Knoxon

Career advice from the newest people at Knoxon

by Alex Iftode

Over the past few months, the Knoxon team has been growing steadily, and among the bright new minds in the team are Raluca, Rob, and Vlad.

This is their first run-in with the world of product development and I was curious how their experience has been so far, so we had a chat.

Turns out - pretty good! In fact, they’ve raised a few good points about what it’s like to enter the IT job market and we thought we’d share their new-found wisdom.

It’s okay to be nervous

If there’s one thing that everyone from all walks of life, all educational backgrounds, all industries has in common, it’s that they were all nervous at their first job/internship.

Thankfully, it goes away on its own. Especially as you get over unfounded fears.

What were your expectations? Did it turn out the way you expected?

Raluca: “I was afraid it would be one of those nightmare workplaces where you sit in your square for 8 hours straight. Thankfully, It’s been nothing like that here.”

After a while and some completed tasks, you might even start to feel confident. That’s when some new challenge appears and you’re back at square one. It’s fine, running into something new to learn is a sign that you’re in the right place. After a few years, you might even end up missing these moments.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break and ask for help. Just because the people around you are working doesn’t mean they won’t have time for you.

Overwhelmed

What was the scariest thing so far?

Rob: “Being my first job, failure, and disappointing the team were my biggest fears. That and the coffee running out just as I arrive at the office.”

Rather than trying to hide your worries, accept the fact, and move on. You have an excellent chance to improve yourself. Don’t waste because you’re afraid you’ll seem clueless.

Speaking of improvement…

Your first objective is to learn

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your career. While contributing to the results of the company you’re at is important, you should prioritize gaining experience and learning.

Excellent professionals don’t just know the ins and outs of their particular job. There are plenty of important traits and soft skills that are needed across the board.

For example - understanding the difference between work and results. Companies don’t hire people just to look busy, they want results. Sure, results come from work but it’s up to you to do it smartly and get more results for less work.

What do you think is the most important thing you’ve learned here so far?

Vlad: “That how many tasks you complete is a lot more important than how many hours you spend at the office.”

Rob: “How to organize my tasks, my time, and how to respect deadlines.”

Raluca: “That is okay to make mistakes, to not know something basic, or to spend more time on a task that you first estimated. After all, learning is what matters.”

Being able to predict your output and finding your rhythm at the office is crucial. You’ll most likely work as part of a team and they’ll depend on you to do your part on time.

Meeting

At first, you’ll mess up a few times. No worries, that’s to be expected. As long as you learn something from your mistakes, you’re moving forward. On the same note, don’t hesitate to ask teammates for help or advice. When you improve, your whole team improves.

The cultural and team fit are essential

Plenty of people don’t know this when they’re just entering the job market, but cultural fit should be one of the first criteria by which you choose the workplace.

If your values and those of the business you’re at don’t match, you might find yourself disliking the job more and more as time goes on. If it’s your first job or internship, you might even think that you’ve misjudged your chosen career path when, in reality, you’re just not compatible with the company.

Another important point is how well you’ll get along with your team and especially your boss. You’ll be spending lots of time with these people, both working and learning. They don’t have to become your best friends, but at the very least you’ll need to get along with them.

How would you describe the company culture at Knoxon?

Rob: “The company culture is the glue that keeps teams united and raises their productivity. I’ve volunteered at plenty of organizations, each with their unique culture, but none of them compare to Knoxon.”

Vlad: “Everyone is friends with everyone.”

In our case, the culture stems from the idea that happy teams create better products. We keep the work environment casual and friendly. It’s worked well so far.

Don’t forget to have fun

As plenty of people will tell you, having a job and having fun daily are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it’s crucial that they’re not.

Whether it’s something small like a joke in the hallway (or more likely on slack) or some bombastic event like a team-building retreat, there are plenty of opportunities to relax and bond with your colleagues.

One of the first things you’ll learn on the job (or at least you should learn) is that you can’t give 100% every single day. You need to pace yourself, relax from time to time, or you’ll just burn out.

Don’t wait for the fun to come to you, create it! Life is too short to worry about what others think about you and the workday is too long to survive without a little fun.

Fun

What was the most shocking thing so far?

Rob: “That people laugh at my crappy jokes.”

What it’s like to start with Knoxon

Instead of going on and on about the atmosphere and experience we want to offer in the Knoxon office, I’ll let the stars of this article describe their time with us.

How would you describe your experience at Knoxon so far?

Rob: “I can say I’m happy to come into the office. I like my work, I learn something new every day and I spend time with cool people.”

Raluca: “Overall, much better than expected. I got a warm welcome, even though I worked from home the first week. The colleagues were (and still are) cool and friendly, so they made me feel comfortable. I was never afraid to ask something (related to tasks or not), thinking that I may look stupid or be judged. The only “struggle” was telling if someone was serious or joking.”

Vlad: “It’s a very pleasant work environment: cool people, fun activities like the company breakfast, the Friday storytelling contest (when we get a few beers and basically try to top each other’s stories).”

I’ll leave you with one last piece of advice - said by Rob, felt by all of us.

“Be yourself. If you got into Knoxon it means you’re pretty cool.”