Those long, lazy summer holidays, filled with cricket, Rasna, and 12-hour Shinchan marathons are a thing of the past – a part of school and childhood. In college, holidays mean only one thing -- internship.Once high stipends and big names influenced a student's decision on where to intern. But lately, a noticeable shift in this trend is seen. Students are willing to work for minimum stipends as long as they get to work on interesting brands and have a wider networking exposure, as these are things money cannot buy.
The obvious questions: why work for small stipends and unknown brands? Why work at a startup? The answer is simple: What would you rather be: a clerk at work or a contributing member of a project? If your answer is the latter, then head for a startup. I have been working at Lowfundwala Productions, a startup that tells startup stories, for quite some time. In this article I will share my eight reasons for interning with a startup.
1) You are trusted and considered responsible
You are not a trainee who runs around getting coffee and handling excel inventory sheets. Even as a mere intern, your boss trusts you with real responsibilities, provided you have proved your determination. As most early-stage bootstrapped startups work on shoestring budgets, everyone is expected to perform multiple roles. Lack of micro-managers in startups means you can't expect to be spoon fed. Failures here end in introspection and celebration, not being reprimanded.
2) It allows you to decide whether startups are for you or not
This might sound obvious, but you can't decide what waters are best for you until you test them. Simply following the herd in your college just narrows down possibilities. I am not saying it is impossible to decide what you want until you try it, but it's more likely to help than not. Take advantage of these risk-free college days and try out various things before finally jumping into the market with a full-time job.
3) You are headed by a LEADER and not a BOSS
A great leader not only motivates but also trains his people to be great leaders. Unlike a corporate environment, where promotion-hungry bosses take as much credit for your work as they can, in a startup your boss will happily give you your due credit. Favoritism towards senior employees is absent. Hard work is always appreciated.
4) You are surrounded by emerging talent
Good startups attract the best people; the kind that are motivated to achieve a shared dream. Even in the field of advertising, there has been a noticeable trend of senior executives quitting established agencies and opening their own shops. Chances are that you could share your office with another equally charged startup team. This creates a constructively competitive environment that keeps you motivated. To top that, you have so many talented people to bounce your ideas to. Who knows, you might just meet the co-founder of your startup while working at one?
Before Lowfundwala, I had interned for a music reality TV show and ended up being at the bottom of the hierarchy chain doing clerical work. I joined it wanting to learn about filmmaking and video production but ended up researching trivial subjects on the Internet and making inventory sheets. But within a week of joining Lowfundwala, I had helped develop infant ad film ideas for clients and shot for three different projects behind the camera. Just the things I have always wanted to do.
6) Never-ending support
Feel low because you haven't been able to complete a project in time? Or you're confused about where you want to head in life? Should you run behind money or do what you love? Do such questions sometimes make your head explode? Share these problems with your leader, not only will you get some sound advice and encouragement but also a free hug.
7) You'll find inspiration in abundance
The vibe of a startup is way different than a stuffy corporate organisation. Casual dress code, cozy workstations, whacky colourful furniture, Playstations, rusty coffee machines, mini beer fridges, and cool wall art are just some of the perks of life in a startup. Then of course there is innovation, creativity, and chaos bubbling in every nook and cranny of the organisation.
8) It helps you kill your fears
A lot of us fear being judged by others, especially by strangers. This is one of those habits that one must get over. Of course, you can't talk to anyone and everyone, but the reason for it must not be fear of being judged. Every stranger you meet has the potential to help you in your future endeavors, or become a good friend. Whatever stops you from presenting your true self to the world needs to be eliminated. Startups help you do exactly that. Your colleagues are welcoming, friendly, and understanding, so much so that it just feels just like home. Every other friend of mine noticed the boost in my confidence post my stint at my startup.
About the author:
Navneet Mishra, a content writer and film maker who interned @ Lowfundwala.