Recently I took what I would consider my first ever grown up job. Technically all jobs are for grown ups – we don’t enforce child labour here in Ireland but what I mean is a post college student, pre-mortgage kind of grown up job.
Anyway I wanted to talk a little bit about that journey in itself and how it lead me to taking a role within a start up company. I would consider myself in the very early stages of this journey but I find I am already learning so much about a graduates opportunity within a start up that I wanted to share a piece on it.
So after a gruelling but rewarding year obtaining my Masters I came to a point in the road where the job hunt was in full swing. Along came the interview process – which in itself was a huge learning curve and a journey I would recommend every graduate to grasp with an open mind.
Within this process I sat down with a variety of established individuals from an array of industries, and quickly a few things became apparent. Firstly I became a lot more aware of my own value – I suppose it’s only when you’re faced with having to sell yourself you realise how much (or I suppose in some cases how little) you’re worth. Secondly, I began to gauge a lot from those interviewing me, as to perhaps how much they themselves were worth – after all they too had to sell the company and the role to me. They wore the hat of brand ambassador and they essentially told more about the company and roles through their own aura than any company ‘about page’ I’ve ever read. The level or lack of passion for the company was often the first thing I noted and of course raised an immediate flag as to how suitable I would be for this company. In some cases it was immediately apparent that this person was head over heals for this company they ate, slept and breathed this company, in other cases their passion was masked with a layer of weathered enthusiasm.
After a string of interviews with companies I was interested in I was fortunate enough to find myself sitting at a table with a couple of job offers on it. The opportunities to work within similar roles for successful corporate companies and small start ups sat in front of me and I had a choice to make. Twenty four, a sizeable chunk of travelling under my belt and a Masters of Science in Digital Marketing on my lap. Experience was my next endeavour and I knew I needed it to be significant. Many meanings lace that term, how significant is your experience? Well it depends on who you ask.
I was well aware of the advantage a well known corporate company could offer me, particularly when considering how substantial the role would look upon my LinkedIn page, further incorporating the connections and network that same company could supply me I had to ask – Was that the experience I needed? Would it serve me best? Finding myself as a graduate twice over the last few years I’m well aware of the internal struggle between stability and opportunity. We as graduates have this overwhelming urge to attach to something stable, often we suppress some creativity, passion or dream with the thought that somewhere down the line we will find the opportunity to follow those things again.
By no means am I undermining those who have taken roles within corporations and larger businesses, certainly not. I am however stressing the importance of consideration as a graduate when looking to advance your career. The stability, structure and maybe even comfort to be found within a larger corporation is nothing to be scoffed at as a well capable graduate but the opportunity for responsibility, ownership and uncapped growth at this stage in your career is also something every graduate should want to obtain. So how is the choice made?
It comes down to what drives you. I’ve never been motivated by an individual product or brand, I’ve no affiliation to work within one sector over another, and I’ve no attachment to any particular industry. So what drives me? Within my entire work ethic I have always been driven by a challenge. I have always sought solace in goals and achieving a certain standard. I am aware that challenges are what make larger companies but at the age of then 24 I had to consider would the challenges I face every day as one of 500 people excite, thrill and grow me as much as working within a company that challenges me to make the most out of it.
I was lucky enough to find a start up I believed in, a start up with like-minded people who wanted me to be as every bit invested in the growth of the company as they were (not financially of course) but that challenge to me has and will fuel my drive for the coming years.
Last week I met with my classmates and speaking with them and discussing our jobs and roles concreted my opinion that a start up is where I am meant to be right now, I thrive under the responsibility and relish the challenge of making this start up work and being an integral part of how it grows. That’s not for everybody and that’s no problem but its worth the consideration.