I Forgot I Was Working In a Startup

I am lucky to work in a startup. I value transparent communication, flat corporate hierarchy and most of all, the sense of fulfillment that my work is recognized and of value to the organization.

It’s only been a year since I first stepped in the doors of Tech in Asia and I already forgot I work in a startup.
Recently, I have been out of sorts. I know I was not performing at my best creatively. I struggle to communicate my thoughts. I find it terribly hard to come up with great ideas. Now, I finally know what’s wrong.

For so long, I have been focusing on the wrong things. As the company grows, I was focusing on my monthly review score. I was focusing on my remuneration package. I was focusing on my KPIs, and how I can reach them. I was focusing on the corporate ladder. I lost focus on the most important thing — my work, and how I can use whatever I have to help my company become better at what it does.

This is what it’s all about. When you work at a startup, you shouldn’t just be an employee — someone who sits on a paycheck and does things within the job scope. When you work at a startup, you take on the vision of the startup and you become the mini-CEO in your area of expertise.

Scores, grades, and KPIs measure quantitatively the value of every employee to the organization and provides decent information for the management to hire (or fire). But if the employee is lacking in the right motivation and mindset, these measures can distract the employee, gearing efforts and resources to be optimized for personal gains and not for the organization.

The employee is not incentivized to explore, value-add and achieve more with any other skill sets that she might possess outside of her job scope.
That being said, it’s not the fault of the organization. Every corporate organization should have a certain system to measure and keep track of the growth of every employee.

It’s the mindset that every startup employee should have and remember that we are not here to climb the ladder and beat the high score; we are here to utilize all that is within us, take on the vision of the startup, and make a difference in this world.

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Alan Seng is the Head of Branded Content at Tech in Asia, leading the content marketing and advertising unit of the company. He is deeply curious about understanding how to develop a profitable and scalable business model for media and content businesses. In his free time, he dabbles in cryptocurrency investments.

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