I joined a large MNC straight from campus. I spent 3 ½ years there and it was a proper hierarchy. At the induction we got told all about how great it would be, how we were encouraged to speak up, it was like Disneyland. A story. A fantastic story all about how we were encouraged to speak up, how everything was going to be wonderful, and how lucky we were to have had the fantastic opportunity to join this huge multi-national corporation. But then, when we started actual work it was a different story. We were asked to work on multiple projects at the same time. There didn’t seem to be any defined set of goals and there was zero transparency, the pressure was relentless. Then came the late night, and working weekends. In the end the pressure got to me. I never saw my friends or family. It was all about the company. What the company wanted. What the company needed. Company, company, company. But what, I wondered, what about me?! I’d spent all those long hours and years studying, and for what? For this? Surely there must be more to life!

But then, when we started actual work it was a different story. We were asked to work on multiple projects at the same time. There didn’t seem to be any defined set of goals and there was zero transparency, the pressure was relentless. Then came the late night, and working weekends. In the end the pressure got to me. I never saw my friends or family. It was all about the company. What the company wanted. What the company needed. Company, company, company. But what, I wondered, what about me?!

So I started to look around, and eventually took another job offer. From my part, I asked for 3 things to be done. I did my part, but they had hidden T&Cs in the contract, which I only found out when it was too late. They promised me a 10% hike, then only gave me 5%. To have zero trust before I started, and especially having come from my last company, I decided to look elsewhere. I wanted to learn new tech and I didn’t want to be confined or switch genre. I wanted to feel secure about my workplace. Generally I’m shy, so working in a big organisation I felt overwhelmed and invisible. It was only when I was invited to join a start-up that I have really been able to be myself at work. At first I was worried. What if the company collapses? Nobody’s heard of it, so how will it look on my CV? No big name to give me kudos. But I decided to jump. Give it a go. Nothing to lose. My family tried to argue against this. The big name of a global brand sounded so exciting and glamorous. But they didn’t know the reality behind the curtain. Now I’m working in this environment, I feel everyone is approachable and there’s no hierarchy, no junior or senior. Just everyone working together. It was the best decision I ever made.

Generally I’m shy, so working in a big organisation I felt overwhelmed and invisible. It was only when I was invited to join a start-up that I have really been able to be myself at work. At first I was worried. What if the company collapses? Nobody’s heard of it, so how will it look on my CV? No big name to give me kudos. But I decided to jump. Give it a go. Nothing to lose.

In my school days I didn’t worry ever about any problems related to my academic or personal life, just whether I had enough pocket money or not. There were ups and downs but I enjoyed life fully, those days are still in my memory. But after I graduated with my masters degree, and started my career, the fear started to increase. Then, when I left the large corporation and got into this culture with the start-up I started to get my confidence back and have also become more productive. Now I know I’ll never go back. Work-life balance, trust and respect. These are more important than a big name on my CV. Best of all, my family agree.

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