Earlywork #4: How to Evaluate (Potential) Job Fit & Satisfaction
Featuring roles from Spotify, Outwrite, Cover Genius & more + an interview with Ho Jun Tang (Co-Founder of Yellowbox)
It’s ya boi Dan and let’s get this bread with Volume 4 of Earlywork, a newsletter focused on shortlisting the best roles for students & recent graduates across tech & startups in Sydney.
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💡 Weekly Cheeky Tip:
How to Evaluate (Potential) Job Fit & Satisfaction
An unsolved topic that fascinates me when thinking about early-stage careers: job fit & satisfaction.
If you’re reading this newsletter, you’re a probably young keen bean looking to learn some interesting stuff, work on cool products with some semblance of “meaning” and do it with some good people by your side.
But how the hecc do you know if you’re in the right job for you (or if an opportunity is a good fit for you)?
Generally, there’s a gut feel around these things, but throughout my working life as a student, I found that by formalising and regularly assessing my core drivers for job fit & satisfaction, I was able to make better decisions about the roles I did (and didn’t) take.
Today, I’ll share with you the 3 key factors I use to think about these areas.
What sort of skills and knowledge do I want to build, and how quickly am I learning these?
Early in your career, the importance of learning is almost a cliche. There are two facets to learning that I think are helpful to think about more deeply:
Velocity of learning: This is probably the factor that people tend to jump to when they think about learning. How much/how quickly are you learning, and is this slowing down or plateauing? In the first few months of a job, the learning rate is usually relatively high. A lot of jobs will teach a great skill initially but then regress to more incremental optimisation, whereas others continually provide a high learning rate across distinct skills (especially helpful early in your career).
Alignment with nature of learning: You might be learning a ton of things, but are you learning the right things? With any role, consider not just learning volume, but what things you want to learn in the first place. Critical to this is the idea of leverage: are these skills and knowledge things I can extensively utilise in my desired future path and projects, or will they be forgotten and wasted?
What sort of problems do I want to build solutions for, and how much impact am I having over these problems?
Similar to learning, the impact you have in your work should be considered both in terms of type and volume of impact. Here are three key dimensions to evaluate:
Alignment with nature of impact: What type of impact do you think is worth making in the first place? Not all industries and problems are created equal, and so there’s some soul searching to be done on what pain points and problems you most want to spend your time on. My general qualitative guideline here is to find problems that piss you off and find companies that you think are remedying these problems in the most effective way.
Degree of collective impact: What is the overall tangible impact of my entire company’s work collectively on the intended problem space? How many people are we affecting (niche or general appeal, local or global scale) and what is the average net impact on each of those people (mild benefit vs. life-changing)?
Degree of individual impact: What margin of impact am I having on the company? Does my role make a significant individual difference to core decisions around customers, product development, marketing, investment, and so forth? How would the company trajectory differ without me?
What sort of people do I want to build things with?
Learning a ton and working on a really cool problem with high impact doesn’t always guarantee fulfillment at work? For me, the biggest remaining ingredient is whether I have a sense of camaraderie (mutual trust and friendship) with my team i.e. I enjoy working with these people specifically, putting aside skillset and problem space. When shit hits the fan, being around people who you respect & trust can really help you push through tricky problems:
The core drivers of these relationships? Everyone will screen for different traits, but for me, the six most important characteristics in the people I want to be around are:
The resultant equation: Learning + Impact + Camaraderie = Job Satisfaction.
Of course, this framework is not a set of inherent mathematical axioms. People are motivated by different things, and so an actionable takeaway is to think about what set of factors are your key drivers, whether these or others.
Once you’ve come to some sense of a career satisfaction paradigm, you can set up a recurring cadence e.g. monthly to more granularly assess satisfaction in your current role, as well as evaluate potential job opportunities for fit.
⛅ Intern & Part-Time Roles
Information Systems & Technology Intern, Apple
Leading multinational technology company building consumer electronics and software. You’ve probably heard of them.
Network Support Engineer, Cisco Meraki
Cloud-managed IT company with a focus on security, routers & switches.
Junior Software Developer, Tertiary Tech (through Hatch)
Early-stage startup providing information about tertiary degrees.
Junior Software Engineer, Domain (through Hatch)
Digital property group providing online advertising and media services in the property space.
Podcast Programming Intern, Spotify
Global digital music & podcast streaming service.
E-Commerce Retail Intern, Amazon
Leading global eCommerce marketplace.
Corporate Development & Strategy Intern, Tyro
Fintech specialising in merchant credit, debit and EFTPOS.
Legal Intern, Harrison.ai
Clinician-led healthcare artificial intelligence (AI) company.
Operations Support Associate, General Assembly (through Hatch)
Alternative education provider offering short courses focused on practical technology, business & design skills.
🌞 Graduate & Full-Time Roles
Data Analyst, Canva
Graphic design platform for teams.
Software Engineer (Python), Mathspace
Online mathematics program designed for students in primary/elementary, secondary, and higher education.
Java Software Engineer, Genbook
Online solution that helps small business entrepreneurs build a better business experience.
Data Analyst, Propeller Aero
End-to-end solution to track, map, and measure worksites.
iOS Engineer, hipages
Online marketplace connecting homeowners to registered tradespeople.
Marketing Analyst, Afterpay
Buy now, pay later service that allows customers to shop at stores, and pay in interest-free installments.
Customer Success Associate, Datadog
Monitoring service for cloud-scale applications.
Email Marketing Specialist, Lyka Pet Food
Online pet food subscription company.
Insurance Product Analyst, Cover Genius
Insurance distribution platform that enables companies in a wide range of industries to sell or distribute any line of insurance in any country.
Program Specialist (Strategy & Planning), Uber
Technology marketplace platform covering ridesharing, food delivery & more.
Product Designer, Outwrite
AI tech startup helping people become powerful writers.
1️⃣ 🕐 💪 One Minute Hustle
We are back once again with One Minute Hustle, a bite-sized interview with an emerging Australian young startup founder or operator.
Each week, I ask a young startup founder or operator 3 simple questions:
What are you working on❓
How’d you get started❓
Why do you do what you do❓
Today, let’s get inside the noggin of…
Ho Jun Tang, Co-Founder of Yellowbox
What are you working on? I’m working to build a network of smart lockers, available for you to reserve and use on-demand with your phone. Found in convenient locations, where you just want to be hands-free.
How'd you get started? It all started as an idea within the UNSW Peter Farrell Cup Pitching competition in 2018, with my co-founders Vanessa, Adrian, and Ben. We hustled to mock-up the app and Yellowbox locker to test our ideas with customers and partners and ended up coming 2nd. From there we decided to develop the product, participated in the 10x Accelerator Program before launching into the market.
Why do you do what you do? Countless times when I was in the city either after work or university, I found myself carrying around a workbag or backpack. I would have to either cop it the whole night or trek it home just to put my stuff down. Our motto at Yellowbox is to ‘let life fit around you’, giving people the freedom to be hands-free and stress-free. In relation to building and working on a startup, it is the ability to create something that impacts how people live their lives and learning at an unimaginable pace.
What topic would you like to see me cover next? Which student founder story do you think is worth sharing?
Flick me an email or leave a comment below.
Ciao for now,