I’ve been at Slingshot SEO for nearly two years, but it seems like 14. That’s because working at a startup is like working in dog years. I’ve been able to quickly move up the career ladder to the tune of four title changes (and about 16 seat changes) during that short period.
Although this is my first experience working at a startup, I already had an idea of what it might be like since my husband had worked at startups in the Bay Area during the late 90s. I was nervous, but excited about the fast pace, the opportunity for quick career growth and getting emotionally invested in seeing the success of a startup becoming something more.
Working at Slingshot SEO has been an amazing ride and the perfect way for me to develop my career. Why? Three reasons.
I started on a family right out of college and six years later was ready to start my career. At 30, I basically had the work experience of a 20-year- old. I had worked paper routes and reception desks. But at the same time, I had the life experience and responsibilities of a 40-year-old: I was pretty good at managing a family and needed to figure out how to save for my kids’ college.
The timing and positioning of these life experiences allowed me to come into a startup company in an entry-level position, hungry to grow and quickly discover what I was good at doing. In my 30s, I was easily one of the oldest people at the company, so people saw me as a mentor. Fast company growth meant a constant stream of new folks, and after about eight months of employment, I was considered “seasoned.” All these things set me up for quick growth.
I hate being thought of as “average.” Even when I despise a task, such as Algebra, I want to be the best. It was pretty easy to be a top performer in that entry-level position. The challenge was getting others to notice and, as a result, choose me for promotion. The company was still under 40 people, so it wasn’t long before my production was noticed— I was promoted within six months.
In my next position as Search Media Outreach Specialist, I found new challenges and started enjoying work networking with bloggers and writing content for their blogs. As business continued evolving, I saw new ways for my work and career to change and grow. I felt like I was part of something significant and that I could influence change. During that time, and in part because of work I was doing, a new position was created. We needed editors to ensure that content was optimized for search engines and met our clients’ brand standards. Because I am ambitious and love content creation, I jumped at the chance to apply for the job. Once again, I was promoted.
In my new position as Search Media Editor I once again was challenged, and proving myself meant working harder than I ever had to show I had the chops to keep growing. It wasn’t just a new position Slingshot SEO created; it was an entirely new department. With more growth, our company required more leadership.
Again, I was driven to prove I was the person for the job. I applied and was promoted to my current position as Manager of Search Media Quality and Production. I’m still not done growing. There is something in me that must keep proving to myself (and others) that I can achieve the next thing … and the next and the next.
Besides hating being looked upon as average, I hate routine. The thought of doing the same thing all my life is not appealing. In past jobs, I hit the one-year mark and started looking for new opportunities. I’m going on two years at Slingshot SEO and I haven’t had that urge. The nature of providing professional SEO services demands that companies evolve quickly to meet the changing demands of search engines. The challenge of staying relevant in Google’s algorithm is not for the faint of heart, and definitely not for people in search of routine.
I’ve learned a lot about myself and about what kind of employees have fulfilling careers at a startup. Now that I’m in management, I’m on the lookout for new talent. Along with talent, I want to hire ambitious people who love a challenge. Life moves fast at a startup, and it takes some hustle to keep up. If the idea of working in dog years is exciting, then a startup company is the place for you.