5 Frequently Asked Questions About Working At A Startup



Ever since I started working at GO-JEK, which is one of the “unicorn” startup companies in Indonesia, I’ve constantly been asked by my friends and acquaintances, who are mostly fresh-grads, about the pros and cons as well as the ups and downs of working at a fast-growing startup which is also a tech company.
Indeed, working at a startup is not always about its freedom of working hours and its endless challenges; there are countless things which are unique and probably only happen when you’re working in a startup.
For this reason, I tried to gather some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the perks of working at a startup company and tried to answer it together with my colleagues at work.

1. “How does it feel to work in fast-growing startup company?”

I only have one word to answer this question: Exciting.
Working in a fast-growing startup feels like I must confront a never-ending adventure every single day, since I have to be familiar with sudden changes and their dynamic circumstances.
In a startup company, more often than not, your Plan A will more than likely not work, and you’ll have to be ready with your Plans B through Z, which means that you have to be familiar with uncertainty. You need to always remember that a startup is a company that is always growing and developing each day to solve problems.
If you want to work in a startup, make sure that you’re a person who likes to tackle new challenges and setbacks. And that you are in love with getting out of your comfort zone.

2. “What kinds of people do you work with?”

My colleagues are people who are fast, have countless new ideas, and acquire compassion. They are the kinds of people who always come up with new solutions that are based on  data, and they deliver it with empathy.
They know that their ideas might not always work as planned, so they are always open to feedback and critiques on their ideas before their plans will be implemented. My colleagues at work are also fearless in terms of making mistakes, as they understand that trying to fix our mistakes is a part of the learning process.
The thing about my colleagues that I adore the most is their passion. In a startup company, you will most likely work with passionate people who are dedicated and hard-working. Even though my co-workers are allowed to work remotely and can come to the office whenever they want, they will always try their best to finish the tasks before the deadlines. We are treated as responsible adults because we act that way.

3.  “How is the working environment?”

Ever since I began working at a startup company, I’ve learned the meaning of work-life balance, especially for me, since I am a millennial fresh-graduate. In my previous workplace, I had to work together with people who are at least 20 years older than me. Thus, every time I went home after work, I always made time to meet with my peers for the sake of having a social life.
In my current workplace, most of the time, I’m working with the people who are 20–35 years old (My team leader is  only a year older than me!), and it fulfills my need for a social life directly in the workplace.
The working environment of a startup is not only about the people in it. Most of the time, the office of a startup will be designed as a “playground” rather than a place to work. The office is colorful, and there is no cubicle at all, so you can collaborate and brainstorm with literally anyone who sits together with you at the table. A startup’s working environment is ideal for anyone who has tons of creative ideas and innovations.

4. “How does a startup company develop the skill of their employees?”

The answer of this question might be diverse, as it depends on the culture of the startup itself. In the place where I work, employees really believe in the power of knowledge-sharing. Thus, the company usually has some learning platforms to develop people’s hard and soft skills.
For example, right now, my startup company has an online learning platform through YouTube videos. Other than that, we have an offline learning platform which is a two-hour session of experts knowledge-sharing in their particular fields. In summary, a startup will most likely develop our skills through knowledge-sharing.

5. “Since most of the time, startup is a tech-company, do you need to be an expert in engineering to work there?”

Nope, but you need to have the curiosity to learn new things, especially about technology and the business fields. It depends on your position, too; if you’re working in the tech division, yes, of course, you need to be the expert on engineering because the engineering team is one of the crucial divisions in a startup.
But, a startup is not only about its engineering team. We are a bunch of diverse talents who are working and collaborating with each other, so you have infinite opportunities to explore as much knowledge as possible.
In a startup company, you can speak your mind and ideas as long as you can communicate it with purpose. In other words, being the expert in a particular field is crucial, but the most important thing is you’re able to learn new things and adapt to changes quickly. We need people who are strong, agile learners.
I do believe that there is no such thing as an ideal job; wherever you work working , being a hard-working person is the key to reaching your own success story. Thus, no matter where you work right now, focus on  being the best version of yourself instead of comparing your work life with anyone else’s.
At the end of the day, you are the master of your own life. Whatever life offers you, if you can control yourself to adapt and ‘bounce back,’ you will be OK, wherever you work.

Featured image via Go Live
Originally published at Unwritten (April 27th, 2018)

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