, working for a startup has its ups and downs. Especially if you are a Product Manager and a substantial amount of your time is spent talking to countless number of people. They all have different opinions, thoughts and visions about the product or project and your job is to find that middle ground where your client is happy, your team is happy and last, but not least, you are happy. That can be difficult to achieve sometimes, but the best part is that you can feel the support of your mentors, your team lead, that are not only guiding you through the whole process, but you don’t have that horrendous feeling of being judged and pointed at, whenever you make a mistake or miss something.

The most important thing I learned in Centroida is to simply ASK. Not to be afraid to expand your knowledge and not feeling down because you don’t know something.   

I would say that to anyone, who is wondering whether they should start working for a startup – If you are seeking for personal and professional growth, take the chance and try being your best self. This is what matters most. Not how flashy your job title sounds. Because you could be a “most important manager of managers that manage” and still your voice could echo through the floors of the building you work in, without making a single impact and change through your whole career.

So why you should give a startup a shot? It’s simple. Become your best version so far, make a change, take charge, be appreciated and most of all – work with people who become your friends and support you. For me, this was one of the best decisions I made in my life so far.

 

Author: Simona Georgieva

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport
to reflect the opinions or views of Centroida or its members. 

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