STARTUP

9 Lessons Millennials Can Learn From Working For Start-ups

Working for a start-up is a great way to grow not only as a professional but also as a young adult

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BY Jared Carl Millan - 24 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

For millennials who are trying to find their footing in this world, working for a start-up is a great way to grow not only as a professional but also as a young adult. Although important lessons do abound wherever one is, there are things one can only acquire by exposure to the environment inherent in the culture of start-ups.

Here are nine of them.

1. Bravery

Whether you’re building your own start-up or working for one, it takes guts to be able to function in such a volatile environment where job security is basically nonexistent. To work for a start-up is to trust your gut at every turn—a life skill that you must harness and master early on.

2. Failure

It’s a necessary, and even inevitable, part of the start-up industry. For most of our lives, we are programmed to succeed and prosper. After all, who doesn’t want to? In the process, we’ve come to dread and even avoid failure, but failure can be a good thing. It can drive you to work harder, push further. Exposure to failure teaches you how to fail and fail better, and that failure is a necessary ingredient to success.

3. Efficiency

Working fast is key. “Start-up culture is so fast paced,” said Beatriz Gabuya, a 25-year-old sales and marketing associate for Singaporean start-up Tickled Media. “There’s a constant need to keep up with the changes happening within the company and industry you’re in, so you have to learn how to efficiently do your work.”

4. Endurance

Not only are you forced to work long hours, but start-ups also push you to your limits—both physically and mentally. You will learn the value of hard work and diligence and apply it in every facet of your life.

5. Autonomy

Working for start-ups gives you freedom and flexibility, but with those things also come autonomy. Most often than not, you are left to your own devices. You learn early on not only to get out of that restrictive box you’ve been caged in but to get rid of it altogether. There’s no spoon-feeding in such a culture. You’re expected to do your job and be held accountable for it.

6. People skills

Networking is a crucial component especially when it comes to start-ups, and through it, you learn how to interact with people with various backgrounds and personalities. Not only that, building a network also opens up doors and opportunities in your future.

7. Extracurricular skills

Working for a start-up means you must put on many hats, become a jack-of-all-trades, so to speak. Richard Hanson, CEO for Hong Kong start-up Jobable advises millennials: “Use your early years to try different companies and roles, navigating towards something you enjoy doing and can become master of that domain. That way, when it comes to compensation being a more pressing concern, you have an expertise and value attached to yourself.”

8. Passion

If there’s one thing that fuels all start-ups, it is passion. Start-ups can teach millennials an important lesson: If you’re passionate about something and believe wholeheartedly in it, you should pull out all the stops to make it happen.

9. Tolerance

You’re forced to interact with your colleagues more closely than in a traditional workplace. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is about people, realizing that the company is the people,” says Ingrid Chung, public relations manager of Hong Kong start-up Snapask. “We have had tougher days through which we have come to understand the difficulty but necessity in aligning values of the team.”