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Author:   |   Latest post: Wed, 6 Nov 2019, 5:00 PM


How My Work In Start-Up Firm Is Different From My Other Corporate Roles

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As some of you might know, I had to reverse my sabbatical plan and return back to work due to some circumstances back home.

I've completed the first full week of my new role in the startup firm so I thought I put down some thoughts on how is it different from my other corporate roles in the past.

Location & Working Environment

The office is in the co-working space in one of the malls in the Central area so it is something very refreshing to me.

In the past when I was working for my corporate roles, my desk is a squarish cubicle cells so to have something different is a nice scenery change.

The co-working space is shared amongst the many start-up firms they have there so the environment is very vibrant and lively and there's this sense of positive attitude that spreads across everyone.

Most of the meeting rooms are really nice and there are often events (and food) that you can grab or attend while you're there.

They also have a lot of resting area, a nice pantry and a ping pong, football and golf area to do some light exercise, not to mention the countless hunks and syt babes walking past your desk everyday.

No complaints about that.

Casual Dressing Style

For 13 years, I've been dressing up in a corporate style of long shirt and black pants.

In my big 4 days, I even had to wear a tie in the office even when not meeting clients which I thought was rather silly.

At some points, I was rather exhausted with all the corporate dressing requirements because I just felt it took up a lot of my energy to consume.

The dressing style here is casual, which means technically everyday t shirt and jeans will be good to go.

I find my energy level is higher when I am comfortable wearing what I like to start the day with.

Colleagues and Boss

The colleagues are a bunch of pretty fun people but a pity some of them are about to leave the organization soon.

I think they might be looking to hire some operations lead and/or key account sales as replacement. If you are interested to apply, you can always ping me to check.

It appears that some, if not most of them cannot get along well with the CEO and while on my first week I have not experienced something in a bad way, I'd be keeping my toes up on that.

The CEO is 27 years young, and is someone who comes from Mckinsey background so you know the style is fast, aggressive and direct to the point. I think that's what most people who's been working in start-up cannot relate to. For me, I've experienced a lot of such bosses in the corporate role so maybe my tolerance level could be higher.

I think the key here is to manage expectations. 

On my first week, I asked him exactly the kind of information he wants me to update him on a weekly basis so I think I've set the tone and expectations right amongst us to work with.

I am 34 years old this year, which means I am by far the oldest in the company.

The average age of the workforce is only about 28 years old so that speaks volume how lao I am today.

Role & Work

I'm heading the Finance side, but being a start up you literally have to do a lot of things on your own.

This is different from my other roles in the past where I have people under me who I can delegate the work to.

I do have an account assistant which is sitting in the Jakarta office so it will be long distance relationship and some things are difficult to delegate due to the proximity.

There's a lot of outsourcing to third party such as tax accounts and payroll so the roles involve a lot of liaising with third party.

One of the main key roles is to manage the management accounts and then have it present to the parent group and key investors every quarter to let them know where we are on the expansion.

This will be critical because the firm depends on key investors' funding to survive.

Unlike my other roles in the past where there are multiple layers of hierarchy, decisions on this one are made short and sweet because the hierarchy is lean.

Final Thoughts

My overall impression on the first week is rather good.

It could be because of the different working environment, roles or dressing attire which makes it refreshing to me. Having many good looking boys and girls around you doesn't hurt the eyes and minds either.

Being a value investor for so long on the personal front, I have also been overly cautious to invest in such companies whenever the accounts don't look good BUT I think it might not be always the case.

Entering into this different world of domain changes my perspectives of looking into companies differently on this and I think this might the biggest takeaway at the moment.

I get the feeling that for graduates who start working in a start-up firm, it will be very difficult for them to move to a traditional corporate role because I doubt a lot could adapt to the grinding of the expectations. It seems like it is easier to adapt moving from a corporate cubicle to a free working space where you can move around.

Being in a start-up firm however, means your job is likely to be less stable than working for MNCs so that is also something to take into account. 

Does anyone has any experience to share on your account the difference between working for start-up vs corporate firms?

Thanks for reading.

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