Many students and young professionals struggle in the crossfire of external expectations.
“You cannot have a successful corporate career without first being in management consulting”.
“You should found your own company, that’s what really successful people do”.
“You can’t get a job if you don’t graduate in 5 years with more than 4.5 GPA. And neither if you don’t have any working experience when you graduate”.
You start to feel quite overwhelmed by all the things you should do and should not do.
In this crossfire, it is difficult to maintain one’s own identity and find the path that truly matches your values and aspirations in life. As a person without experience, you hang on to the tiniest bit of information given to you by the expectation and trust that. Later in life, you may feel unhappy with the choices you made.
So, the problem is that you don’t know. You do not know what it is like in working life. What skills are needed? What could you really be good at in life?
But sometimes, you are given an opportunity to try something out.
My path led to a Finnish HR-tech scale-up company TalentAdore. Thus, I would like to share some of my learnings on why I think every student or young professional should pursue to work in a scale-up company.
Why a scale-up?
A scale-up is usually defined as a growth company gone past the startup phase. The product-market fit has been defined and validated, the product has been developed and there are already a decent number of customers. The focus is on scaling the business and processes.
“In this kind of environment, you truly feel like it is okay to not know things, and solutions are found together with the team.”
For a person only starting a career, the environment in a scale-up company is ideal. First, the fast growth forces the organization, and the employees, to learn continuously. It is taken for granted, there are a lot of processes yet to be defined or created, and a lot of things unknown. In this kind of environment, you truly feel like it is okay to not know things, and solutions are found together with the team. This boosts your own learning and allows you to widely gain knowledge of different things.
Second, a scale-up is usually still relatively small in size and number of employees. Besides, giving you the vast abilities to have an impact on the organization, the small size gives you visibility on different functions in a company. In addition, you stumble upon many different customer domains and face numerous problems that the customers have. If you feel a bit lost in your working identity, these factors increase your likelihood of finding something you would like to do in the future.
Last, the high-growth environment means that the number of employees rises rapidly. If you have done your job well, the company will do whatever to keep you there. With time, you can have more responsibility and reach higher positions quicker than your corporate counterparts. This makes investing your time to work in a scale-up beneficial for your future career.
How I found TalentAdore?
I am a student at Aalto University, studying Industrial Engineering and Management. 👋 Many of my student peers are some of the most intelligent people I have ever met, and have the passion and will to succeed comparable with athletes. This mentality has given me a lot and developed me as a person.
“I knew that I wanted to do something that I consider meaningful and something that matches my values.”
Many of my peers want to be prestigious management consultants, be CEOs in corporations or found their own companies. However, I struggled to understand myself, what I wanted to do and what I could be good at. I knew that I wanted to do something that I consider meaningful and something that matches my values.
TalentAdore’s mission of bringing the human touch back to recruitment really touched me. I heard about the company in some event of our student association and got a reference from an older student that had previously worked at TalentAdore.
TalentAdore’s CEO Saku Valkama saw something in me, and I got the opportunity to hop on board. “This is not going to be an easy school. But after you have worked here for some time, you will notice that you have learned much more than you ever could by sitting in lectures”, Saku said to me.
“What I really liked is the flexibility of the job, the like-minded people, and the ability to have a say on how work is done and what the role of each employee is.”
I got the opportunity to try my wings in the company and joined the Sales Team. I was involved in the real work from day one, and I really felt that I was trusted. I got great support whenever I needed, and the atmosphere fostered coaching each other and striving for improvement as individual persons and the whole company. What I really liked is the flexibility of the job, the like-minded people, and the ability to have a say on how work is done and what the role of each employee is.
Everyone knows that the work is difficult. But what is important is that the team supports each other, and no one is left alone. This experience transformed me from an unconfident student to a person that actually feels competent and knows himself better.
What did I learn?
“I feel that after this experience I am much wiser regarding what I want to do in the future.”
The experience I had in TalentAdore is one I wish every one of my peers could have in the early steps of their career. I learned that it is okay to not know what you want to do. It is a part of one’s journey to try different things, and the right direction will be found later. My tasks in sales were exactly that, and I felt that the tasks developed me a lot as a person. I especially got insights for my future interests from discussions with different customers and co-workers. So, I feel that after this experience I am much wiser regarding what I want to do in the future.
A feeling of being 100% sure that this is the optimal career step is impossible because there is no such thing as an optimal career. Learning effectively in different environments and diverse tasks gives you the best possible outcome you can think of for the future. Finally, I believe that a scale-up environment gives you that exactly.