Wearing multiple hats at a fast-growing startup

    A famous actress once said, “Life is about trusting your feelings and taking chances. Losing and finding happiness. Appreciating the memories. Learning from the past. And realizing people change.”

    For a generation that has probably seen both ends of the human spectrum, this quote may act as a small helping hand in creating their small life in this huge world, as it did for me. This is a story of how taking a chance proved to be one of the best decisions of my life.

    Leap of Faith

    Almost two years ago, I quit my full-time job at a consulting startup to try and move into a more HR Generalist profile. I had no idea how I was going to transition to the other side. All I had was faith: faith that I could do it if I put in all the necessary efforts to stay afloat and the willingness to take a chance to get what I wanted.

    One day, I heard about an opportunity at a Tech Media Startup called StepSetGo. I did my research about the company and was amazed at the innovative way it motivated people to get fit. Yes, it was in its early stages. If selected, I would have been one of the first few employees of the company. This wasn’t something that I hadn’t done before. I trusted my feelings while joining the consulting firm and it had worked out fine, which gave me the confidence to learn from the past and apply. The Job Description matched what I was looking for. I decided to write my application and send it to the company. And then I waited.

    In the meanwhile, I tried using the app, understanding the app so I could use my viewpoints in the interview in case I get called. The same evening I got a call from one of the co-founders, Misaal Turakhia, who spoke to me about my previous experience in brief and we agreed on the timing to meet the next day. On arriving at the office, I was greeted by an employee with a big smile and was directed towards the founder’s cabin.

    The interview process was a unique experience as it felt like I was talking to my friends about my work. In the thirty-odd minutes that I spent with the founders, I got to know their vision, mission, and roadmap for StepSetGo. I was also informed that apart from the HR responsibilities, I would also be overviewing the company’s Logistics. My inner OCD got activated and I already started suggesting ways in which Logistics could be improved and already started dreaming about working at the company (that was the impact of a friendly conversation).

    The answer to my wait, however, arrived 5 days after I gave my interview. Misaal called me up and offered me the job. Regardless to say, I accepted it in a jiffy.

    Taking Chances

    It had been a few weeks since I had joined the company and had already been working on all the HR Generalist things I wanted to do. We had also moved into a bigger office to accommodate employees who were to join soon. I was called into the cabin by the founders and was informed that it was time I took over Logistics completely from Harshil, our Product Manager. I learned the ropes of Logistics from Harshil and in two weeks, I was running Logistics single-handedly. Also, I made some changes in the inventory storing system too, just to satisfy my OCD 😋.

    In my experience, I got to change my designation from Human Resources Manager to Manager — Human Resources, Admin & Logistics. A typical workday now has given me a blend of Human Resources, Logistics, and Customer Support. I get to learn a lot of the issues the users are facing and I keep on providing solutions to them (with the help of our in-house experts, of course).

    Cut to 6 months later: The founders called me in the cabin, now to provide an additional responsibility: finding a bigger office for us to move in. Having never done this before, I was skeptical but excited to take this chance. Can you imagine? You set up the entire office, in a space you chose, in the way you want it to be. All this while ensuring the travel connectivity is convenient for everyone and fits in the company’s budget.

    One year later today, as I write this article, we are planning to move into a bigger space yet again. I joined the company as an HR Manager, and now I am officially Manager — Human Resources, Admin & Logistics. Unofficially, I am also the Office Doctor, Food Provider, Party Planner, Office Mother, Property Hunter, and whatnot. I take pride in wearing so many caps at my workplace, because I trusted my feelings, took a chance, & wrote that email.

    The thing about working in an early-stage startup is the continuous inflow of options, opportunities, & knowledge available to its employees. These opportunities may be daunting, but taking them up opens you to an entirely new world of possibilities. As the company grows, so do you! So take the leap of faith, make that call, drop an email, and walk through the door. You never know what is waiting for you on the other side.

    Written by:

    Jay Umaria,

    Manager – Human Resources, Admin & Logistics – StepSetGo

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