For new parents, making the move from a traditional role in the corporate sector to a start-up might seem risky. But working mom, Aileen Reilly, shares a few considerations that might change your perspective.
“I started my career as a management consultant,” said Aileen. “I knew it wasn’t the right path for me, but I wasn’t sure what was. I ended up moving to a mining company to work on a large-scale transformation project and after few years my role was made redundant. It wasn’t totally unexpected as I had spent my time there on projects aiming to reduce costs in the business, but it was still confronting”
It just goes to show, roles in large, long-standing companies don’t necessarily guarantee job security.
This unfortunate situation, however, prompted Aileen pursue one of her lifelong dreams: moving to London.
“I worked in one of the financial epicentres of the world. I loved the buzz of the city – there’s nothing quite like a view of St Paul’s from your desk! I had the opportunity to work on transformational projects in banking and asset management and had a brief stint in a blockchain start-up.”
After having her second daughter, Aileen and her husband decided to return to Australia – amidst the global pandemic. She admits such big life changes prompted some soul searching.
“I’d gained a taste of what working outside a corporate environment could be like and was determined to explore it further. I immersed myself in learning about Brisbane’s start-up ecosystem – the more I absorbed, the more I was convinced it was the right step.
“I actually signed up to Swyftx as a customer. When I realized they were local, I jumped onto their careers site, applied for the operations role, and the rest is history!”
In her new role as Operations Manager at Swyftx, Aileen loves that she gets to experience a wide range of responsibilities.
“The core of my role is ‘bringing clarity to chaos’ by solving problems and providing the foundations for Swyftx to thrive. I’m currently driving the integration of Swyftx and Superhero. But so far, I’ve been involved in everything from performing analysis to determine our global expansion strategy, to facilitating the company OKR (Objectives and Key Results) process and implementing a new payroll system.”
Here are four benefits Aileen loves the most about working in a growing start-up – and encourages other new parents to consider too!
1. Risks grant unexpected rewards
It was Aileen’s move to London – with no job, home, or support network – and making it a success that gave her the confidence to take risks.
“Amazing things can come from taking risks. It made me realize you can always depend on yourself. I managed to build an incredible life, make lasting friendships, and gain great career experience.”
In fact, if it wasn’t for this move, she may not have experienced a start-up culture.
“It helped me discover a love of being part of creating something new. I’ve always thrived in unconventional, fast-paced environments. This insight, coupled with my interest in tech and innovation made moving to a start-up or scale-up seem like a natural fit.”
Joining a start-up can be a calculated risk with big rewards.
“Despite wanting to move away from corporate, it was still a leap for me to move away from the fancy job titles and well-recognized brands with clear career trajectories. But I’m so glad I took the leap. It’s inspiring to work among super-talented people, pushing the boundaries of possibility in the pursuit of creating something new”
2. There are more opportunities to explore
As Aileen can attest, one of the greatest benefits of working in a start-up are the endless opportunities to explore different areas in a business. She loves seeing people at Swyftx move into new departments.
“We’re encouraged to dream big and swing for the fences. I love working with a modern tech and tool stack. And frankly, I may never work for a company that doesn’t let me wear jeans and sneakers to work again!”
If you’re a new parent considering the move to a start-up, take it from Aileen.
“Follow your passions and interests. I’m inspired by people who challenge the status quo, are deeply passionate about their craft, and build a life that’s true to themselves.”
3. Cultures of support and flexibility are breaking the mould
You may think working in a start-up means long hours and poor flexibility – not ideal for working parents!
But Aileen explains, this isn’t the case at Swyftx. The company’s welcoming, supportive, and encouraging culture enables her to do her best work.
“I anticipated lots of early starts and late finishes in being a new starter, and my husband said he’d support me. But I was so surprised to learn this isn’t necessary at Swyftx! They make that clear from the start.
“This is actually the first job where I’m not made to feel guilty about leaving early if needed. We’re trusted to get the work done and all support each other to do so.”
Another surprising realization Aileen’s experienced? Swyftx’s culture has helped her to develop personally too.
“I’ve always had ambition and an innate drive for perfection, but I’m getting better at finding the balance. Motherhood made me realize you can have it all – but maybe not all at once. There’s never enough time to achieve everything in a day, and that’s okay.
“Fill your cup by doing things that make you a happier, more productive, and better person. For me, that’s exercise, good sleep, and quality time with people I love.”
Swyftx is leading the way in parental support with gender-neutral parental leave policies, full-pay parental leave, programs for new parents, and more.
4. You can contribute to a meaningful mission
Perhaps, unsurprisingly, more and more start-ups are becoming mission driven. This gives more opportunities for people to connect, contribute, and engage in meaningful work.
Aileen is grateful to contribute to Swyftx’s purpose of providing a trusted financial ecosystem that gives people access to intuitive technology, tools, and support. In doing so, she and her team members get to share in their futures.
“It’s humbling to be part of something with the potential to shape people’s lives. Contributing to something that has an impact allows me to trust I’m doing good work. It’s also fulfilling to continually learn and level up.”
It’s never too late to feelthese benefits yourself
Perhaps the biggest lesson Aileen has to offer is that: having the courage to explore and step into the unknown counts for a lot.
“It’s never too late to change direction – I’m only just finding my career feet in my mid 30s! I pivoted, arguably, with terrible timing: two young kids, moving halfway around the world, and still trying to build career experience.
“But I’ve never felt more at peace. It’s okay to not have everything figured out, to take a chance, and fail. It’s okay to pivot at any point. These things take time and are worth investing in.”