Five Things I’ve Learned At a Startup – Week 1

It’s been a week and I’m still here. The startup world hasn’t scared me away just yet. In fact, my job isn’t much different from any other job I’ve held. But there are a few things that will take some getting used to.

  • My job changes every day. I’m a member of the sales team, but I am often loaned out to other teams when they need warm bodies. This is occasionally inconvenient, but it usually offers and interesting look into what the guys around me are doing.
  • The company’s goals change constantly. I don’t mean short-term goals; the overarching vision for the future of the organization is subject to change. Few startups are able to enter a new market and maintain a steady course for very long. When the business plan meets the real world, constant course-corrections are inevitable.
  • There is no such thing as a “normal workday”. This is similar to my time as a detective. Some days are 9-5, but that is subject to change suddenly. A coding mistake or a special request from a client can turn an 8-hour day into a 20-hour binge.
  • I am responsible for becoming knowledgable about the market and product. Newborn organizations don’t have employee handbooks and training manuals. With such limited manpower, we have to train on the fly. After a week of studying, the jargon is becoming familiar and it no longer sounds my like coworkers are speaking a different language.
  • There isn’t anyone to watch over my shoulder. As I government worker, I was accustomed to micromanagement. My current job is the opposite; I am trusted to do my work on time. Failing to do so risks disappointing my coworkers and causing them more work. This is a better incentive to perform than any overbearing manager can provide.

I’ll continue to post as I have more to share with you. How does this compare to your work experience? If you’ve worked in a startup, or started a company, I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below.

Until next time.

-Taft

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