What is it like working at a Start-Up?

The only person who can change where you are right now is you.

Welcome to the first of this blog series to what it is like for me, Jagneel Bhullar, to work with a start-up who specialise in adoption and change management of Microsoft’s Office 365.

We will go back to my previous role as an account manager within a large enterprise where I was valued as one of the many cogs to help bring revenue into the business. As time went on there, I was feeling more and more dissatisfied with the ways I can make a difference within the company. I had little power to make changes and what I could do were merely micro-adjustments to my workflow. This feeling of unfulfillment fuelled my interest in marketing.

Fast forward nine months and I took a very reasonably priced online digital marketing course, started up my own clothing line by applying what I learnt and got accepted onto an apprenticeship, with my work placement being at Changing Social. The company was solely being run by a young entrepreneur, only four years older than myself, with a history working at Microsoft and Yammer. I was the first employee to be officially hired by him and although I was only an apprentice with little experience within a professional marketing role, I was assigned to be his marketing manager.

Life at Changing Social, one month on…

I thought I knew what it was like to be an entrepreneur, with my clothing line and all, but after seeing how my boss worked, I knew that it takes a hell of a lot more to achieve those dreams if they are big. I forget I’m only a few years behind him! He is committed and believes in ensuring trust to the people he works with. This trust and work ethic can all be embodied to a single term that makes my work life fulfilling: Responsibility.

My role within this start-up has been engaging, fast-paced, stimulating and by far a positive, vital learning experience. The opportunity of managing so many aspects of the business really gives you a sense that you are part of the bigger picture and not a cog but an engine that pushes the business forward. This level of responsibly and experience so early on can only be attained within a start-up or small sized business. The business size means me and my boss work closely together. We discuss important aspects about the business, strategise together on various approaches and obviously have a little joke around from time to time. If I don’t end up with Changing Social in future, I know that my experience has fast forwarded my professional career five, maybe even more years in terms of what potential roles I am eligible for. This is because my role showcases a high level of competency and it is competency that is the basis of whether you are even considered for a high-level position.  

My advice to you

If you are unhappy at your workplace and deep inside know that it is not the right place for you, then I advise on focusing on what makes you feel that way specifically. Research what job roles out there can plug these gaps. fulfil your desires and then take the next appropriate steps. If you require more knowledge in the field, then I recommend Udemy. It pretty much has a course on anything you want, all at very reasonable prices and most be backed up by in-depth reviews. The next step is the most tricky, which is building relevant experience.

I started my own clothing line because I had the resources to do so. I also knew that it would greatly improve my chances of getting a role in marketing if I took care of all its marketing requirements. Doing something in your free time not only shows passion and drive to your next potential employer but also passively generates transferable skills to any workplace, such as organisation, creativity, management and work ethic. You don’t have to start a company but building a portfolio of relevant experience will only result in success.

Lastly, you got to prepare for sacrifice. Being on an apprenticeship wage is not easy, especially after earning a professional salary beforehand. However, I know that I will be looked after at my company and always thinking of the long-term results, which drives my ambition to do well.

So there you have it. One month in and I really feel I made the right decision in switching career paths. It was hard work but it was made easy because I knew that it would be the best thing for myself to do. Thank you for taking the time to read and I will keep you updated in future and hopefully provide some useful advice!

Jagneel Bhullar - Marketing Manager, Changing Social.

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