Started my career with the start-up I wanted. Here is how I did it.
We all have that dream company we want to start our careers with. Sometimes it’s the big tech giants or your favourite start-up solving a certain problem. More than 8 years ago, I also decided to work with such a start-up and gave it all I have. I have got what I wished for and let me tell you about how awesome a journey that was, with all the learnings I have got. The company stopped operations a few years after and moved to another product which is working well in the market.
It was early 2014 when I was in my final year of college. While exploring random things on Facebook, I saw an amazing picture of a bicycle hanging from the roof and people playing FIFA on PlayStation. All glass cabins, give you the vibes of full transparency as well. It was a picture of a small team having big goals to be achieved and it didn’t take long to decide my starting point.
A final-year college student, who never imagined companies like this, was stunned. Isn’t it cool to be a part of this kind of culture? It was hard for me not to consider big multinational tech companies because start-ups were not very trendy at that time in India. But, here I decided to give it all.
Time to apply
I have gone through the company's website and almost all the major LinkedIn profiles related to the company. The tech background of the team was an eye opener for me and that too made me more interested in the company. To make it harder for me, I have not found any matching profile to my core skills at that time(HTML, CSS and JS). But at the bottom of the careers page, it was written something like this. “If you don’t find anything matching your profile, write to us with your resume”. Voila! That smile on my face 😃
I have decided to directly drop an email to the company’s email id and the co-founder of the company, explaining my interest in the company and what I can add. NO LUCK! I haven’t heard back.
I have continued with my study but kept following the company profile on social platforms. Around 5 months passed and I decided to drop an email again. This time, a detailed one. I have explained everything I liked about the company, the culture, my last application being missed, and asked them to give me a chance.
And this time, I got an email back. I was called for an interview 🙂.
The most awkward thing you can do is dress up in all formals and go for an interview in a start-up. I did it well and it didn’t take long to realise that 😂. I was even told not to be formal and take it easy. The max I could do was to take off my tie.
Initially, it was a fun chit-chat with all things but work and tech. Just to ease things down. Now, the actual stuff. I was able to answer things well enough(this is what a thought as least). However, I found it very difficult to work on Macbook whereas the only machine I used before that was Windows PC.
Oh, I just forgot to mention the awesome coffee that was offered to me while I was figuring out the basic copy-paste thing on a Mac.
Did I get the expected?
I have expected to hear back from the company but didn’t. I tried to follow up and got to know that they liked me as well but don’t have any full-time positions. I was given the option to join them as a Software Developer Trainee for 3 months. I was disappointed because of not getting a full-time position but I was happy. I decided to pick that and joined them.
Everything was aligned with my expectation, even more than that. Where would you get a team to play video games whenever you feel bored and do 24hrs hackathons to push our limits? I had a great time working there and got to know more about transparent start-up culture. It is always awesome to work with teams that are passionate and chasing a dream. I wish I could have contributed more but it had to end. I couldn’t secure any full-time offer with them but, happy that the solid foundation was laid out there. Only after that, I have been working with start-ups only.
What did I learn?
Was that only playing video games and having fun? No. I have learned how a team should work to achieve a goal. We were taking responsibility for our modules and helping each other whenever needed.
It was not just all work culture. I have learned some of the good lessons that I still follow. The team helped me navigate through problems and find the optimal solution. Learned technologies like Knockout.js and Ionic(the starting days of Ionic at that time). Learned how valuable interaction design is for a better user experience. Also, the higher management showed me to be supportive of all the folks every time. After all, it’s about the team. I wish that association could have been longer but it is as it is.
Now that I am an Engineering Manager in the fastest-growing start-up, I still look back at that time and feel grateful for choosing a start-up that I was aligned with. Remember, if you feel well aligned with a company, please write to them. Tell them what you feel and what is the thing you can contribute. I am sure they will help you start your journey with them.
It’s always about the team you are a part of, not the project.
If you liked it, please follow me on twitter and let me know your story. I would be happy to hear your career take off.