Startup Job: Are you cut out for 1?

What is a Startup?……

Ahaaa found the answer!! A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty (so much for the literary geniuses :P). Many call it their “Baby”, and to be really honest it’s a “Baby’s Day Out” scenario in a startup, full of bumpy roads and anxiety (even at 2 in the night). As someone rightly said – “Things don’t happen automatically, you have to make them happen. You have to endure and enjoy the pain. Successful entrepreneurs know it instinctively & that’s what makes them tick.”

You need three things to create a successful startup: start with good people (like Raja Sekhar :)), to make something customers actually want (analytics as a field is roaring), and to spend as efficiently as possible (our founders know exactly how to do this). Most startups fail because they fail at one of these. A startup that does all three will probably succeed. So Affine has all these ingredients and is on the right track to succeed. Limited hierarchy and flat organization means the founders and decision makers are close to the troops at all times and when you see your boss sitting beside you doing work, it gives you a sense of belonging and pride (it also means no facebook in office :P).

In the pre-bust era of Dot Com Dominance, it used to be “cool” to say that you worked in a startup. Though much of that romance has worn off, there are still a lot of advantages to working in a startup. Let me point out a few as per my experience:

• An employee has to do a lot of multitasking. He is expected to go out of his comfort zone and take on tasks in which he has no significant experience. The employee gets exposure to various business functions and enhances his core skills with a lot of transferrable skills.

• Think carefully before joining a startup, startups are not for the weak hearted. Your offer letter will off course say 40 hrs/week, but you will be expected to be around day & night. This works to your advantage as you get to learn at a greater pace.

• Startups are best for folks who are comfortable with a degree of flexibility and autonomy. If you are a person who thrives on challenges in life, a startup environment offers it in truckloads.

• It’s important to remember that you are an important asset to the organization. Your boss/HR manager cares about your well-being and overall happiness. If there’s something wrong, they want to help. Don’t be afraid to book a coffee meeting to share your concerns.

Working for a startup is more than just a job – It is a way of life. It will transform everything from the way you think, the way you approach problems and the way you execute stuff.

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Fresher’s Dilemma

The first day on the Job is similar to the first day in a Relationship or your first day at School, for most of the times you don’t have any idea what you are getting into. On the first day, any first day, we’re expected to live by the rules and customs of the culture we’re entering, but we don’t know those rules and customs just yet. You’ve heard it a million times: First impressions are important. It’s human nature to make assumptions about unfamiliar people. In other words, people tend to sleep a little easier when they’ve decided exactly what ‘type’ of person you are. Before I get into the experiences of my first day at Job, let’s go back to the college.

Rewinding a lil, back to the days when I was still at college, it was all about self-discovery, beer, learning (not the academic stuff), beer, making lifelong friends, beer, love in between, beer, planning for the future, boundless energy and beer :). Most of us have been there and done that and yet there is nothing more lyrical in life than the last few days of college. You know that you have a great new life, exams (trust me, the last exams are the least you care for and sometimes it brings a lot of trouble for you) and mark sheets waiting for you at the end of the road. A good job, maybe a great pay and loads of independence that you craved for all these years is awaiting you and yet there is a part of you that is happy to be stuck in college because you know that these joyful carefree days will never come back.

Coming back to 28th May, 2012 i.e. my very 1st day at my very 1st Job, pulse rising, heartbeat taking a skip, getting ready for office, all in a fancy hotel room (provided by the company :)), I was thinking about the last few years of my life and praying to God that the next few should turn out to be a tad more worth living. It’s always nice to have someone you know beside you while entering a danger zone and luckily I had Gulshan (the ever charming boy) to face the music alongside me. As it happens on your 1st date with a girl, we reached office before time (8:50 am to be exact). Nerves settled down with time and we saw new faces entering one after another, everyone looking at us with a sense of amazement as if we just landed from the Bannerghatta National Park. Sessions were the theme of the day, ranging from company policies to analytics, all sorts of bullets fired our way. At 1:30 pm it was time for ‘Fresher’s Welcome Lunch’ bringing smile to our faces. Having lunch on the 1st day with your boss, only start-ups can provide such an opportunity and we relished it. At lunch Vishnu (the proactive dude) stole all the limelight with his college stories :P. At 4:30 pm, sessions ended and that brought the end to a memorable day and one of great significance in our lives.

Thus Affine welcomed us, the very first group of freshers  to its ever-growing family, a family that is set to rise and leap ahead.