When you’re a first-timer, it’s easy to get disillusioned. After all, the startup world is presented as a utopia by the media. In reality, that’s not always the case. Some startups have ineffective leaders, while others are headed nowhere.
Don’t just work in any startup because it’s in the industry that you love. Be extremely picky. Your startup job should be worth it. After all, you deserve to spend 40 hours or more at the right place. However, what kind of startup should you strive for? How do you know you are in the right place?
Here are four signs you are working for the right startup for you:
1. Great leadership
The parting words my first boss told me were, “don’t pick a job, pick a boss.” When I applied to startup world, I changed it up a bit. Now I say, “don’t pick a startup, pick a Founder/CEO.”
When you hear the word startup, you’ll probably imagine Airbnb, Uber, WhatsApp, Amazon and the success stories that come with them. In reality, not all startups succeed. Results from the Startup Genome Report Extra on Premature Scaling found that within 3 years, 92% of startups failed. That’s basically a 9/10 chance that you won’t be keeping your job in the next three years.
One sure way to avoid this is to know your startup is being led by the right kind of CEO/Founder. What I recommend is to check LinkedIn to learn the credentials of your boss. What’s his experience? Did he work for another company or startup in your industry? You can even research on press releases and interviews with your startup’s CEO/Founder. What’s his vision for the startup? What is he doing to reach his vision? You’ll know you are with the right leader, when he has logical plans on how to make the impossible possible.
If you are in doubt about the startup you are working for, then observe your boss. Does he listen to the suggestions of his colleagues? Is he evaluating every success/failure of your startup? Is your team consistently motivated to contribute their ideas in his meetings? You know you’ve hit the jackpot, when you have a founder or CEO who listens and acts.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
2. Collaborative environment
A little competition is a good thing, but too much may be harmful for you in the long run. After all, it’s a lot more fulfilling to work together to solve problems, compared to blaming or outdoing each other. Just imagine if you are working with colleagues who are hell-bent on outshining each other.
You’ll focus a lot more on how you are doing, compared to how your startup is progressing. So, you know you are in the right startup when there’s a fun and collaborative environment. When you are in doubt, you can observe your own team. Let’s say you are in a meeting. Your team is looking for ways to market your startup.
Is everyone contributing their ideas and listening to the ideas of others? Are your co-workers evaluating your suggestions? You can rest assured when there are intelligent and insightful conversations.
3. Flexibility and freedom
In corporate jobs, you’ll have to go by the 9 to 5 rule. No absences allowed. This means that if you have a family emergency or if you need a break, you can’t just leave. Other times you are forced to do overtime. It can get very frustrating once your schedule revolves around your job. Fortunately, in the right startup this is never an issue.
It’s not such a big deal if you are not in the office. It’s also not a big deal if you are not working 8 hours straight. As long as you’ve finished your assigned tasks, your colleagues will cut you some slack. That’s because the right startups understand that a bit of time and freedom can raise your productivity.
4. Growth opportunities
At the right startup, you are not tied to a strict job description. Either your boss might make you write your own job description, or you might have the initiative to try something new. Who knows? A startup environment is often so fast-paced that in the right startup, you are forced to learn new skills.
Sure, it’s a lot more comfortable to do the tasks that you are actually good at and have no chance in screwing up. However, it’s a lot more fulfilling to keep learning on the job. Not only is it challenging, but you also gain experiences that can enhance your CV. Let’s say you are marketer who’s a complete newbie in graphic design.
I know it’s difficult when you are asked to design promotional materials. You’ll probably screw up the first few times. If you are working in a big corporation, then an artist will most likely takeover. In the right startup, you’ll be encouraged to keep designing as long as you have the initiative.
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning” – Benjamin Franklin
In fact, in successful startups everyone’s busy learning the latest trends and updating their skills. To catch up, you’ll have to take tons of opportunities or you might have to create them on your own. Therefore, the next time your colleagues encourage you to learn or apply your knowledge on future trends, you know your job is worth it.
The startup world is pretty unstable, so you need the right signs to assure you that you are working for the right one. Is your startup job helping you grow? Or is it pulling you down with it? Hopefully, these signs will let you know.
What tips do you have for other people to figure out if they are working for the right startup? Leave your thoughts below!
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Control Your Environment
Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.
You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.
Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.
Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language.
Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.
Writing Is The Answer
If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly.
Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.
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It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.
The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.
Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently.
This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.
The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process.
A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few.
Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!
Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson.
Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!
Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!
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