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Virtue at Work: Working at a Small Start-Up


Working for a Small Business with JobVirtue

By: Maya Sokolovski, Staff Writer

multitasking (via blog.gorichmondrealestate.com)

image via: blog.gorichmondrealestate.com

For the past two years, I’ve been employed in various roles for the job search start-up JobVirtue.com. As is often the case when working for a small business, my position within the company went through a number of big changes, so that I can happily say that the work I do now is nothing like the work I did when I first started—each season brings with it new duties, new tasks and new responsibilities, and my experience evolves in time with the company’s growth.

Perhaps readers know what I’m talking about. A hefty 46% of all businesses in Canada are small businesses (as of July 2011, the most recent date for statistics on the subject), so chances are high that a good percentage of you are employed in a company with less–maybe much less–than 100 employees. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about; we can’t all work for the Fortune 100.

But back to my job. The workload varies from week to week; I sometimes find myself completing tasks that feel way over my head; website development is ongoing and unending; and business pressures threaten to turn the staff and management into pudding at every sharp turn. But do I regret staying on-board for so long and through so much? Not on your life.

Over my brief career working for JobVirtue, I’ve done all of the following as part of my job:

  • Scripted and recorded a video resume
  • Written and edited a boatload of content and copy
  • Prepared reports and manuals
  • Drafted official correspondence and other documents
  • Sourced, edited and uploaded graphics and other art
  • Provided administrative assistance to management and co-workers
  • Translated from Russian into English
  • Completed SEO work that helped bump up the site’s online rankings
  • Edited PHP and HTML code
  • Created numerous Excel spreadsheets
  • Conducted B2B communications with companies in various industries
  • Provided my professional opinion on site design and development, among other things
  • Prepared and submitted press materials and releases
  • Worked on the site’s back-end using various database platforms
  • Connected and communicated with freelancers across the globe
  • Scripted (and re-scripted, multiple times) a Flash video about website features
  • Trained a potential replacement to do my work instead of, and/or as a complement, to me

And these were not even part of the job description.

It’s not a glamorous list, by any means. My unofficial job title may be “Floater” or “Gal Friday”, simply because I’m often asked to complete whatever work is needed at the moment–and it can vary a lot. But by sticking with this job over the long haul, I’ve managed to sample different kinds of work—from marketing, to writing, to editing, to coding—and find where my weaknesses and strengths lie; together, these experiences shaped me into the kind of worker (and writer) I am today. That’s the beauty of working for a small business.

The work is very flexible, and allows for many learning opportunities. I’ll never forget the day I approached my boss with a marketing idea based on a number of books I picked up at the local library. He actually gave me the opportunity to come in to work one day and sit at my desk and study these books and make notes on them. Just how many university students get paid to study?

I received a number of competing job offers early on in my time working for JobVirtue, but I decided to stick it out. And I’m glad I did; today I enjoy a healthy working relationship with the company, and the satisfaction of having solid experience working in an environment that encourages innovative and entrepreneurial thinking. The pay’s not too bad, either.


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