Saturday, June 11, 2011

Growing Bigger than your shoes

It’s been four months I am working with a startup and it may sound a bit clichéd but my learning graph here is going steep. Trust me it’s a different world all together to be in, in one word it’s eccentric.

Eccentricity in itself throws the subject so open that it gets difficult to boil down your experience in bullet form Nevertheless I would like to give it a shot.

What did I get working in a startup?

Taught me to start acknowledging what I can deliver and what does taking ownership of things mean. Learnt to break free of the 9-5 work pattern ‘coz there is no such concept here, when you work with a startup you learn to deliver 24 * 7. Though some days you will hate it (mostly when you get your paycheck) but for the rest of the time it gives you a different sort of high.

Can I prove it?

Its past midnight already and I am writing this post from my office. I am exhausted by day’s work but more importantly I am contended with what I got/learnt today.

What did I learn professionally?

When I write this question, for some reason I find it amusing now coz earlier I could differentiate between my professional and personal life but now everything seems personal and professional or vice versa. So technically, in last four months I have written/drafted so many email templates for customers, teams etc… that I don’t wish to even count at this time needless to say that only few actually got implemented. YES I am still learning/or moderately learnt the skill of writing a good email. This might really sound a very trivial job but trust me it’s not, to know what to convey and most importantly what not to convey is a big exercise in itself. On one day I handle customer queries and on another I design posters, screens, product flow, protocols, processes and what not. In just a span of two months I worked/ or rather learnt how to work on three CRMs already.

Any specific character trait this helped me building?

Sometimes when the expected delivery gap between a query/request and the solution is just a couple of hours and I don’t know how to even start with the problem, and my entire mind is fucked up with the assumed outcome I learnt to manage my stress coz at that time I have no other way but to deliver things on time. You just can afford to loose on any single request from your clients. Another very important thing I learnt is to differentiate between getting things done and getting things done perfectly/correctly. Yes this might sound one and the same thing but it’s NOT. There is a whole lot of difference between the two. The latter requires hell lot of commitment. You got to deliver stuff end to end and not just a part of it and when I say end to end it simply means you are not just responsible for what you are expected to deliver but you also need to make sure others who are working with you do the same. You have to identify all touchpoints by yourself to make sure nothing goes unnoticed. In a startup you are expected to carry your own weight so technically you are your own manager and hence you should either learn to face the brunt of your mistakes or deliver properly. The best part about working in a startup is I discovered a lot about myself, I feel good to say that somedays I am just amazed at my power/capacity of handling things, so its not just professional grooming but personally also I feel growing in leaps and bounds. I learnt to extend my boundaries coz that’s where you are expected to prove your niche.

I also learnt to filter out Priority A and Priority B things in every sphere of my life and hence this helps me leading a clutter free and more streamlined life. The entire perspective changes into getting things done rather than expecting things to be done on time. I have become so open to iterations that setbacks/failures just seem like another thing I need to get done with or find a way out to. No doubt it turns out a bit frustrating at times but when I see the end result it feels worth the effort.

Working in a startup taught me  how to keep my words, there are so many things we commit/say/promise on the fly but in this case most of the time if you say something you are expected to educate your entire team how to take it to completion. So in another words I  learnt how to cut down on gibberish banters which otherwise makes us live our life on assumptions and fake promises to thyself. The best part about working in a startup is I found people who are there by choice which I really missed in my college life or my MNC job. So again I learnt how to save myself from helpless and hollow cribs.

In the end I would like to end this post with a quote by Rabindranath Tagore

“Taking shelter in the dead is death itself, and only taking all the risk of life to the fullest extent is living.”

PS: This is the post I wrote for Startup Garage recently. Check out their workshop details and do give it a shot if it interests you. 



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