It’s that moment every college senior stresses about—graduation, applications, and of course, the pressure of landing a “good” job. I put “good” in quotation marks because as a young adult there’s a huge stress from parents and peers to work for a well-known company, in a huge office, that pays a lot of money. However, working for The Roman Guy this past semester showed me two key things: I don’t need money or a company name to make my growth worthwhile. Here’s what interning for a startup abroad taught me.
Small Company = Big Role
Ever heard of the phrase, “big fish in a small pond?” Well, it definitely applies when working for an up-and-coming company. Because the company is new( 5 years or younger), there is literally a million things to be done and never enough time or manpower to do it. That’s why every role at a young company is essential. Rather than doing the same task twenty other people are also doing, assignments are different and important every time. This ultimately makes employees more well-rounded. The best part is, you’re appreciated for the work too! The addition to manpower is even valued.
Not only that, but a fresh company means fresh ideas so everyone’s input always matters. In fact, new ideas are vital for the company to get on its feet. Without innovation, the business will without a doubt fall behind and fail. Most of all, employees grow with the company. The same way you watch a baby go from crawling, to walking, and eventually running, so does the company. But guess what, you’ll be the one holding its hand through the entire process.
Money Shouldn’t be Your Only Motivator
Even though my time as an intern was limited to 3 months (the time I spent studying abroad), it taught me how much I enjoyed social media marketing. Before starting my internship, I knew marketing was something that interested me but I didn’t have any official work experience in the field. Of course, I’ve had positions in the past that allowed me to manage social media accounts, but it was never the sole focus of my job. Working pro bono made me realize marketing is my niche. I enjoy everything about it from snapping original pictures, to monitoring statistics about that post later..
Working for free is never something I’d consider ideal, but it made me recognize I actually enjoyed the work. If you can enjoy the position without payment, you can definitely enjoy it with a regular paycheck. However, I didn’t look at it that way while I was working because I felt like I was getting paid through experience.
Language Makes the World Go Round
Interning abroad also taught me the importance of speaking multiple languages. In the U.S. job applications always prefer bilingual speakers, but for many places it’s not mandatory. Being in Europe showed me how breaking language barriers is imperative for businesses to expand and succeed. Communicating with different people from different places is so powerful. Unfortunately, my time in Italy is approaching an end and I can’t say I’ve mastered the Italian language. But I know that when I go back home I’ll continue practicing Spanish and Italian. This isn’t only to increase my competitive advantage in the job market, but to also meet more people and make more connections the next time I travel.
So, the next time you dismiss a job because the company isn’t completely established yet, or doesn’t offer a high enough salary, you might miss out on a huge opportunity for personal and professional growth. My time in Italy would not have been the same without my internship in Rome at The Roman Guy.
(And remember, I’m not getting paid to write this!)