Why did I say yes to a two month marketing position in a city I’d never been to and I didn’t speak the language of? Opportunity.
Aside from overall career progress, the prospect of working with a company like Mandala Group, a social enterprise startup, building tech products for social problems, was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Firstly, the work I would get to do would be all the things I love working on - branding and growing the audience.
But secondly and more importantly, it’s a pretty rare to be given the opportunity to work for a brand that is meaningful and inspiring.
Mandala Group has helped illiterate mothers to read to their children for the first time, they’ve helped create safe and reliable transport for women in Kenya, they’ve helped young girls in Kenya learn how to read, and now they’re helping Chinese farmers better communicate with cooperative managers, to facilitate a more stable income.
This is fulfilling work. This is work you move continents for.
Plus, I really believe that working for a startup is like bootcamp for your career. If you need something done, you’re going to have to do it yourself. If you don’t know how to do it, you’re going to have to find a way to learn how. Having limited resources will make you more resourceful.
So far, my days in Shanghai have mainly consisted of working with the Mandala Group team in their co-working space, wandering the streets of Shanghai, eating as many dumplings as possible, and coming home to the Mandala Group residence, where the whole team lives together.
Each night, I hear about everyone’s days, what they’ve learned, and I am inspired and motivated by this.
Moral of the story: take the opportunities that are given to you, especially if they’re outside your comfort zone. They usually pay off in unexpected and wonderful ways!