5 Reasons Working at a Startup Increases Happiness

Authored by Kayla Brehm

Published on November 20, 2014

Customer service exists so that employees can help customers get the most out of the product the customer is using. Getting the most out of the product (or fixing an issue) makes the customer’s life easier. The customer’s life being easier, in turn, makes them happier.

On the employee side, we want to make tools that make their lives easier, give them more insights, and enable them to do their job better and faster. Helping people and having an easier time using tools will, in turn, make their lives easier. The outcome of helping people in a lower stress environment will ultimately make the employee happier.

The two sides of the interaction diverge as the employee cares about having multiple information sources unified and being given more insight into both the customer and themselves. The customer cares about quickly being assisted and going about their business. Where the interaction merges again is happiness, which leads to today’s topic: 5 ways working at a startup has made me happier.

Building Something

There’s something incredibly energizing about waking up every day and being able to see the progress we’ve made. It’s incremental, but it’s more and more noticeable the longer I keep at it.

First, there were three of us. Now we have eleven.

First, we didn’t have any prospective customers; now we have a pretty good idea of the first companies we’ll be working with.

First, we didn’t have a product – now we know exactly what will be on our beta. That process is exhausting, but I have never been happier.

Helping People

The coolest part of my day is talking to customer service leaders at other companies and hearing them get excited. The feeling that we’ll be genuinely making someone’s day easier never fails to make our team smile. It’s that enthusiasm that enabled us to do twenty-six one-hour meetings in three and a half days recently. I’d go in to a meeting feeling exhausted, start seeing the smile of the teams we were talking to, and immediately got ten times more energetic.

Drinking a Tidal Wave

Step one to working at a startup: everyone is smarter than you about something. You’re going to feel perpetually lost, drink it up.

I thought I was going to master all of the information out there about customer service. I was more wrong than I can easily convey in writing. Once I accepted that 100% of the people I come into contact with know more than me about something important, I started learning more than I ever had before. I learned not to try to ride the wave of information but to try to absorb as much as I can. The process of constant learning and reinvention took some getting used to, but is my favorite part of my day to day now.

The People

Startups seem to attract relentlessly interesting people. It pertains to number three but on a daily basis I have to have someone on my team walk me through something they said. On top of that, we’re all in early, we leave late, and throughout the day I inevitably get sidetracked by any number of spirited conversations about a nuance of what we’re doing. It means being perpetually “on,” but I could legitimately pitch anyone on why every single one of our ten employees (other than me) is a must hire. It’s a great situation to be in that makes me excited to come to work on a daily basis.

The Trust

Coming to work every day knowing I have way more in the way of responsibility than I ever had at previous jobs could be overwhelming, but as the team comes together and learns who is strong where, it becomes incredibly liberating. We’re going to get it done, and that’s that. You’re trusted to innovate and work with minimal oversight, meaning that as long as you’re getting it done that you need not worry about hand holding that’s common at many jobs.

What makes you happy about your job? Tell us in the comments below or @helpdotcom.

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