I’ve always been an overachiever. In high school, I was on the honour roll, part of the student council, and president of my class. In university, I had four part-time jobs, three internships and two mentoring roles. The dream was always to work for that fortune 500 company that only the smartest and brightest graduates got in to. The dream was to have that company’s name on my resume cos it’d make me look good. The dream was to be able to brag to people that my first job out of university was with the big guy. And that was the dream I was destined to live out.
Or so I thought… Turns out the path I’d worked so hard to build was leading me in a different direction (being on a student visa makes it pretty difficult to compete with the locals!!!). I was really disappointed that I couldn’t land a job at a big firm because of this, and that I wouldn’t be getting a fancy company name on my CV. But that was all before this start-up called DigitalMaas. Four months ago they were willing to take a chance on me. And now that disappointment is long gone.
Working for a start-up can seem like a risky choice if all you’ve ever known is the corporate dream so I was also taking a chance by taking this job. So here are the top reasons why I’m glad I decided to give it a go and why you should seriously consider it too:
1. The learning and experience is diverse
Big corporates have a rigid structure where everything is more or less set in stone and work gets diluted the further down the ladder you are. At DM, my official title is Assistant Accountant and my responsibilities go from accounts receivable, accounts payable, cancellations, refunds, operations, reporting, and everything else that’s needed to make a start-up finance department tick. I don’t think I’d like it very much if I was just stuck doing one specific task like accounts payable all day every day.
2. You learn more than just your job
I majored in finance in university and I’m now working at a super techy company that’s mostly comprised of developers. I am quite proud to say that after four months, I am getting better at understanding an IT guy’s everyday jargon. Never thought I’d ever have to deal with words like API, full stack, CMS, UTM, and that a server was anything other than the person you order your coffee from in the morning (lol). I also see exactly how a business is run with direct exposure to sales, operations, marketing and more.
3. I don’t do the same thing every day
Based on all the conversations I’ve had with my friends who’ve also recently graduated and did get those big-name jobs, I feel as if I’m the only one who talks positively about my job and what I do with a smile on my face. Everyone else just complains and whines about their long hours and horrible bosses. My long hours at DM aren’t forced on me, I choose to do it of my own free will. And that’s probably because the work I do is fun.
4. It’s a different kind of competitive and tests your abilities even more
A start-up will usually have 10-20 employees and maybe only one or two people in charge of a major department/division such as finance or operations. You aren’t competing with your peers, you’re competing with yourself and if problems arise, you have to work out how to solve them.
5. I call the CEO by his first name
People in corporate jobs often fear upper management for some reason. I call Andrew Andrew! I know everyone in the business because we all sit in the same room and we all work together to make it work.
6. Start-ups make your brain hurt in a good way
The truth is… start-ups are where all the smart people are! I work with some highly intelligent people, to the point it’s almost bad for my self-esteem! But this is what my brain needs – a massive challenge with high intensity growth on a daily basis!
7. You’re a part of something bigger
Another amazing thing about working for a start-up is that usually a start-up is in the process of creating or building a product/service. So being part of a small team, you’re actually really involved in the whole process of creation that relates to your department which is actually really really amazing for a graduate to gain experience on. More often than not, I’ve gone into meetings where I have absolutely no idea what I will be doing or what I’ll be saying so I usually just end up keeping quiet the entire time (and looking stupid), BUT honestly I’ve learnt so much from just keeping quiet. The words that come out of my extremely intelligent and capable workmates who’ve had years of experience on me are so interesting!! I’m the kind of person who gets curious about everything and I like challenging my brain with different buckets of information. In such a small company, my input and my opinions actually get heard and you’re able to feel your contribution to a huge project.
My advice to all fresh graduates is to try out working for a start-up if you can. I believe that there’s just so much more to learn and experience. In this cut-throat world where your high grades and fancy resume aren’t that important any more, all people want is proof of experience. Experience is valued way higher than anything else when you’re navigating your way through your career.
So there’s a new dream now, and that’s probably because I work for an awesome company.
If you like the sound of working at a start-up, we’re always looking for good talent. Check out what we value about working here and some of the positions we’re looking to fill at the moment. Even if you’re role isn’t on the list just now, we’d love to hear from you if you’re very good at what you do!