Jul 29, 2022

My Transition to Working at a Scaleup

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The ups and downs of changing countries and careers

My life used to look very different. I used to work as a Content Product Support Specialist with a company in Lebanon called Refinitiv a London Stock Exchange business (previously Thomson Reuters).My job there, first and foremost, was to look after our clients worldwide. After spending almost seven years with them, I decided I needed to change. I wanted to pursue a different career and a new experience. I did that by going back to school. I wanted to expand my knowledge and found a Master's program in International Business Negotiations that intrigued me. During my time at university, I also got my Key Account Management diploma from the Association of Key Account Managers in the UK. After I finished my degree, I applied to a scaleup company called OCUS. The company struck me as a very techie scaleup, a unique and SaaS-based company. It was exactly the kind of company I wanted to learn more from. Once I met the team, it just clicked. I thought, “Okay, I want to do this.”

OCUS' Key Account Manager smiling

But the transition from a big company to a tech start up (now scale up) wasn’t easy. Once I joined OCUS, I realized how little I previously knew. I went in having prior knowledge of standard procedures from my last company- “This is what we do. This is how we do it.” At OCUS, yes, we have rules, regulations, and procedures, but we also create new ones. We act upon clients’ feedback for us to improve, enhance, or create new products. We’re constantly evolving. We're always finding new solutions. I remember after a couple of weeks of being at OCUS, I felt like I'd been there for six months or a year. It took me around a couple of weeks to get into with how we do things internally. The transition to working at a scale up is very different, like nothing that I have would have expected. People here are very autonomous. When you reach out, you get direct answers to your questions. The environment is very friendly. The most difficult part was catching up and learning how to prioritize. I would get feedback about multiple issues that needed to be dealt with - learning how and what to prioritize took some experience, as you would need to know which feedback would affect the operations more than another. There was also a learning curve when it came to dealing with clients. Working at a company with global clients made me reevaluate so much of what I thought I knew about business practices. For example, there are some cultures that trust quickly, and some cultures need time. Building trust makes your relationships much easier in the long run. But learning how each culture interacts, how to be polite and trustworthy, took time. Even the small things, like having a cup of coffee together or taking the right amount of time for small talk, make all the difference. Working at a scale up means that things don’t stagnate or stay the same for too long. In the OCUS work culture, we always upgrade, update, or change our internal workflows, depending on how we feel the clients are impacted. So there's always an element of change. It's very fast paced- always trying to find new solutions, which is so rewarding.

In my previous workplace, I was 1 of 30,000 employees. In Lebanon, I wasn’t able to get my voice across to the CEO or the founders with any new ideas. At OCUS, I can do that. The impact that I can have is immeasurable, much more (according to me) than being 1 out of 30,000 doing a job.Basically, every time I add to my knowledge of the company or about my job, it feels great. Working at OCUS, I just keep learning, learning, learning. If you’re looking to get into a new job at a scale up, here’s my advice to you: get ready to be challenged…but in a positive way. Prepare to challenge yourself. I think there’s no position more exciting or rewarding than one where you can grow and make a real difference.