5 lessons I’ve learned from working at a startup | Ladders

Should you work at a startup?

5 lessons I’ve learned from working at a startup

Should you work at a startup? Here’s what to expect during your first year in the startup world.

March 10, 2015 was my one-year anniversary at WeWork, a company that equips businesses with beautiful shared office spaces around the world.

I rejoined a team after almost one year of freelancing, waiting for the right opportunity to dive into another job role. Immediately after my casual (but still, two-hour) interview, I knew: this was it.

Over the last twelve months, I’ve learned more than I can boil down into five points. But I believe these lessons speak to startup culture, and the amazing opportunities such an environment presents.

Be ready for anything

Here more than anywhere; now more than ever. I’m surrounded with more opportunity than I’d ever thought I’d find, and with opportunity comes spontaneity. Be ready to change directions and adapt ideas. Resiliency is my best friend.

New ideas can be frustrating

When you’re part of something so new and innovative, some of the foundation is built and some doesn’t exist yet, either because you didn’t need it yesterday or because you’ve been skirting the rules to make it this far.

I’ve gotten involved in projects where we charted new territory, drew up a roadmap, traveled it – and then subsequently decided to scrap it and start over. When you find an idea that works, remember that just because it does now doesn’t mean it will next week, or next month. Play with different methods; welcome change. The startup world is ever-evolving.

You’re something bigger

I’ve become accustomed to the overwhelming sense that I’m part of something bigger than my day-to-day life. There’s a tangible energy in the air that motivates you to get through the late nights staring at a glowing computer screen in New York, when you have an early-morning phone call with London.

You’ll make friends

It’s impossible not to when surrounded by other young, passionate people. As WeWork grows, I feel like I’m gaining friends around the world. And those of us living in the same city spend time together even when we don’t have to, like for weekend work sessions.

Get ready to drink. A lot

As intense and taxing as the days can be, startups party hard – thanks to WeWork, my first summer camp experience was at age 25! I’ve celebrated birthdays, holidays, new hires, new cities … Then again, what should’ve I expected from a place known for kegs in every kitchen?!