Sean Gaskin, Manager, Mortgage Specialist Team

From a Big Bank to a Tech Startup: Four Noticeable Differences

I worked at one of the largest national banks for 18 years when I knew it was time for a change. While I amassed an incredible amount of knowledge working alongside brilliant mortgage minds, I woke up wanting more. My career in banking was an accident – it wasn’t my passion. I longed to channel my expertise into a role that put me in the proverbial “driver’s seat.”

As I began exploring different options across the country, a Denver-area recruiter reached out with an opportunity at a mature startup. After nearly two decades in big-bank corporate culture, transitioning to a startup never really occurred to me – trading stability and certainty for unpredictability and greater responsibility. I was intrigued and, with my family in tow, moved across the country to start life as a PromonTech employee.

As one might expect, startup life is notably different than corporate life. After nearly a year on the job, here are the four biggest differences I’ve experienced working at a fintech startup:

CULTURE
At the bank, I found myself working around many people who, like me, were there out of comfort or necessity. At PromonTech, people show up for more than the paycheck – everyone is passionate about the work we are doing.

From developers to designers to mortgage-industry specialists, entrepreneurial and like-minded individuals are aligned with company goals and enthusiastic about helping them be achieved. PromonTech’s collaborative, transparent culture fosters excellence and drives us to happily work side-by-side to engineer truly innovative solutions.

PACE
Startups are built around speed: Build. Test. Release. Iterate. Maintaining an aggressive, progress-driven pace becomes harder as organizations grow, and the bank was no exception. Process and politics multiply, impacting decision-making speed and (seemingly) slowing down progress.

PromonTech is optimized for speed. As an Agile shop, processes exist but are built with the goal of quickly advancing product development or adding efficiency elsewhere in the organization. There is real satisfaction in the visible progress made at the end of each sprint.

RESPONSIBILITY
At PromonTech, I don’t have to stay put until new opportunities are presented by leadership or wait for someone to move on before being given an opportunity to advance. Every day offers – and often requires – opportunities to evolve my responsibilities and add value.

I’m given autonomy to innovate, problem-solve and explore interest areas to expand my skill set. I’m able to step out of my comfort zone and apply my expertise in new, innovative contexts. I’m empowered to do bigger and better things for myself and for the industry as a whole, and I’m able to see how my contributions fit into our overall business.

OFFICE ENVIRONMENT
Darth Vader statues, bean bag chairs and colorful walls, office dogs: there’s no denying office aesthetics at a startup are a far cry from corporate’s cubicle bullpens. Lively office environments have become the stuff of startup legends, and our employee-centered space creates an engaged, productive team.

Open seating, shared workspaces and creative stimuli facilitate collaboration and innovation. By creating a comfortable, inspiring environment, PromonTech ensures we look forward to showing up and contributing every day.

Since starting at PromonTech, I’ve worked alongside a collection of brilliant people whose personal and professional company I enjoy. I look forward to company functions. I bring my dog to work. I’ve developed a sense of community extending well-beyond office hours.

For those wondering about transitioning from a big bank to a startup: yes, it’s much different. But, my experiences at a large, national bank were intrinsically valuable and gave me the foundational knowledge necessary to add value to PromonTech’s startup environment. It’s exhilarating to apply my expertise in a new context. I’m eager to go into work every day and leverage my unique skill set in new ways, helping the company – and myself – evolve.



Are you an entrepreneurial technologist or mortgage-industry expert looking to hone your skills in a fast-paced, progress-driven environment? Check out our open positions or send your resume to careers@promontech.com.

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