Let me start by saying that working in a startup is a high-risk, high-reward game and not everyone can make that switch. If you click with the employer, the rewards are huge, but if you don’t, well … hopefully you’ve gained something from the experience. If you are willing to take a risk, the learning you gain from the startup can be very enriching.
Here’s what your experience working at a startup can look like:
At a start-up company, there are always things that need doing, and not always a lot of people to do them. What this means for you is that you will be tasked with completing far more than you might have to complete anywhere else, while learning the variety of skills that these tasks need to be done with very rapidly. On top of this, you will get a close look at how every level of a company works.
It takes a couple promotions to become a real leader, right? In most cases, but if you join a start-up at an early enough stage, you can become a sort of leader almost instantaneously. You will begin to manage projects from the start, and you will frequently be given the independence to pursue goals you see as beneficial to the company. You’ll get additional resume points, and you’ll learn from early on in your career what the weight of leadership really feels like.
Larger companies are frequently split up by divisions, which have you working largely with people doing similar things to yourself, and with a similar set of skills. Being in close quarters with people of all different kinds of specialties means you’re meeting people you might never have interacted with in a different place, which can lead to a refreshing exchange of ideas and different perspectives.
In large corporate structures one’s path is often times hindered with red tape. However, when there’s only 10-15 people on payroll, you will be given significantly more chances to prove yourself. Imagine getting hired for your first job, and immediately being a member of the board of directors; well, that’s what this is like!
Your experience in a start-up company will more likely than not force you to do tons of different things that a job at a larger company would never have you doing. Engineers might have to write blog posts, PR people might be asked to give input on the design of the next project, and everyone is involved in the hiring process. You can only benefit from having more experiences under your belt, both as an employee and as a person.
Ever taken an easy class and gotten a low grade because you never felt like you had to try? So have we. If you don’t feel challenged in your daily life, you aren’t likely to reach your full potential or achieve very much at all. You will have so much to do in order to succeed at a start-up that you will definitely feel like you’ve achieved something at the end of the day rather than sat around and finish one or two relatively simple tasks.
One of the biggest benefits of getting so close with a small group of tight-knit people is that you become friends with everyone pretty quickly, and thus every day at work is like spending time with your friends. And on top of this, sharing every obstacle with these people means sharing every celebration! Just because it’s your job doesn’t mean it has to be a total drag, and most start-ups certainly are more fun than their corporate counterparts.
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What’s the best and worst thing about working at a startup, in your opinion? We want to hear from you. Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.