General Assembly and Escape the City organised a joint class this morning titled “Landing a job at a startup”. I signed up because I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and understand a bit better how the London job market ticks.
It was well worth getting up early and making my way through the freezing cold! Matt from GA and Adele from Escape shared their experiences of how they landed their jobs with two great startups in London. They were very honest about it, saying that not everyone is made for working in that environment as it is not 9 to 5 and you have to live with the uncertainty whether you will still have your job in a year’s time. On the other hand working for a startup is a great chance to apply and develop a broad portfolio of skills.
I’m not sure myself if I would be prepared to commit myself to a role as much, but then it probably entirely depends on the business. When you’re passionate about something work is actually fun, isn’t it?
I found Matt’s advice to think it through and verbalise what you actually want was extremely important. Build a network, talk to people about where you want to get and most of them will be more than happy to help. I’ve made that experience myself about two years ago when I started telling people that I wanted to move to the UK. Out of the blue this colleague of mine received a phone call from a university friend who worked for a recruitment company in Brighton, and they were hiring a German speaking consultant. She passed on my details and a couple of weeks later I was moving to England.
Adele also pointed out that it takes time to develop an understanding of what it is that you really want to do, which I think is a very important point. Not thinking about who you are and what you want often seems somehow easier than challenging yourself and getting out of the comfort zone – although the latter is more likely to make you happy. And if things are not going the right way or are seemingly not developing at all this is obviously very frustrating. However, I am convinced that being patient and at the same time persistent will pay off at the end.
Finally, it’s great to meet interesting people, which usually happens at events like this. Even if I’m not going to apply with a startup in London, at least I’ll have a few drinks with new friends this Saturday evening.