Careers advice for new starters
This blog is the first in a series of business advice from Octopus Energy’s founder and CEO Greg Jackson.
Greg is a serial tech entrepreneur and expert on all things business, having founded, sold and invested in a number of successful e-commerce businesses over the years. Octopus is his magnum opus, taking on the tired, old energy market and tackling the climate crisis at the same time. Stay tuned as Greg gives weekly advice on founding, owning, operating and scaling a business.
“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”President John F. Kennedy
What’s the most important advice you have for young job seekers?
The most important advice is to make sure you do what you love. As a company, we are growing constantly and hiring constantly. We wouldn’t be able to do half of the innovative and industry-defining things we do without the amazing individuals that make up our team, who really believe in our mission and work on the things that they are best at and that make them happiest.
I know the greater the gap between what makes you happy and what you’re doing at the moment, the more stressed, less happy and unfulfilled you will be. There is mounting pressure on young people to be deemed successful, and that can lead to career decisions that aren’t the best for you. The most important thing for our new team members is to be 100% honest with themselves, to do what they’re good at and what they enjoy, and make sure their work aligns with that.
What do you look for in a new starter?
When I meet all of our new starters - which I always make sure to do during introductory training - the ones that stand out to me are the ones that ask themselves what they can do for the company, rather than what the company can do for them, they look at their own skills and wants, see what they can bring to the table and do their best.
In return, they trust that the more they give to helping the company succeed, the more they get out of it. We place faith in each other, we do our very best and support each other - and in return our colleagues get to work somewhere they enjoy, do something they love and make a big green dent in the universe while doing so.
Should you try to make an impact as a new starter?
It’s funny, people are always giving out advice that you should make yourself known, but it’s just not realistic in every role. You couldn’t have a football team full of 11 Maradonas, and likewise you can’t have a company where everyone is trying to attain personal glory.
The best football teams are made up of a team that works hard, supports each other and contributes to a team win, and the best companies are made up of people who support each other in their goals.Thankfully, our company structure is very flat, with so many opportunities to make the job your own and find your own happiness. So I’d rather you support your team and colleagues to help us all achieve a win, rather than make a significant impact straight away.
What makes some colleagues stand out from the rest?
Flexibility. Definitely flexibility. The colleagues that stand out often turn to their team and say “look, I know this isn’t part of my job, but if there’s anything I can do to help you, I’m all ears.” They muck in even if it is far away from what they were employed to do. This even extends to our senior management team too, who are never above answering the phone to a customer when it's needed.
Some people just want to come to work, do their job, and deliver what is expected of them. The ones that I really notice, are those who are focused on delivering the outcome that really matters, to customers *and* the company. The people who are happy and willing to turn their hand to anything, not just “their job” are the ones that most succeed.
Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!×Close window