As I enter my senior year of college, I am faced with an undeniable truth: being an intern is the business. When else in your life can you walk into a new job and proudly say you know absolutely nothing about what you were hired to do? One of the perks of intern life is switching jobs roughly every six months, and when my last stint was up, I was fortunate enough to have a couple options. But undeniably, the best choice for me was to work at a startup; specifically Hedvig. Though I’m still new to the company, I have picked up on three qualities of Hedvig that have affirmed my decision to be here:
Seeing your direct impact on the culture. Being at a small company can have its pros and cons. Con: Who orders the paper towels?! Pro: You are such a significant part of the team that you get to have a direct impact on the culture of the company. In a time where companies are known for their cultures, it is so empowering to think that I could have a significant impact on the structure of communication at an organization. An aspect of communication that has caught my attention is that people at Hedvig actually talk to each other. Like with words and everything. It’s amazing. When there’s only a few dozen people in the office and most of them are within earshot, it’s fair game to touch base with them across the room. Now, this doesn’t mean you can holler, “WHAT DO YOU THINK OUR Q2 GOALS SHOULD BE?” and expect to have a long-distance meeting, but knowing everyone and working with them face to face is the norm. This builds up the feeling of community in the office and I dig it.
Trying things “out of my pay grade.” This is one the perks of being an intern but I believe it exists in startup culture as well. If someone is in charge of something you want to try, all you have to do is ask to be involved. This is not only a good tool for expanding your resume, but it also gives you a deeper look into the company you support. You don’t always get to try out tasks and projects handled by other departments, but at Hedvig, they’ve seemed to figure out that each person thinks differently, and finding new ways to approach a task can make the company great.
Learning from the ground up. This may not be true for everyone, but I know for myself struggling through developing new processes gives you a deeper understanding of how it works as well as a greater appreciation of its value. Working in tech without an engineering background can leave you wondering things like, “What does my company actually do?” But as someone who still can never get a printer to work, let me tell you that bringing projects into existence really challenges me to know my stuff. I need to know the problem I’m working to solve so that I can do my research and implement the best possible solution. This requires a high level of collaboration and creativity but the result is so satisfying.
I am so excited to put all of these great startup attributes to use in my days to come at Hedvig. Interning is such a cool experience, but even if you’re no longer a student, I would highly recommend startup life.