Student: Corporate Grind vs Startup World
Personal Piece from Impulse team member Indy Khaira:
Being in the startup world for over 6 months, I can now see how clear the contrast has been with the corporate world and startup world. They couldn’t be any more different if they tried. Like two ends of the spectrum, they are polar opposites as much as north vs south, hell vs heaven (literally in the sense, not that I’m biased at all), right vs left (political pun intended) and Mac vs PC.
So what are the biggest differences I have noticed? Here’s 5 below:
I no longer wear a suit. Ever
I had a massive change this Christmas gone. Boxing Day sales for me usually consisted of buying suits and shirts from Moss Bros and T.M Lewin/Hawes & Curtis, but that didn’t happen for the first time in 5 years. (I had no money to spend at all to be honest, but that’s a story for another day.) My suits are really now for weddings and very special events. Each day I roll out of bed and pick up any pair of jeans, jumper, t shirts, trainers and beanie hat to wear. It’s important to stay comfortable and relaxed, as a lot of the work I do now is self-motivated. I may as well be with happy with what I wear daily too.
The lack of structure to the day
My daily routine is pretty unfamiliar to most. I know that I work best during the beginning of the day, and taper off after lunch, so I guess that stayed the same from the corporate world. So instead of working from 9–6, I usually work 8–8. Yes that’s 4 hours more added onto my day, but I take regular breaks during the day to cook, read, eat, watch something on YouTube and re focus on the tasks I want to succeed at today. I even work a few hours on weekends too. Not because I have to — because I enjoy the nature of work I’m doing. Blogging, video editing, platform maintenance, and social media planning/engagement isn’t exactly a strenuous job so to have this on the odd Saturday and Sunday for a few hours isn’t my idea of hell. It took me a long time to become accustomed to this freedom after having such a rigid structure of work hours each day, but it’s worked out for the best. I work well under relaxed conditions — have you ever noticed people are naturally more chilled in the workplace when you are in dress down clothes on a Friday? Says it all about mindset and productivity. Or the power of the Friday feeling. I prefer the former.
This is a big one. I’ve noticed that I have to be very self motivated to be as productive as possible each day. If not, the day will drag or pass me by without getting anything done. In contrast this is possible in the corporate world; you can come in on time, pretend to do some work during the day, leave at 6 and still get paid regardless of how hard you’ve worked. I have to kind of be my own boss and motivator as most of the time I work alone. This is why I regularly change areas within my own home to work, but also venturing outside quite frequently. I work in city centre coffee shops or libraries to change my mindset and freshen things up a tad.
I can’t lie, I do miss the canteen food at work. Some of the salads they made in each corporate workplace were worth it, and the same applies for some of the chef’s food daily. I relied on this a lot and did not really plan my meals ahead of time. Was this because of a lack of motivation? Time? Or comfort? I’d go with all three. More often than not I’d bag an extra 10 minutes sleep at the expense of getting breakfast at work. Nowadays I plan my food on the weekends, do a weekly big food shop featuring different types of cuisine and meat and try different recipes. My mum is happy to see me in the kitchen and picking up on her hints and tips, and I now get a sense of enjoyment when cooking food. If you told me this during university I would have thought you’d found the wrong Indy.
Money. Oh, you thought it was all good in the Startup world eh? Well if money is your motivator, and you’re jumping from one world to the other without taking this into account, you‘re in for a shock. Unfortunately that is where the Corporate world trumps all, and I honestly think if those jobs were not well paid they’d be crying out for employees. But as we all know, people have mortgages to pay, mouths to feed and lifestyles to maintain. Money is the answer to all three, and corporates know what they have to do to build a workforce. The question is, are they a happy one?