The Balance between Startup, Relationship and Your Own Time: Chapter 1

This is not an article or blog that is written for the purpose of coaching, teaching or inspiring anyone. Whereas, this article is simply more of a mirror for me to reflect on myself of who I really am, what I did and where I want to be after joining my first startup couple of months ago.

First of all, my first taste of startup life

I am not the type of guy with a lot experience in hand since I literally just came out of university 2 years ago. After graduating from university, first thought of course was to go to any kind of big firms to start my successful career life. At least that was what I was dreaming of. Being a very typical fresh graduate, I went into a big accounting firm as a Sales Executive with a little help from connections and starting to hope I could be big one day, if I work hard enough. However, things and my thoughts were starting to change just a few months after I went in. Being in a big firm is not entirely what I originally thought it would be like. Policies, people, bureaucracy in both the culture and structure of company restricted people to do stuff especially for bright people to execute their forward thinking ideas. Day in day out, it turned out that all employees were just trying to do just enough or try to not Fxxk things up. Quickly I realised this was not the thing I was looking for and I feel at such a young age, I was not learning or failing enough. There were so much more that I hoped to experience and picked up. Hence, after a year I said goodbye to the big account firm and joined one of the startups that I met at a conference before which I solely believed into their ideas and the expertise of the founders. And that was where it all began, the first chapter of the startup life.

Although the founder has warned me before already about how hard it could be working at a startup which it may looked fun on the outside with people doing what they love or passionate about, but in the inside, things are entirely different. She stated: “Things will be throwing right at your face which you either have to man up, learn quick and get it done or cry like a baby in the corner. There is no Mr or Mrs nice in the company trying to teach you everything you need to know, you either learn it yourself, adapt to the pace and workload or leave.” She made that clear enough before hiring me and when it all started, she was telling exactly the truth. Having no structure and official hierarchy in the company, everyone can shout at each other on why things are not done or not being one well enough, although mostly it was our CEO who did this. So there I was being a newbie getting shouted at everyday with more and more responsibilities and work coming right at me at the same time. In a small company especially startup means one role does not mean one role at all. There is no specialisation at work. One role can be multi roles. You can be PR, Marketer, Business Development, Project Manager, Data Analyst or even Toilet Cleaner in a week. With that meaning, you got a shit tone of stuff that you had no idea about but you need to get them done ASAP since everything is Urgent in the eyes of our CEO. Being in a small company might be better whereas in a startup, pace is everything. I can compare this situation or condition to be something similar as being trapped in a hot, high pressured and solid cooking pot that you either go through it to become awesome, or you quit half way and become half cooked. As a person, I do not prefer quitting so I tried to do my best on everything that is thrown at me. I may not be the smartest, most detailed or creative guy on earth, but I do not mind failing and trying again. Bit by bit I believe I can eventually picked up the skills if I persist.

So after 4 tough months, I am still here in the startup and tarting to get used to the intense workload and pressure which I feel I am getting things done quicker. But also at the same time, I feel my passion has been reduced and I start to feel working hard by listening to orders from boss can’t help me to grow to what I want to be. Listening to orders is easy, making decision is difficult. I mean yes, throughout these few months I still learn a lot from working at a startup such as experiencing product development, how a startup is ran, how to negotiate , how to push for more, how to be more demanding and not satisfied. But I think it is time for me to reflect back to myself and see what I need to do from tomorrow on so I can be a better thinker, decision maker as well as leader. It starts to feel everyday I am just doing repetition tasks again and listen to whatever boss tells me to. I need to start thinking. Thinking what’s best for the company, how to further grow the company and spend more time outside of office to equip myself with skills that can grow the company. Just after a quick thought, here I am now setting a few things that I hope I can start doing to improve both my work and skills which one day hopefully become a founder who everyone can trust and believe into.

A few targets in the coming month

  • Learn the basic of FB, Google and other digital marketing skills
  • Really read and analyse all data we have. Understand our situation and find out how to improve
  • Details and standard! Raise them and do not let them drop because of anything. Not time, people or environment should affect your desire of quality.
  • Pick up sales skills.

End of chapter 1

Chapter 2: Having a girlfriend in my startup life TBC