8 tips from a “dinosaur” for a successful career start

I am 35 years old. After starting my career in large groups, I spent the last 8 years with startups: my young colleagues now call me… the dinosaur. When I started my career, I only saw books written by CEOs, and therefore not really advice to help a beginner like me understand the world of startups and how to succeed in it. That’s why I decided to write a book called “You don’t need to be CEO” (because you don’t have to be the CEO of a startup to have a good career there and get great professional satisfaction). As a result of the discussion with other “dinosaurs”, here are some ideas that may have helped me in my beginnings and which I allow myself to share with you, and that I hope they enlighten on the temptations of startup adventure .

1. Find the right shoes for you: choose the startup carefully

This is the key to having fun! Do you prefer an early start-up stage with few employees where you need to be ultra-versatile, or rather a “scale-up” of over 300 people where you need to be more skilled? Do mission and values ​​speak to you? Going there is key. Working there with passion becomes easier if you love your mission.

2. Know yourself: the key to lasting

We all have motivators. Some drivers are extrinsic, which is in the form of a stick or a carrot: the school warning or bonuses on goals when you are older, recognition from the boss … Other drivers are intrinsic. It is the personal pleasure of fulfilling a mission. A startup is constantly evolving (discontinuing a product, reorganizing teams, raising funds, etc.). To last, the key is to rely on what motivates you, by focusing on the intrinsic motivation factors. Performing this work of reflection and self-examination is therefore not a waste of time.

3. Put yourself in a student posture

Finished studying? Do you think it’s over? Great, but that’s just the beginning.

Find peers, identify and learn from the “stars”. Just as important as choosing your formation properly … choose your boss well! As Jack Ma, co-founder and CEO of giant Alibaba said: “ When you are 20 to 30 years old, you should follow a good boss “. Really key to have a super model from the beginning of your career to develop you, inspire you, share the tricks of the trade with you. This is the school of life! Education requires a good dose of humility.Accept and ask for feedback, which will help you improve … Without doing it too much, you otherwise risk looking unsure of yourself.

It is also an important moment to build a network outside of your startup. It will accompany you when you are alone in your company faced with a new problem: it is your back-up.

Ah, and it’s not because you left the school rankings that you have to stop reading: Radical Candor by Kim Scott KAILAN by Daniel Pink… read books!

4. Be honest

There are many different positions. To last, you need to be in the right place … Be honest and forthright about what your strengths are and things you don’t know (or don’t want) to do. Only by having the courage to be honest can you find a position that suits you. And so it shone in a thousand lights.

5. Become a Jedi Organization

Define your priorities. Instead of opening slack and your email in the morning, write down 3 tasks you really need to do during the day. You need to control your agenda rather than cannibalize it. How to get out? By positioning meetings yourself in your schedule to maintain free time.

6. Dare to say no

Being ambitious and willing to say yes to everything, all the time, with your manager, can be dangerous for the very quality of your work. Dare to say no. One piece of advice, you can ask yourself the following questions about a requested task: what is the impact of not doing it now or doing it later? To do it differently? To do it faster? Does accomplishing this task mean prioritizing it over anything else? By training yourself to answer these questions, you will naturally be able to manage what your priorities should be. Of course, this advice is only valid if you remain a diplomat;)

7. Get ready for the roller coaster

It will vibrate. And maybe even a hell of a pitch. In the world of startups, the environment can change … even chaotic: huge fundraising, many changes in strategy, turnover within teams … You may also find yourself in an apparent situation of frustration . You don’t have to take everything to heart and you know how to avoid events. Take change as your new normal and learn to appreciate uncertainty. Very quickly, you will learn how to face adversity with confidence and wisdom.

8. Extreme proactivity!

It is a universe that combines responsibility and creativity. Of course, you have to accept your responsibilities, do the job with the idea that no one is going behind you to correct your mistakes. But, you need to know, the world of startups offers an exciting environment for juniors: you can dare to suggest, make mistakes, repeat. This is why this environment is attractive and unique for beginners.

You don’t have to be a CEO to be proactive. Dare!


*The author: Tristan VIE started his career at large companies such as Decathlon and Nestlé before joining JobTeaser in 2014. Between 2014 and 2022, he held several positions: Head of Partnerships, Director of Partnerships, Country Launcher then VP Sales. During this time, JobTeaser grew from 18 to 330 employees, had three fundraisers and was selected among the best FrenchTech start-ups (twice Next40, once FT120).

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