What do you want to do with your life?
If that’s too real for you to face right now as you sit in your bedroom eating straight out of a tub of a Ben & Jerry’s then I apologise. But humour me would you?
I suppose the post-university norm is to strive to get a graduate job and then work your way up. (Alternatively, you could eat-pray-love around Cambodia) I’m not about to bad-mouth either of those options as they both have their own merits.
Instead, I’m going to shift the focus a tiny bit; what are you after?
- That sweet, sweet cash money?
- A sense of achievement?
- Doing something that has an impact?
Everyone’s got their own preferences, but what it’s been apparent, having had a taste of the working world (an adult-world amuse-bouche, copyright pending), is that if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, it’s going to feel like work. I don’t know about you, but I’m as ready for that as I am for night out having pre-drunk on a pint of milk (Green top of course, I’m not a heathen).
(You’ve got this far. Congratulations, I’m pleased to let you know you haven’t got the attention span of a goldfish)
I’m not going to sell you anything. I’m not a salesperson. I can barely sell my parents the idea that I’m going to find a girlfriend anytime soon. The best I can do is outline what the last 6 months have been like and you make of it what you like.
Yoyo Wallet. A fintech startup, but that’s not doing it much justice. Treating this as a speed date, (you were thinking the same, weren’t you?) Yoyo enables people to pay for their lunch amongst other things using their mobile phones and get rewarded for their spend. It’s basically a middle finger to Milton Friedman. No such thing as a free lunch he said. We’d like to ever so politely disagree. To everyone else though, Yoyo’s a thoroughly satisfying hug. To retailers, well they know what their customers are buying & what promotions work, which in turn benefits their customers. I believe that’s what they call a win-win (Sans Friedman).
Having as much prerequisite knowledge as Sunderland in the EU referendum, I was thrown into Product and very quickly realised it was a sink or swim kind of situation. Product, being what it is, has a considerable say in the direction of the company and I’ve personally found that incredibly rewarding; you’re in a position to drive things forward. If like me, you get frustrated at things taking a while to happen, then product, and a startup are ideal. Prove that you’re able to pull your weight, and you’ll be afforded the opportunity to have ownership.
My 2nd month was firmly focused around the release of a new version of our app. It involved a few late nights, but the thing was, I didn’t mind that, reason being that it didn’t really feel like work. There were a bunch of us putting a shift in and we were all working towards the same thing. We believed in what we were doing and when the new version was released, we had something we were proud of. It comes back to the question of what you’re looking for. A sense of achievement may not be the sexiest option that comes to mind, but there aren’t many more rewarding feelings (Okay, maybe cutting through a perfect eggs benedict. You can see why my parents have a tough time believing I’m going to be in a relationship anytime soon.)
WHYPHY – Work Hard, Yes, Play Hard, Yes
I mean, quoting a fictitious hallucinogen from 22 Jump Street probably isn’t lending the air of credibility I’d hope for. But it is a big part of why I’ve enjoyed my time at Yoyo as much as I have. It’s a group of driven and incredibly talented individuals that are coming together to build something that has an actual impact on people’s lives, without forgetting to have some fun along the way. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty perfect.
An internship or placement is the perfect avenue to dip your toes in the water and gauge whether the startup world might be for you. You might find that you’re more suited to a structured and steady environment. Conversely, you could get a taste for the dynamic (buzzword!) startup lifestyle and feel that the alternatives out there aren’t going to be as exciting (exhibit A: The guy writing this). That being said, here’s the playbook on how to ace that internship at a startup:
- Do your best impression of a sponge. You’re in Product and someone asks you to help out in Marketing, do it. You want to learn as much as you can in your time.
- Bite off more than you can chew. You can have an easy ride when you’re 50. Challenge yourself by taking on more and more. Worst case scenario you know your limits. Best case, you’re better at life.
- Invest in a pair of chinos & boat shoes. Does this have anything to do with a startup? No, but it’s just a good look. Girls, make sure any male in your life has those.
Slightly closer to knowing what you want to do with your life? Either way, you’ve still got that tub of Ben & Jerry’s. Could be worse.
Praveen worked at Yoyo Wallet as part of a six month work placement whilst at the University of Bath. If your interested in an Internship at Yoyo Wallet, contact Min at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or if you’re hankering for some full-time Yoyo Wallet action, be sure to check out our jobs page