During the summer after my freshman year of college, I interned for Nextgengolf, a Boston-based golf startup that connects young golfers to the golfing scene across the United States. Here are some of the lessons I've learned and differences I've discerned between working for a smaller startup and a larger corporation.
Since September of last year, I’ve been working as a web development intern for Nextgengolf, a local golf startup that connects millennial and college-aged golfers to the golfing scene across the United States. At Nextgengolf, I was given the opportunity to learn and develop both my interpersonal and technical skills. Additionally, I met some pretty amazing people, among some of the most dedicated and devoted people I’ve ever worked with.
Prior to landing this internship, I had the misconception that my internship would involve a lot of coffee runs and shoe polishing, but I was instantly proved deathly incorrect my first week on the job. When I arrived for my first day, my bosses swiftly got me up to date with the organizational structure of the company and what short-term and long-term tasks I would need to complete. The amount of responsibility that I was entrusted with was definitely overwhelming, but slightly flattering as well.
Over the next several months, I quickly learned that a startup environment is nothing like working for a large corporation. I had previously held a position at Staples, where all of my co-workers in my department held the same position and were hired based off the same set of credentials and skills. There, each employee was expected to adhere to a strict set of rules and perform the same set of tasks. Each employee was easily replaceable, and I occasionally felt that my work was not valued.
Instead, working at a startup is like a Rube Goldberg machine. If one part of the machine doesn’t work, the whole machine doesn’t work. Each employee relied on others to complete their tasks accurately and in order for the whole company to move forward. As a result, I felt more instinctually compelled to produce higher quality work.
Looking back at my time with Nextgengolf, I can say this was easily the most valuable work experience I’ve had so far. In terms of the technical skills I’ve gained, my ability to design and program websites has grown immensely. However, what I think is most valuable is the realization that I want to continue working in startup environments in the future, to continue to dedicate myself to helping advance the mission of a company I believe in, and to continue to honing my skills both in and out of the workplace.
As a closing word, I want to give a big thank you to the people who have my time at Nextgengolf so welcoming and enjoyable. Thank you to Kris, Mahesh, Tom, and Travis for helping me along the way. You've helped cope with all the mistakes I made, supported me during the moments of incompetency I felt, and particpated in friendly mockery that I miss to this day. Thanks for having me.