So, you want to work for an internet company? A little over six years ago I made the transition from Middle School teacher to working for an Internet company. I thought the years trying to wrangle a classroom full of pre-teens had prepared me for the fast pace and unpredictability of working at an online company. While that was true to a certain extent, here are a few things I wish I had known ahead of time…
- Perks like foosball, free snacks, Nerf guns, and kegerators will lead your friends and family to believe you work in a converted fraternity house. They will all be incredibly jealous anytime they visit you at the office and really, who can blame them? We work hard but, we play hard too.
- Acronyms – We LOVE acronyms! CTA, SEM, CTR, PPL, CPM, the list goes on and on. I’ve seen coworkers create cheat sheets, flashcards, do Google searches mid-meeting, etc. Don’t worry, soon enough you’ll know and even grow to love them like we all do.
- Do not become too attached to projects. The project you worked on all last week could get scrapped in a quick 10 minute stand up. Brush it off and get excited about the new project you were just given. We move fast and so should you.
- Dress for success- This is not the place to rock pleated khakis and ties. We wear jeans, flip flops, funny t-shirts that are borderline inappropriate and we tend to carry backpacks, not laptop bags. Also, sweatshirts are a must…conference rooms tend to be below freezing and all the complimentary coffee (see item #1) in the world won’t be able to raise your core body temperature during an especially long meeting.
- Speaking of meetings…get used to them. There are stand ups, touch-bases, brainstorms, follow ups, etc. We try to keep them efficient but, often this is the time to catch up with other departments. Use this as a time to learn what other departments and coworkers are working on. Often, there are projects that overlap with what you’re doing so you can add value.
- Every time you go online, you find something new. You can always learn about a new product, new service, new company, and new concepts. All of this information can help you and help your company. Share your thoughts and ideas. Share the industry article you thought was interesting. Share the cat video (everyone loves funny cat videos). Sharing is caring.
- The rule is there are no rules. When friends and family ask me about working for an internet company, I compare it to the Wild West. You need to have the desire and passion to make your own way and be a trailblazer. The direction isn’t always clear and many times we need to get creative and brave, but that’s what I like best.
Are you ready?