Join a startup at least once in your life.

That’s it. Three months of corporate working life is enough for me.”

That was me two and a half years ago, working in one of the largest telecommunication company in Southeast Asia.

Yes I know, it’s only three months. It’s too fast to quit a job. You are not even past your probation period. Come on, give yourself a little more time, perhaps you have not adapted to the working environment yet.

However, that wasn’t the case for me. I knew I had to make a decision.

I quit.

My family had no objections. But I knew they were eagerly waiting for my next move.

I wanted something a little more challenging. Something that doesn’t require me to sit in the office for 10 hours. Something that allows me to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve been too safe my entire life, it’s time for me to step out and take risks.

Enter startup.

Two weeks after I quit my job, I was offered a position in a startup company. The offer was attractive to me because it allows me to travel, though the salary was pathetic. I was naive. I had no idea what kind of shit I was about to get into. Also, it wasn’t the prettiest option in the eyes of my family and friends, but hack it, deep down I knew that was what I wanted.

I became employee number 6.

I started my first day of work in Beijing. I stayed there for four months trying to expand our product into the mainland market. It was tough, and it wasn’t too long before my team decided that we should focus on our key markets instead.

My next 16 months were spent travelling around S.E.A. It was then I realised that S.E.A is totally fragmented. I learned to embrace different work cultures. Something that I wouldn’t have imagined myself doing in the past.

In the last 10 months, I spent my time mostly in Japan managing the new office.

It has been three years since I started on the startup journey. Did I regret making the decision to join a startup? No.

I am not a millionaire and I am nowhere near becoming one. But it has been non-stop hits for me everyday. I am not sure if working anywhere else would have given me such experience and growth.

Take it with a pinch of salt, but below are five reasons why I think you should join a startup at least once in your life.

  1. You are forced to watch over your finance. Working in a startup company guarantees you fun, stress, excitement, challenges and almost everything except a good salary. You have to handle your finances carefully and make sure you don’t burst your budget before the end of the month. That is the time you master the art of saving money.
  2. Things move really fast. No red tape. Ask anyone who works in a startup, they will tell you that speed and efficiency is key. I’m sure there are hierarchy within the startup, but not bureaucracy. This means that ideas and feedback move much faster. You get a chance to execute a project and remain a key part of it.
  3. A fun working environment.Culture. I believe that most startups have a fun working environment. No dress code policy, bringing your pet to the office, frequent team gatherings, game consoles in the break room and many more. I’m pretty sure this is something that most huge corporate companies are lacking.
  4. You learn, learn and learn. While working in a startup, most likely you get to learn everything about the company. You might get a chance to learn about the different functions of the company and acquire different skill sets. As most of the time you are on the ground making things happen, the room for growth is huge.
  5. A chance to solve a real problem and create legacy. Out of 10 startups, 11 fail. But who cares? The adrenaline to build a product from scratch and provide real value to people is just too exciting! You only live your life once, make the full use of it.

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” — Warren G. Tracy’s student

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