As some of you may know, I have been working for several months at a startup company in Hong Kong called PassKit (Den is actually the face of the homepage right now). I always thought that I would end up working in finance but by the decree of fate I am back at PassKit, working full-time after having interned at the company at its inception in 2012.
I was fortunate enough to kick off my career in a startup environment and within a matter of months I’ve learned so much already. Though I have never worked in a corporate setting, I don’t feel that I am missing out on much at all. In fact, I believe that working at a startup has given me a much more enriching experience.
I’d like to share just some of the things I have learned over the course of these past few months and shed some light on what it truly is like working for a startup.
1. You are the decision maker
There is no corporate bureaucracy. You don’t need to jump through hurdles seeking approval from people in different divisions. That process could take months – and by that time your decision to do something new may become obsolete.
In a startup, if you want to lead a new project and innovate, you can execute that plan right away. And I mean within a matter of minutes. As long as you can justify your reason for doing so then go right ahead. And if it doesn’t work out, you can quickly change it to something else without going through the process of hierarchal approval. There are no bottlenecks stopping you from making things happen.
2. You will see the value in people
I can go on and on about diversity but we’ve heard it all before. The people you work with truly make a difference in how the work environment feels and ultimately how you feel throughout the day. Because everyone comes from different walks of life, we all have something unique to offer to the company. We all have things to teach each other and every day is a learning experience that helps us develop ourselves as people and as professionals.
I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by intelligent and charismatic colleagues. The camaraderie and feeling of unity within the office truly resonates with me even when I’m not at work. You’ll learn to value the skills and experiences that everyone has developed, especially when it comes to launching a new project that requires all hands on deck. The people you work with will make a difference in whether you are motivated and inspired.
3. You will wear many hats
Don’t think you’re only expected to do what is laid out in your job description. Sure, it might seem easy enough to follow, but if you want to succeed you have to expand beyond these limitations. In a startup, you will be tasked to do a number of things that may not be written in your contract.
Yes, you will have a lot on your plate. And you will have many duties to fulfill. But the fact that you will wear many hats shows that you are capable of more than just your job title. More often than not, you will be learning and developing a new skill while working on a project. You’re no longer just the marketing guy; you are a marketing guru + web designer + creative writer + super cool project lead + whatever else you want to be.
Try on dozens of hats, discard the ones that don’t fit, and keep the ones that do. You won’t be expected to know how to do everything, but it’s building and refining what you know that will truly empower you to be extraordinary.
4. It never stops
Every day brings new challenges and tasks to the table. Whether it’s a product launch or transforming an industry, you will never be stuck doing the same routine. Change happens quickly, and being in a startup gives you that sense of urgency and mobility to react positively upon it.
The work will never stop. Boredom doesn’t exist. When all hands are on deck and everyone is giving it their all, the room starts to heat up and the adrenaline kicks in. And that sweet, sweet sense of accomplishment at the end makes the entire journey extra rewarding.
Not a day goes by that I don’t feel grateful for the opportunity to work at PassKit. Every day brings new challenges but I’m lucky that I love doing what I do. It’s not an easy ride, but it has motivated and inspired me to keep driving forward.
When I leave the office every day, there’s a sign on the door that asks these 2 questions: Did you have fun today? Did you create value today? You bet I did.