It has been a bit more than 5 months now since I heard the call for action in the form of a job opportunity as a first tech recruit in a startup. The thought of joining a fresh company did not sound too intimidating, quite the opposite actually. I will, however, say that the term compliance, the field NordCheck operates in, was completely alien to me. For this reason, I am extremely grateful that I was given ample time to familiarize myself with everything compliance, as well as with the technology stack used here. From there on out, I’ve been taking part in customer meetings, internal software development and working on different customer solutions. 

So how about I write down five of the most important things I’ve learned and observed during these first five months at NordCheck. The focus of this blog post will be more on the general side of business rather than about compliance. In no particular order:

1. Out of your comfort zone

Working in a small team might mean that you are required to step out of your own comfort zone, and it can often feel scary or intimidating. Furthermore, for some illogical reason, you immediately vision the worst possible scenario: I’m not as good at this new thing as I would have liked. Embarrassment on a grand scale is imminent. I’ll get fired for making this one mistake. This will spread like wildfire and soon I’ll have to bolt to another continent in hopes of finding a new job. May that act as a lesson in humility.

Believe it or not but I have made mistakes and none of the things listed above happened. Either I learned something and did a better job next time, or I realized that this new thing is not for me. And they are both completely acceptable outcomes.

2. Be patient

Nobody becomes the master in one session. This can be easy to forget when you find yourself surrounded with people who seem to know what they are doing at any given time while you are there googling “How to join a Microsoft Teams meeting?”. Just keep in mind that they’ve been where you are, struggling with similar issues, the only difference being that they were instead trying to figure out how a phone could work without a cord. As the Finnish author Matti Kurjensaari said:“Experience is expensive wisdom – it costs time”.

3. Know your product

Whether I am in a sales meeting, configuring our product to fit our customers’ needs or developing our product further, none of these is possible without extensive knowledge about the product itself. What are the key features and what possibilities does it open for customers? How does the product benefit the customer? This is something I still need to work on even though I’ve tried to poke our software from all sides with weapons of many size and shape.

However, even if you know every single little detail about the product, it is of utmost importance that you can also observe it critically and therefore question why it works the way it does. Further development of the product becomes a pain in the buttocks if you think nothing could or should be improved. 

4. Take advantage of your teams’ know-how

I have always been fond of working independently and for this reason I sometimes find myself trying to solve a problem on my own for far too long. I could have just looked around me and ask a friend or a colleague for assistance. They might have bumped into the same problem and already know the solution or perhaps they don’t know the exact answer but might have a differing opinion on the matter. They might even agree with you although that may be taking it too far.

For someone who focuses heavily on independent style of working, it is remarkably easy to forget the importance of teamwork as well as the fact that the possibility even exists.

5. Don’t forget to savor every win, small or big

Getting high praises for your work feels awesome but I have noticed that taking pride in your own work takes priority. Besides, relying on others to acknowledge your successes can be a slippery slope even though in a perfect world everyone would notice and compliment you on a job well done. So, the next time you solve something that has been bothering you for a while, pat yourself on the back, or on the knee if flexibility is an issue. After that you can share the win with a colleague, drink some coffee that was freshly brewed four hours ago or blast a few jams from Spotify. Would it be too bold to say that this feel-good aura could easily lift the spirits of others around you? I think not. 

Writer Jere Hurmekoski, Junior Implementation Specialist at NordCheck