This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Jeremy Chew. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

I chose to work in a startup company after graduating and you should too

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For many fresh graduates, making the transition from being a full-time student to a full-time employee can be extremely daunting. Some might even end up in the abyss of unemployment for quite some time, going to interview after interview without finally scoring the job. I can be considered one of the lucky ones, scoring a full-time junior executive position 2 months before my last semester even ended. Maybe this is due to the fact that I exclusively filtered out all big corporations in my job-hunting process.

The reason why I hunted startup companies instead of big corporations is because of one main factor: I need to find a place where I am needed and where I have the chance to stand out among my competitors. Sure, bigger companies might need someone with my skill sets as well but chances are, the coveted position will go to someone with a longer résumé and a higher GPA. Since startup companies are growing at a very fast pace, they need someone who can go with the flow and keep up with the growth in every quarter. There is always a new project and a challenging obstacle that can’t be solved simply by a high GPA or a long résumé.

Applying for a job at corporations is stressful enough as it is but when you actually do get the position. That feeling of fulfillment and happiness because you’re now finally employed is still not guaranteed. I know many fresh grads working with multinational companies still stuck in their training stages while I’m already contributing so much in my six months of working in an e-commerce startup. With startups, I feel like I have the chance to thrive and improve my skills at a faster rate.

Now that I’ve settled down in my job as a content writer in an established startup in Kuala Lumpur, I’ve found that my previous assumption about working in smaller scale companies are true. Here are just some of the things I’ve discovered after jumpstarting my career at a startup.

More creative opportunities

As a content writer, I do more than just publishing product descriptions and on-site texts. I also write feature articles like this one and whenever they get published, I add it to my writing portfolio. It may not seem like a big deal now but when you want to climb up that career ladder in the future, you can showcase your impressive list of published writing.

For non-writers, you would also more likely to contribute to a project in a startup than in giant conglomerates. The scale may differ in every startup companies but the idea is more attractive than doing mundane, menial desk jobs every day without the chance to contribute anything.

Better working culture

Another main reason why I chose startup companies over conglomerates when hunting for my first job is because of the lack of bureaucracy. Working in a smaller office means you have the chance to meet everybody, from the juniors all the way up to the big bosses. It’ll give you a sense of solidarity with everyone in your office and while office politics might still exist, it won’t be on the same scale as it most likely would be in bigger corporations.

Less bureaucracy also means you can enhance the necessary skills you need to get promoted or to move on to a better job position in another company. Prior to joining my current company, I had no idea how to utilize SEO and how I can combine it with writing to increase the traffic of the site. The SEO skills that I honed from this first job will be extremely useful whenever I decide to move on to a better, higher position at another company.

International environment

You will find a more diverse environment when working at a startup company compared to working in a drab office for a mega conglomerate. In the current startup company that I’m working with, I’ve met people from Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, and more. And chances are, you will find a lot of other fresh grads in a startup to help you go through that first few-month jitters.  

The more successful and established the startup company is, the more diverse your office environment will be. Perhaps this is because startups aren’t afraid to outsource their talents to every corner of the world to find the best people to complete their team. So, try to seek for jobs outside of your home country; it’s a great chance for those trying to step out of their comfort zones and start an adventure in an unknown territory.

SEA is the best startup hub

If all the reasons above still can’t convince you to join a startup company straight after graduation, then consider this: the region is one of the best places to join the startup sector. The region has been dubbed as the leading tech startup hub and one of the fastest growing regions in the world due to the success of these startup companies.

Southeast Asia is thriving with hundreds of startup companies and many of them successfully passed and stayed in the growth and establishment phase. This means more employment opportunities, more benefits, more paths to be explored, and more chances to rise in your career ladder.

There are of course downsides to working in a startup. Unless the company’s profit and revenues keep on growing, one day the company can just decide to pack up and halt all operations. You can never know what’s instore for the future when you’re working in a startup but considering the freedom and the different skills that you can amass, it’s a great starting point in your journey of employment.

***

Written by Febriani Ramadhanya from iPrice Group

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        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

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        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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