Life at a Start Up


It is always a dodgy position when your joining date is 1st April because you don’t know when your new boss will jump out from the blue and cry out “April Fool! We were just joking; you are actually still without a job.” Nevertheless there are some things that aren’t in our hand so let be it and more over when it is a start-up you got to leave some things best left to imagination.

But the biggest doubt in my mind was what to wear on first day of my internship. A formal wear might look to formal in a start up setting and a casual might look too casual. As far as first impression thing goes, both were not very flattering situations. So after much deliberation of exactly 4 minutes and 14 seconds I chose a semi casual look to start my 2 month internship.

I am not new to jobbing if that’s what is in your mind but my last company was one of the behemoth of its industry so I had some pretty solid doubts regarding the work culture shocks. In an established company the processes are supreme while in a start-up the processes tend to be flexible as long as the flexibility gives results.

So with all the excitement, doubts and so much other chemical reactions in my mind I reached the office of Giftxoxo on a Fool’s Day.

The time was 9:35 am and the office was deserted, hardly 2 or 3 people. Soon more interns joined me, all in all 10 more. Sitting on whatever we got our hands on, the silence was still deafening and people were trying to avoid eye contacts, murmuring within their own groups about what they thought about the office and what they got. The best thing was they were all in formals and I cursed the decision of not going with formals on my first day.

Among my curses, Kushal, one of the co-founders, arrived and looked surprised at the sudden increase in the number of the employees in his company. After a quick introduction about himself he cleared a room for us to sit, asking some of his teammates to shift base. Then he sat with us for a session that begun with a small intro and ended with statements like relax and feel at home which was literally true because the office was in a 2 BHK apartment.

Now don’t be surprised because if you know about start-ups then you must have heard about Garage Start-ups. In India though, garage is still a luxury so most of the start-ups commence from 2 BHK apartments. The reasons can be attributed to the high cost of capital required in renting a commercial space as compared to an apartment, among the most prominent ones.

Anyways coming back to my first day, Kushal told us that Manoj, another co-founder will brief us about our projects and he has to leave for a meeting.

Exit Kushal, Enter Manoj.

Now when you look at Manoj at first, it is very unlikely that you will find any expression that will say that — I am the boss. What you will find is a very mild mannered person who when speaks makes you feel like his voice is more suited to a trained singer. Trust me, that mild he is but when he starts speaking the perceptions change very quickly. When he explained about his company and the culture, I found him as a person with very clear objectives and what he wanted us to take up from Day 1.

Now in many companies, interns are just visiting employees, if the intern is not alert it is very likely that he will pass his time in cafeteria over the two months and might be cooking stories about what he thinks looks good on his CV. It is also very unlikely that you will see your mentor ever during your internship.

Very few companies have a clear cut vision about what entails in an internship and how they should engage interns but when you get your project on the first day itself, then you got to be on your feet sooner than expected. And that’s what happened when by the end of the day I was working with Ramu on a deliverable that was on priority.

Now how many times you are going to get that kind of experience within the 6 hours of joining. Another great thing about working in startup is that people are open to your ideas that can range from whacky to stupid but they listen and give their inputs. I came to know this when Ramu patiently heard my thoughts and interrupted as little as possible between my blabbering. By the way Ramu is a genius with Creatives and you have to see how fast his fingers moves on the keyboard to believe my words.

By the way one more things, we were treated with a team lunch in nearby restaurant Green Chilly Zone and I asked four different people about the dress code.

That was the Day One. The dice is rolled now and let’s see how these two months pan out for me.

Keep reading this space for more.




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