Imagine this: Walking down the dankly lit hallway of a large skyscraper in the heart of Toronto; you pass numerous doors until you reach the one you’re searching for. You slowly open it, unsure of what you’ll find, and discover yourself amidst chaos: A large, bright room full of people in suits and dresses at their own large, spacious desks, yelling into phones; bosses running from table to table, trying to keep things under control. Nobody notices you’re even there. This is what I imagined a start-up company would be like, and oh, was I wrong.
Not completely wrong at least. There was some yelling into phones, and quite a bit of chaos- but minus the glamour and at a much smaller scale. The skyscraper with the huge sun filled room-scratch that. Don’t just scratch that out; cover it with a million X marks until it is no longer visible. Instead what I found was a small, dark, very cold basement of a house, and it certainly was not in a bustling neighbourhood. Not to mention, when I walked into the room I was the only one there! That was the moment my wild imagination gave itself a reality check.
There was a single, long desk filling the room where everyone would sit. A small trickle of sunlight managed to sneak its way through the windows. I had worn a dress, unsure of how formal the attire was expected to be-until people began showing up in jeans. I had never seen such a casual work setting. By the time everyone arrived we were packed in, almost too close for comfort. But if these revelations made me think for one second that it would be a dull day, I was one hundred percent wrong. It was so chaotic, I almost considered quitting! I mentioned there was still yelling into phones- I was expected to yell into phones!
The cause of this chaos- a big deal the company had going, a start-up company just starting to grow, with only a few people to handle it. Kelly, the CEO, was like a ticking time bomb, pacing around the room doing three things at once-and I say this with complete honesty: trying to teach me what to do, making a phone call, working on her computer. Not surprisingly, I received two minute tutorials on how to do the tasks I was assigned- I was completely lost. I somehow managed to stumble my way through the day without messing anything up, and how I achieved this I will never know.
And not only Kelly had her hands full, everyone did. The workload was large for such a small company and since there weren’t many people working there yet, everyone was juggling a million things at once. Yet everyone was so laid back and calm despite it all, with the exception of Kelly; she definitely did not sit down for more than two seconds the entire day. I definitely have a lot more respect for small companies after the day I had. Obviously, I decided to stick it out, and I’m grateful I did-there’s a lot to be learned from a start-up company and the people who run them. And who knows, maybe Remote Stylist will be a multimillion- no, billion- dollar company one day, and I can say that I was a part of it!
Emily is a second year English student at Wilfrid Laurier University, and Product Management Associate Intern at Remote Stylist.