It has been over a year since I started working at a startup and it’s bittersweet to leave. I’m excited to start on my next journey, but before then, I thought I’d share what working at a startup is really like.
It’s a Family
From starting when there were 30 employees to 100+ when I left, it has always felt like a family. I think that’s one of the best parts about working at a startup. You may not be best friends with every single person, but you know who everyone is. We are each other’s cheerleaders and we support one another in every way. We're all working towards a single goal and push each other to go beyond what’s asked. Every accomplishment is a team effort and we celebrate it as a family!
Getting a Wholistic View of the Business
I really appreciated how the leadership team was transparent and did a great job letting its’ employees know what was going on in each function of the business. I was able to learn everything from the business side to product and engineering, as well as getting a taste of what investors look for when funding a company. I also felt comfortable enough talking to any of the leads in other departments if I wanted to learn more. The transparent and collaborative environment is something I really enjoyed during my time there.
In a startup, the sky’s the limit. Every person, even interns, are valuable to the business. Everyone is given a lot of ownership and freedom over their projects, which can be scary at first, but I think it’s one of the best things about working at a startup. You have the flexibility to make the projects your own and take smart risks. Being on the creative side, I enjoyed being able to learn new technologies and apply them to the projects I was working on. I also really appreciated how my manager allowed me to explore all aspects of design (UX, research, & visual). There’s still a lot to learn, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without the opportunity to explore all the different facets of design.
There's Always Something That Needs to Get Done
Things are moving quickly and there’s endless amount of work that needs to get done. You learn to prioritize projects, work under a time crunch, and deliver quality work in a quick fashion. Things are constantly moving forward, so you need to just get things done and sometimes pull in some extra work to help a coworker out. This mode of working isn’t for everyone, but I love it! It’s such a rush! Time flies by and I love knowing that my work is directly impacting the company.
With any company, there are pros and cons. Startups have less budget to work with and it can be stressful to pave your own path without much direction. I couldn’t have had a better experience and am so grateful to have had the chance to experience both startups and enterprise companies through my career. For those in college, I would highly recommend trying to get experience at a startup! You wear many hats and it’s an amazing learning experience!