Some friendly caution for startup employees

  • N Madhavan, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Aug 31, 2015 00:14 IST

Last week, at a seminar I met an executive from fashion e-commerce portal Jabong. She was dressed in a striking outfit that looked straight out of a rampwalk. I dared to ask her if that came with the job. The answer was yes, with a big smile.

Its rival Myntra, now owned by Flipkart, has an office done up like a high-street, apparently to encourage employees to think and feel like their cool customers who like to dress up.

Years ago, I saw Silicon Valley's services marketplace advertiser for a masseur to help its overworked techies. "The only masseur job with stock options," it said. Or something like that.

At the weekend, I went to check out something about Periscope, the video-streamng app owned by Twitter. And its leading employee list actually showed two pictures of dogs, one called "Chief Canine Officer" and the other said, "Canine Intern".

There are those, meanwhile, who think hot jobs have gone to the dogs. got into serious social media criticism after the respected New York Times ripped apart its human resource practices (read: tough appraisals). It seemed a ferocious watchdog had sunk its teeth into a venerably hot employer.

I saw a report later about employees at Amazon asking that the Internet giant abolish a feedback tool that enables anonymous criticism and a "forced curve employee ranking system".

Now, startup jobs are cool and hot at the same time, but at some point, the honeymoon gets over and the long marriage begins.

For the hundreds of startups mushrooming in India, there is a valuable lesson: Enjoy the ride, but do keep an eye on the scoreboard. They do start counting at some point.

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