I’m not gonna lie, working in Picha is NOT a comfortable job. There are so many reasons that make someone quit from working with Picha. Let’s get real - building a culture takes a lot of time and effort. In September, we decided to invest a big part of Picha’s profit into hiring a team, so we hired a handful of individuals - some fresh grads and some with working experiences - to fill in several positions. In December, we had a team of 10 people, including the co-founders, full-timers and part-timers. Although we always try our best to lay down our expectations and manage their expectations before the start of their work, we had 0% retention rate.
As we admit our failure in retaining team members and setting up a good culture, we quickly learnt not to hire too fast and work on building a healthy culture. Today, there are 4 core team members in Picha and around 10 part-timers going around as runners/catering crew. We learnt to hire carefully and slowly. However, when job applications flood in to Picha’s inbox, I slowly realised that we really need to manage the expectations of everyone before an application is made as well. Though Picha seems to be a noble organisation to be a part of, and it is indeed a place for you to challenge yourself, I believe you have to send in your application knowing the following why(s) you shouldn’t join Picha, and be very ready before you click the “send” button.
#1 - Do not enter Picha (or a social enterprise) with the aim to find meaning in life
Yes, we know, you may be bored of your corporate job, or you are trying to search for meaning in life - but working in a social enterprise might not be the answer to your heart’s desire. In the real world, most social enterprises have to focus on building the business in order to create impact. Many find it hard to relate their work in a social enterprise to the direct impact they wish to make in a community, because you don’t get to be with the community all the time. In Picha, most of your day time job is really running the business, from getting sales to managing the runners - you DON’T get to be with the Picha families all the time.
However, during weekends or evening time, we often do Picha family visitations and spend quality time the families - which might be hard for some in the team to participate due to personal commitment.
You may ask, then why don’t switch the timings around and visit the families during the day? We try to do this too, but it’s hard when we are running a business that require close monitoring for orders during day time.
My point here is this - even if you might not see the Picha families ALL THE TIME when you work here, it doesn’t mean that you are not bringing direct impact to them. If the machine (team) in Picha does not work, all the families will not get an income - it’s just that simple. Therefore, if you are coming to join Picha to find meaning in life, to spend a lot of time with the community, or to find that feel-good feeling when kids run to you and hug you - then maybe Picha is not the right one for you.
We want to be very honest to you, without a business model that requires a team to work professionally, like going out talking to customers, handling customers’ expectations, running the catering and events, managing drivers and caterers, doing designing work or manning booths, Picha wouldn’t be able to feed those families. This is very much THE direct impact. We cannot expect families coming to us and say “thank you”, we just do what is needed to be done so that families can survive and thrive. That’s meaning for Picha.
#2 - It’s definitely not a 9am-5pm job
This is not a job where you get to clock in on time and leave on time, I’m sorry to tell you that. Picha is currently 2.5 years old, a fairly young startup and it requires a lot of commitment, especially from the core members, to push our growth. As we work on putting in proper processes and systems in place, we also have to work hard for sales , acquire new families, handle production, manage quality control, raise awareness, build partnership, etc.
All the above goals will be impossible to come true if everyone just work 9am-5pm. We require a team that takes ownership in the work that they do. When needed, we work overtime and on weekends to build relationships, to serve our clients, and to go beyond our “jobscope”. If you are expecting to only do what’s been instructed and leave your job on time, then this is not the right place for you.
Picha aims to push boundaries in the social enterprise sector and tackle humanitarian causes innovatively. So, for the next 3 years, we are committed to work really hard to bring positive change to the community and the world. We are going to challenge ourselves, take risks, and go crazy to make a change. If you are up for this, be very ready to hustle for the next few years.
#3 - You’ll be physically/mentally drained
I’m really not lying. As we are a very small and young team, we will treat you like you own this business too (maybe you will in the future hehe). For the core team, there might be times when you need to be wearing several hats. You may be catering at one point if we do not have enough manpower, making cold calls which can be quite awkward for people who don’t like speaking to strangers, managing irresponsible drivers or receiving scoldings/complaints from angry clients (please dont cry if you get scolded pls pls).
Let me repeat again, you’ll be physically/mentally drained. You may ask us - so how do we recover from it? In the Picha team, if one of us ever feel like we are drained or are burning out, we voice out immediately (be very transparent), and we’ll work something out or take a break before someone crashes. Yes, we are driving change, but it’s a life-long fight, so we want to make sure that everyone have sufficient rest and get time to recharge too. Sustainability doesn’t just come from monetary form, but also our physical energy to run this long long marathon.
You have to be part of the Picha culture where we don’t give up immediately when we have ONE bad day, and be very transparent to voice out. Many times, we realised that some in our team don’t voice out - they accumulate the negativity, crash, then quit. If you think that you can’t do this - we are not the right place for you. If you are READY to join in and make a change, make sure you are REALLY ready for it.
#4 - Picha just doesn’t make sense
Picha is about taking risks, experimenting, failing, stretching yourself, working hard, hustling crazily - - but wait, why do we need to do this?
Our answer is this - for the ones who are in need. Millions of others who are struggling everyday to earn their basic needs. Hundreds and thousands of them out there who do not have enough to feed their children.
Trust us, one day you will be asking yourself this question, WHY am I doing this? You’ve got to be very ready to answer those questions yourself - or else you’ll be quitting very fast.
Because, honestly, this doesn’t make sense. Why do you need to do this for the well-being of others?
You could have chosen to work in a much comfortable job, stay in a nice condominium, finish your work by 5pm, or climb the corporate ladder. But instead, you are here to serve customers (I meant literally serve them like a waitress/waiter sometimes), have endless conversations with families, moving boxes around, putting your hands into a bunch of dirty forks and spoons to count them, deal with issues that are not yours, work with people that might not understand a word that you say, and many more tasks that you might not envision yourself doing since young.
Then, you ask yourself - why did I even put myself in this situation at the first place? This might be tough for you to answer. However, I assure and promise you, if we can go through this together, you will DEFINITELY be a different person joining Picha. You will be so much more resilient, like how the Picha families are; more bold in life, as we take more risks, possibly fail and stand back up together; more adaptive and flexible, as we continue to embrace the constant change as a young startup; more genuine, kind and generous in life, as we see how the Picha families strive despite their life circumstances.
It’s tough - like very very tough. No sugar-coating for you because we want you to have a deep and real thought before hitting that send button to summit your resume. Picha values every intern, part timers and full timers who have been a on the journey of building Picha to what it is today. It’s all hard work and sweat, whether you made cold-calls, did a designing job, took food photos or the many other little tasks grew Picha. Always remember this, once a Picha hero, you’ll always be a Picha hero!
If you are ready for a crazy ride or adventure, stretch yourself, sacrifice your Netflix/drinking time (we actually do still have time for these haha), ready to put yourself down for others, embrace things you might not like doing.
If you think you SHOULDN’T join Picha after reading this but would still like to be part of this movement, you can volunteer with us too. We have mothers who need to speak better english, kids who still can’t afford to go to school and booths during the weekends that require awesome peeps like you to handle. We welcome you to join us for that too! 🙂