Let’s be real. There are some common misconceptions about working for a startup. Everybody thinks #startuplife is about the continuously replenished kegerator, relaxed dress code and dogs roaming the office (work perks for the win). And while these are some of the incredible benefits you could find, it's not all happy hours and ping pong games at the office.
Working for a startup is a challenge.
Understatement of the year. While the sexiness of making it into the big leagues has its appeal, you’ll need to put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get there. For the young corporate professional looking to take the leap or the new graduate dreaming of entrepreneurship, listen up. Here are some things you didn't know about startup life.
Changes are common
Startups move at lightning speed to keep up with the giants of industry. That means things change – quickly and often. Ideas, plans, processes and workflows can all be classified as TBD. Employees may find themselves moving from office to office or working out of shared spaces depending upon budgets or shifting business needs.
Your ability to be light on your feet and roll with the punches is essential to making it at a startup. There is a lot to be said about being able to work within a specific process. But when things are turned on their head, being able to adapt is what matters.
Teach Yo Self (Not Treat Yo Self)
Unlike the larger corporate companies, resources can be tight at startups. While you may be head of sales you might also be social media manager. You will most certainly not know how to do everything you're asked and you're going to be expected to figure it out.
The collaborative spirit of a startup means everyone pitches in where they can. Employees are often expected to adapt and help out in areas they may have no previous training in. It takes a village to be successful and at a startup. You're not just another cog in the machine, you're a cornerstone.
Working at startups is highly risky
According to reports 9 out of 10 startups never succeed. If you're looking for stability, the startup world may not be the place for you. For those up to the challenge, however, the risk is highly rewarding as it gives you the opportunity to help build something from the ground up.
Evaluate your risks before pulling the cord.
Long hours are expected
There's going to be long nights, early mornings and extended days because you're going to be doing a bit of everything. That doesn't mean that there won't be days where things can be wrapped up by five, but when situation calls for it, be ready to hunker down and put the coffee machine to work. One of the work perks to help alleviate the stress of long hours and to ensure employees don't feel trapped, is the flexible work schedule.
Working from home or shifting your day and coming in later are acceptable practices at many startups. For the regiment oriented this can be a jarring change from your standard 9 to 5.
Startups are highly rewarding for anyone seeking growth in their career. Flatter team hierarchies mean management will hear your opinions and ideas directly. Working for a smaller team will allow you to take on more responsibility and have a stronger sense of ownership over you work. And while the work may be difficult the dividends pay off when you can see how much you were able to contribute to a project.
Does working for a startup sound like it’s for you? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Rest assured, if you do take the plunge you’ll have the experience of a lifetime and learn a lot along the way.