Majoring in English and Political Science, I never expected to carve out a career in tech. Sitting in my American Literature classes, I had no idea where I’d actually end up (the dilemma of most Arts majors). So when I ended up at a tech startup two years ago, I was pretty excited!
Of course, the company has grown considerably since then and my own role has evolved, too. I almost can’t imagine what else I’d be doing. But the culture and environment has remained largely the same. Even now when the topic of work comes up, I often find myself rattling off what I love about my job and the space that I’m in. I also realize I’m usually describing things that you’d only expect to find in a startup environment, and not anywhere else.
In fact, according to a study we did, it turns out tech companies do have the best company culture across the board. Part of the reason could be how tech companies often start, and the rate they grow at. Tech companies like Instacar, Slack, Stripe all started small and within a few years were dominating their respective industries. Yet, the engaging culture that helped bring together quality talent and dedicated staff, persisted.
You might be picturing an office with foosball tables, couches, productivity pods, dogs and scooters. While those things are pretty awesome to have, tech startup life doesn’t need to get that elaborate. I’ve found that a few simple perks of my job are what have enabled me to live a balanced, fulfilling life.
That’s why I want to share what life at a tech startup has been like for me, and what you could expect (or look for)! If you’re yet to enter the workforce, or exploring a career-trajectory change, consider the tech space.
Naturally, no two tech companies are ever the same, but here are three things I’ve grown to love about working at a tech startup:
- Flexible work arrangements
- Lots of growth
- Increasing diversity
These perks have enabled me to maintain a healthy work-life balance, define my own career path, and experience an inclusive, supportive space.
Flexible Work Arrangements
Economies have been transformed by the rising popularity of remote work. Some work at companies in different cities or countries from the comfort of their own home. Others work remotely to boost their own productivity or accommodate their personal schedule. On top of working remotely, having the freedom to work when you want to work also makes a big difference.
I’ve found the freedom to work remotely, or start my day earlier (or later) has been super helpful. I feel like I have way more control over my day-to-day. I can keep up with my swimming sessions, maintain my gym routine, make my doctor’s appointments, accept big deliveries and more.
I don’t hurt my productivity. I don’t need to make excuses or explain things to my boss. I also don’t feel like I’m ever sacrificing things that are important to me for the sake of work. And that’s helped me really enjoy my work and focus on it.
When I chat with friends of mine that are marketers or developers at tech startups, I hear much of the same. People typically get to the office at a time reasonable to them and leave whenever they’re done for the day. Or they work from a coffee shop just for a change of scenery. They’re always available for team meetings in person, but otherwise work in the manner that suits them best.
This level of freedom allows people to better manage their personal lives so they can focus on work, free of stress, anxiety and other distractions. They can drop their kids off at school, hit the gym, keep up with an online course, visit the doctor, take care of a relative, and more without having to worry or stress about their job.
A happy employee, after all, is a productive one.
Lots of Growth
I didn’t know a whole lot about marketing when I first started at Venngage. I had just joined as a copywriter (with no idea for how long). Even at 20 employees, I was provided with an effective onboarding process – I was shown the basics of company processes, content marketing, SEO and more.
In a short bit of time, I learned quite a lot about growth marketing for small businesses – particularly online businesses. But that was just the start of it.
There was plenty to do, especially when a company is growing aggressively. My manager saw what had to get done, what I was capable of doing, and where I’d need to be to really contribute. I learned how to use different marketing tools – email marketing software, handy SEO tools, analytics tools, neat browser extensions, and plenty more.
Pretty soon, I was chugging along. I was developing my own network of marketers in different spaces, collaborating with other brands on content, and establishing myself as an authoritative writer.
This all came together for two reasons. First, when I started, my role was somewhat small and where I’d have the biggest impact was not entirely decided. So there was a lot of room to grow, and the direction my growth took was up to me. If I had a background in design, UX, SEO, coding or anything else – I would have had plenty of other suitable opportunities. So as I put the skills that I did have to use (communications and writing), my career path became clearer. The skills I needed to nurture, and the skills I needed to acquire all fell into place.
Then, as I continued to grow, I was consistently recognized and rewarded for it. After all, the company was growing rapidly with this small team making significant gains by the quarter. My role expanded, I took on more responsibilities, and my work gained depth. And that’s normal at a tech startup – there are so many things that need to happen, and not many people to do it all.
That means you’ve got plenty of opportunities to contribute in a way that suits you.
Gains in Diversity
If there is one thing tech isn’t particularly known for, is its diversity. It has never been the space that you’d expect to see various people of color or women involved. Wired’s report on tech diversity points out that little has changed in the past five years regarding the number of black and Latinx technical staff. However, there has been growth in the amount of women working in tech spaces.
Venngage recently put together an inspiring round-up post of women in tech, who all shared their experiences with working in tech. It’s a wonderful, inspiring of content because so many women acknowledge the challenge of entering and working in such a male-dominant space. But it also highlights these women have overcome societal obstacles, invisible barriers, and grown proud of their work and contributions. It’s inevitable that women who are happy in tech will only inspire more women to join the tech space.
I’m pretty proud that at Venngage, the majority of our leadership team is made up of women who are also people of color! Sure we’re unique in that regard, but it’s certainly the direction that tech is moving in.
So how do you feel about working in a tech startup, now? If you’re super happy about your company’s culture (doesn’t have to be tech), then share what it’s like! I’d love to hear what makes you proud of the brand you work for.