… as a foreigner.
When I moved to Spain from Sweden three years ago in order to pursue an entrepreneurial career, people thought I had lost it. The country was still working hard to recuperate from the financial crisis, which had led to an extreme unemployment rate where 50% of people under 25 years were without a job. Not only did I fall into this category, I neither knew the language or had much knowledge about the working in Spain.
Today I’m a proud employee of MarketGoo and I look back at the decision of coming here with nada regrets. Here are three reasons to why working in a Spanish startup can feel like an endless fiesta.
- Getting Social
It’s not entirely true that we Scandinavians are cold and not very sociable, but at the same time it’s still close enough to reality. Therefore, office conversations tends to be very short and you make very sure that you don’t turn into that person infamous for endlessly chatting in the office.
In Spain it’s the opposite, you are expected to engage in conversations – regularly and long enough to actually get to know your colleagues. This can be nerve wrecking in the beginning as you feel you are “wasting time”, but soon you’ll realize that these chats lead to the absolute opposite. If you’re having a tough day, someone will be there to make you feel better and get on with it. If you’re stuck on a project, someone will always be willing to have a chat about it. If you are dead tired from crunching numbers all day, there will be someone to brighten your day with a casual talk. So in the end you realize how these talks are not harming your productivity but rather work as some sort of video game power-up.
- Startups, startups, startups – everywhere!
In spite of the slow economic growth, Spain’s startup scene is growing at a rapidly increasing rate. Just last week, Financial Times published an article talking about how the economic crisis has lead to cheaper rent and labor costs in Madrid, and how this is aiding resource constrained startups (read it here). Giants such as Google, Amazon, and BBVA has set up incubators and tech hubs while organizations such as IE Business School and Startup Spain host regular events to connect the Spanish startup ecosystem.
In Spain, finding new members for your team or a business partner couldn’t be much easier. Just pop into one of the many gathering spots and you’ll soon be having talks over a caña with a new partner or client.
- Quality of Life
Spain is the country that has the most bars per capita in the world. Theoretically, you could almost fit the whole Spanish population inside its bars at the same time – so there’s no lack of places to go for an after work. The country is also ranked, according to the OECD Better Life Index, among the top 4 countries in community and work-life balance.
“But as an entrepreneur I don’t have time to go out, I got work to do..”
– I used to say the same, until I realized how workaholic-friendly Spain can be. A workday usually starts around 10am and dinner plans tend to be around 10pm. This means that you can work a 12h day and still have time for friends and family in the evening – and also taking into account my first point, that makes being at work feel like you’re just hanging out with your friends.
Should you stay or should you go?
Well, that’s completely up to you. These points can either contribute to the time of your life or end up in endless frustrations. You’ll have plenty of embarrassing moments – like asking to put on the AC porque estoy caliente – but nothing keeps you going like laughter, so you can expect the weeks to just fly by.
For me, I’ll be here at MarketGoo, continuing to help business owners improve their online presence without without spending excessive time and money – so they also can spend more time with their colleagues, or maybe have a siesta now and then.