Life of a Start-up Junkie: Day One

abiogenesis - the primordial soup, the beginning, the point of conception, the study of how biological life arises from the inorganic matter through natural processes.

In my opinion, my existence into Urban Green Energy was a non-organic, yet natural occurrence that started out in California and somehow cosmically hurtled me to New York. New York is a completely foreign, yet frantically intense and vibrant place, bursting with life, yet crushingly oppressive. The energy in this city is electrifying like nothing else I have experienced.

The date was November 16th, frazzled and completely exhausted, I stepped into the elevator at 330 West 38th Street, Manhattan, signed in with the door man, and headed up to my new place of work. The time was 1 pm. I had just spent the last 8 ½ hours on a train from downtown Buffalo, calling an end to one epic journey, only to, without missing a beat, step into another. As I stepped through the oversized steel office door, I could not even begin to fathom the adventure that I was about to get myself into.

Before I go any further, I must share a little bit more about myself. It would not do my first experience at Urban Green Energy any justice to not explain how I came across the job offer, interviewed and found myself taking my first step into Urban Green Energy’s office in Midtown Manhattan.

One of my favorite (and a very famous American) novelists once was quoted:

     “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you did not do than by the ones that you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”.

I must admit that I have not lived my whole life with this quote as my mantra, but this fall I was ready to catch the trade winds and experience what life has to offer. Even though I think of myself as adventurous I still consider myself californianated (defined as someone who lives, breathes and resides in California with very experience outside of the state), so I flew to Jacksonville, Florida, bought myself an Amtrak Rail Pass and started to travel up the eastern sea board utilizing every past connection, friend and family member along the way. I did not know what to expect or who I would meet, my only goal was to step out and view the world through the eyes of a traveler, a wayside traveler, to soak in the differing cultures and social perspectives that each region offered.

The trip was a novel in itself but while I was on the train I applied for jobs in Boston, Washington, DC, and New York. I was contacted by Urban Green Energy in regards to my application while I was in Charleston, South Carolina, conducted an official phone interview while sitting in the shadow of the Washington Monument, and stopped in New York for less than 18hrs to perform a face-to-face interview while taking a train up to New Hampshire. Finally, I received a job offer while I was visiting Montreal, Canada, asking when I could start. I briefly checked my schedule, my rail pass was to end the 17th of November, but I offered to arrive a day early so that I would have time to train before the Holidays began. And the rest is history…

As I stepped into the office at 1 pm, I felt as if a spotlight was instantly placed on me, as with an actor who accidently stumbles onto stage in the middle of an act.  The only relief was that the room was full of smiling faces.  The CEO Nick Blitterswyk greeted me with a smile as I set down my briefcase.  “Arriving late on the first day?” he stated with a chuckle. “A little unconventional.”  I tried to feign a smile unsure of whether to try to drum up an illegitimate excuse or to laugh, but before I had time to react he patted me on the shoulder and said, “Great to meet you.”  Relief rushed over me.  I was in the right place, I was at a start-up.

As I sat down, I felt instantly comfortable, the environment is open, and relaxed. Each person knows what their job is and executes it in a professional manner, yet there is a freedom to interact, problem solve, and communicate freely throughout each of the departments.

My first day, or half day rather was a great experience. All of my doubts about whether or not I was in the right place faded as the day passed on. I had found my new job in the most unlikely places, Urban Green Energy, a vertical wind turbine manufacturing company in the middle of New York City. As I walked out, I was confident that I made the right choice. Marc Twain was right, the only disappointments are the “did nots” in life.  A new adventure has begun; a life as a start up junkie. “Now” I thought to myself “if only I could find a place to live…..” 


Written by Joel