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I became a manager for the first time in my life ✨
I’ve been working with Ubu for the last 5 months, and so far I’ve been functioning as a one-person marketing team, handling pretty much everything marketing-related.
It’s been great learning, but I realized it was time to expand to be able to do and learn more—and so I hired an intern to join me!
Here’s what I’ve learned so far about being a first-time manager.
The things I've learned about being a manager
I had some REALLY great managers that inspired me and guided me when I did internships at Springworks in Bangalore and Giggster in Los Angeles, and I’m very motivated and inspired to give Marine the same great experience that I had.
The biggest takeaway that I had from my past experiences was that I was inspired. My managers taught me a lot not just about marketing, but also about softer aspects of functioning in a startup environment and negotiating things with senior management.
More than anything, they were people that I could trust and whom I could go to for pretty much anything. Unsurprisingly, I’m still in touch with them—they still teach me a lot, and I continue to be inspired by them.
Intern ≠ Assistant
The common thread across my previous startup internship experiences, which is what made them so great, was that I didn’t feel like an assistant. I felt like an equal teammate.
Actually, this is my philosophy on company hierarchy and in life as well—everyone is a peer.
The CEO, the intern, the admin staff, we’re all peers. We just have different jobs.
And the job of the intern is not to be my assistant—I would have hired an assistant if I wanted one.
I’ve also had internships at some companies where I felt like an assistant—and those were not my best manager relationships, and definitely not my favorite internships.
At Giggster and Springworks, there were specific projects I had ownership on—and when those projects did well, I felt GREAT because I knew they were MINE.
When the projects didn’t do that great, I also learnt a LOT and I received a lot of support from my managers on how to improve them.
This is what made me even more motivated to do my work. My managers didn’t tell me what to do—they inspired and empowered me to tell them what we should do.
And this is what I’m trying to do with Marine as well.
I also had ownership to set up my desk the way I wanted, which was great
Supporting and listening is part of the job
When something goes wrong, when my team needs advice, they’re gonna look up to me. And it’s my job to listen and give advice and constructive feedback when required.
When things are going great, it’s also my job to give feedback and congratulate them on their success. Publicly, preferably!
Paying it forward
When I was at Giggster as well as at Estée Lauder, my managers bought me lunch every now and then, and they told me just one thing: “When you have an intern, do the same thing. Pay it forward!”
And so I did the same thing. And I told my ex-CEO about it, and he was delighted.
Honestly, in the last 5 months at this startup, I’ve learned WAY more than I imagined I would—and actually, most of my valuable learnings have been in the soft skills and people management department.
And managing isn’t just managing down—it’s also managing yourself and managing up.
I realized that hard skills can be learned pretty easily, but it’s these three types of management skills that are gonna make my career.
Are you a manager? Are you an intern? What have you learnt so far? Hit “reply” and let me know!
See you guys in the next one ✨