Getting to grips with office culture during an internship: What to expect

From the office’s cocker spaniel to scooting in and out of meeting rooms, the startup office culture certainly has an alluring appeal.

As I walked into a warehouse-like office for my interview, there were employees playing ping pong to my left and emoji cushions to my right. My now-colleague, Jeyda, welcomed me and gave me a short tour before my interview took place.

One month in, it’s funny to see how differently I now view startups. A delightful mix of Paolo Nutini’s soothing Rewind and my colleague Joe’s exquisitely crafted coffee (which has just the right amount of froth) launches me into theperfect working environment for writing this article.

After having interned at Enternships for almost a month, here are my top 4 tips on what to expect when entering the world of startups:

  1. Listen ‘n’ learn

Try to learn as much as you can.

What’s really different in startups compared to corporate companies is the large amount of responsibility you’re given from day one. The latter could have you alphabetising documents all day whereas the former could have you sitting in on client meetings.

Startups are typically made up of fairly small teams, meaning that each member’s tasks are likely to cross over. You’ll have the web developers collaborating with the marketeers, and you might even have the opportunity to work closely with the CEO and develop a variety of skills you didn’t expect to learn.

  1. Keep up!

The rapid nature of startups means that prioritising your workload is a constant challenge. Sometimes the tasks you’re given have equal importance, so there’s an ever-lasting struggle in deciding which one to begin first. Even when writing this article, I wasn’t sure what I should prioritise!

Even though it can be difficult at times, keeping up with the pace is without a doubt one of the most exciting features of working in a startup. Startup employees don’t sit still because their businesses don’t.


“Startup employees don’t sit still because their businesses don’t.”


  1. Make an impact

In a startup team, everybody works hard and they’ll expect you to do the same.

You’ll be working as hard, if not harder than you would in a corporate environment, and one day’s work can sometimes make a huge impact on the business. It’s really rewarding to see that the tasks you’re given make a significant difference.

The team I work with asserts an ethos of passion and authenticity. And doubtless to say, they expect the same from their interns.

  1. Networking

You’d think that sitting across from your boss could be intimidating, but once you realise they’re here to help, you start to develop and grow into the role.

What I really love about interning at a startup is that you can go to a networking event and get direct advice from a CEO you saw in yesterday’s FT. It’s awesome.

It can be very rewarding to work in a startup. However much effort you put into your internship, you’ll be sure to get back ten-fold! Make it what you will. Even if you decide that startups aren’t for you, you’ll have an edge over other candidates at interviews because you’ve got such great hands-on experience and so much to talk about.


 

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