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Why Everyone Should Work At A Startup

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July 3, 2014
| Articles

It is my assertion that everyone at some point in their professional career should accept a job with a startup. Seriously, if you have a Bucket List that has any relation at all to career-oriented milestones, this is one of those things you cannot miss; you need to work for a startup at least once in your life.   I’ve worked for three startups at various points in my career, and despite the horrors endured during those tenures (all three failed, for instance), all of them were well worth it. Considering how many startups get, well, started up, chances are you may end up with the opportunity to throw in your lot with one of these fledgling companies that begin as a gleam in some enterprising visionary’s eye and bolstered by some big dollars from venture capitalists. Should you do it? Yes. And here’s why you should take that crazy leap of faith and give it a go.

In A Startup, You Can Make a Difference

The beautiful thing about startups, and quite possibly the most rewarding thing, is that since the startup is a brand-new entity that hasn’t calcified into a typical boring company, there’s a greater chance that the people in charge will not only listen to your ideas, but if the ideas are good enough, will even implement them. There’s nothing so rewarding as actually seeing your very own ideas acted upon and used to shape company policy. You feel like you’re actually contributing something significant.

The Possibility of Making A Lot of Money

If you hitch your wagon to the right rising star, you could benefit financially. This comes into play especially if the people creating the startup pay signing bonuses, milestone bonuses, or end up giving out shares of stock as a perk. By getting in on the ground floor of a hot up and coming startup, you have the chance of really making a killing.

The Casual Atmosphere

As a rule, a startup is a business that needs to be built from the ground up, sometimes both figuratively and literally. So usually you can expect the vibe of the place to be very casual. People at times bring their pets, their kids, or sometimes even other family members who just so happen to be in the area. Rather than dress shirts and ties, you can expect t-shirts, jeans, slippers, and who knows what else! Things are very relaxed, because it’s not really a fully formed company with the usual stuffy policies (those come later, if you’re not careful).

It’s a Lot of Fun

How many companies do you know that have a Beer Friday? Or have a ping-pong table set up in their work area? Even though startups involve working hard, most also have a philosophy of playing hard. And speaking of working hard…

You No Longer Have a Life

Okay, this one’s not a good selling point, but in the interest of fairness, it’s important to mention at least one downside. When you work for a startup, odds are you will not have a life for the foreseeable future. Since it’s not a conventional company, don’t expect a conventional work schedule. Expect to work long hours, and even when you’re not on-site, you’ll be on call 24/7. Everything is in flux, including your working week. Emergencies will pop up at the oddest times and inevitably, at the most inconvenient times. Much will be expected of you. Consider yourself warned!

So All In All…

Working for a startup is a risk, pure and simple. It can be an exciting, rewarding, even profitable experience, but it could also result in a crash and burn and losing what you were convinced was your dream job. Still, even in failure, the startup adventure often results in you learning new skills, making new friends, and establishing new connections that may ultimately be of direct or indirect benefit to you somewhere down the line. In fact, if the startup ends up closing its doors, make sure you get letters of recommendation from the higher-ups, and see to it that you and your co-workers are connected via some social media, especially LinkedIn. Oh, and if you signed a contract and haven’t received all of the things coming to you, make sure you stand your ground and collect what’s coming to you legally.   Take the chance. You won’t regret it.

By John Terra
Categories: Articles
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