Startup Life Made Me Believe In Innovation Again
By Alexandria Petigna
Location: Kansas City Office
“They can’t pay me enough to stay…”
“I don’t feel like I’m really making an impact…”
“It’s just not worth it anymore…”
“I don’t feel rewarded…”
“Its stifling my soul, I just don’t feel passionate anymore …”
Yet despite all my talk about my previous position, I really was not doing much of anything to make a difference in my situation. Sure, every few weeks I would spend a lazy Sunday evening perusing LinkedIn for job postings, but actually making the change — that was only a distant concept — certainly not something that was happening right here, right now. Then I got a message on my profile that looked a little something like this:
It was a glorious too-good-to-be-true opportunity to do something completely different. Here was my chance: work for a mobile-first startup called SafetyCulture and I thought, “Hmm…I wonder what this is all about?”
That was the beginning and then the logical side kicked in and the researching began.
Why do they do what they do? SafetyCulture’s goal is for everyone to have access to the best mobile safety management systems. We’re working around the clock to help workers return safely to their families.
So then I downloaded the app, tried it out, and (just as our customers do) fell in love with the product. Easy to use, easy to create, easy to implement. Coming from a tech/consulting background in the heavily regulated industry of healthcare there’s honestly nothing better. At my former position I spent one of my three years learning the basics of the product, another 6 months learning the industry and the last 2 and half years stumbling through an end user experience that I barely understood — and I was supposed to be the EXPERT.
Not only that but I was constantly battling the tight wire balancing act of client satisfaction with contract obligations and product limitations. Specifically, this was a product where changes were so difficult to make that even small changes with “big wins” could take months or even years to be released, and then the implementation time — another year or so (depending on the scope of the project). The weight of making promises I could never keep to my clients was stifling and took its toll on my morale. Three years of jumping through endless hoops, logging and re-logging issues and having meetings about the need to have another meeting left me ragged and feeling down on the whole idea of innovation. Was it something that ever actually happened, or was it truly an abstract concept left to die in the halls of my liberal arts university?
SafetyCulture, in true startup form, implements customer requests and product upgrades every week. We’ve got an agile team that adjusts quickly and a product team that logs customer feedback religiously, to be used for developing the product roadmap.
When it really came down to it, although I never wanted to admit it, I WAS actually nervous to leave the cushy comfort of my bland corporate job. Over the course of 3 years I had become accustomed to the mundane stability of a multimillion-dollar corporation. The idea that the “big man” had my back was supported by my standard bi-weekly pay checks. Those same pay checks never seemed to change how I felt about my career — bored and stymied. Significantly challenged only through means of mental overload more so than originality and encouragement to “color outside the lines”.
My first week at the company was a whirlwind — I flew to Australia, sat in with the development teams and helped participate in formulating a company-wide roadmap for taking SafetyCulture to the next level. The week culminated in my participation in the infamous 24-hour hack-a-thon known as “ShipIt”. At ShipIt teams compete to produce, test and implement a new feature to the product all ending with a business pitch to the company for the winner.
So I took a leap of faith and joined the SafetyCulture team because I really did not have anything to lose, but everything to gain. I needed change so badly I could taste it and I needed to end my apathetic streak to find passion in my work-life again. What I saw in SafetyCulture was the chance to really learn the nitty-gritty of the industry. To get my hands wet, and actually try out those little ideas I’ve always wanted to experiment with. So the happy ending we were all looking for, startup life has helped me believe in that previously-bleak, now bright star called innovation once more!
If you’re interested in adding some meaning to your own career, we’d love to hear from you. Check out our open positions.
Originally published at blog.safetyculture.com on October 12, 2016.