‘Joining the right startup is worth the gamble’

'Joining the right startup is worth the gamble'
Tina Miles works for the startup Sqore in Stockholm. Photo: Private
Sweden is home to a vast number of startups – but what makes them attractive to job seekers? Swedish-American marketer Tina Miles gives The Local an insiders look at why working at a startup can be worth the risk.

Some prefer to plan exactly where they will be and what they will be doing in ten years, but let’s be honest, I don’t…and I like it that way.

Working in marketing means you need to be prepared for constant change, but it also gives you the freedom to explore many different types of companies. I’ve worked in both startups and huge international corporations, and have seen the positives and negatives of both.

Working at a startup means that you’re compromising on some of the benefits you would expect from a bigger company, but what you get in return should always outweigh what you’re missing out on.

After a few years of working at a startup, I’d had enough. I was tired of the long hours, constant fear of losing my job, and extreme stress. I vowed that my next career move would be to a huge international company, where a normal work-life balance would be achievable again.

So I did just that, but the strangest thing started to happen. I slowly felt like I was losing my drive. You could say I was getting bored, but it was more than that, I just didn’t feel passionate about what I was doing.

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A few months ago I chose to go back to working at a startup, and ended up at Sqore in Stockholm. It took a few interviews to realize that Sqore is pronounced ‘score’, and another couple of interviews to figure out that despite the fact that I swore off startups, I wanted to be a part of this fast-growing team.

Sqore’s mission is simple: “opportunities for all.” It is an online platform that hosts skills-based recruitment competitions where users can compete for opportunities that will change their lives. Say goodbye to the CV, and to boasting about your contacts, it’s now all about how much you know, and what skills you truly have.

I know all the fears people have about working at a startup; longer hours, less pay and job insecurity. So why did I return to this world?

I could give you the generic response you hear from most startup employees: “I don’t want to just be a piece of a large churning machine”, or “I want to pay ping-pong in the office”, but that’s not it.

For me, it’s about finding a company where the people feel more like a family than colleagues. It’s about finding a place where you and everyone else truly believe in the product or service. It’s experiencing that amazing moment when you think to yourself, “holy crap, we’re going to change the world!”

What really stood out to me about Sqore was that they actually follow their own mission. Sqore creates opportunities for all, no matter where you’re from, and their international perspective comes from the inside. The company is made up of roughly 50 employees with 19 different nationalities. As a ‘half-breed’ myself (I’m half Swedish, half American) diversity is super important to me – so I knew I had found the perfect fit.

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We have a term at Sqore that we use to explain how we want our users to feel when they compete, ‘hopecitement’. Hopecitement is hope and excitement all packaged into one truly exhilarating feeling. It’s the feeling that we bring to our users all over the world, and that we get every time we think about the difference our platform is making.

What I’ve come to realize is that it’s not the classification of startup or corporation that makes you want to stay put at a company. Those categories don’t matter as much as the company itself – the people, the vision, the day-to-day.

So what is my advice to job seekers? Find that place, be it startup or not, that makes you feel truly ‘hopecited’ to be doing what you’re doing. Take the risk, and do something you’re truly passionate about.

Tina Miles is a guest writer for the Local Sweden. Follow her on Twitter @halfbreedswede

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