Working for a StartUp is a steep learning curve. With limited access to manpower, there’s plenty of work for everyone. It’s not unusual to find employees juggling between different roles and responsibilities. Add to this the fact that everyone’s new at their jobs and you have a workplace that’s as chaotic as it is exciting.
A small team, flat hierarchies, irregular work timings, multi-tasking and a vibrant work culture are some of the things that define StartUps. Unlike large corporations where you’re just another cog in the wheel, each worker in a startup is at the forefront of the business with every act of his/her making a difference to the company’s fortunes.
Working in a startup provides you with an experience that is truly unique. Here are five lessons only working in a startup can teach:
You’ll learn to multi-taskA perennial manpower crunch in StartUp organizations means you’ll be drowning in work. Apart from handling your own share of the work you’ll also have to chip in with other tasks and duties. A software developer, for example, could well be asked to double up as a salesperson pitching the product to potential buyers. And you can’t really complain about the workload because everyone around is pulling extra weight. Working in a StartUp will teach you some valuable lessons in how to deal with work pressure and juggle multiple roles and responsibilities. You’ll develop self-learning skillsStartUps by definition are new entities, so everyone is new to the job. Like you, other employees are also struggling to get a handle on their professional roles. So don’t expect people to ease you into the job or do any handholding. You’ll have to learn the ropes yourself figuring out things as you go along. The self-learning skills you develop as a result will prove to be invaluable over the course of your career.
You’ll learn to take failure in your strideNine out of 10 StartUps fail, according to Fortune magazine. When you join a StartUp, you sign up knowing fully well that there’s more than an even chance of the venture not succeeding. Being part of a team that walks the thin line between success and failure gives you the chance to observe failure up close and fear it less. Also, learning on the job primarily occurs through a trial-and-error method. The two together will teach you to accept failure gracefully and emerge stronger, wiser and more resilient from every fall.
You’ll learn to trust your instinctsTaking calculated risks is a skill every professional needs to learn. Consider what Mark Zuckerberg has to say: “In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” If you’ve chosen to work in a startup, you’re not afraid of risk-taking. Working for a period of time in a startup will hone that skill. As you progress in life, there will be instances where you will have to take decisions without all the information necessary at your command. Trusting your instincts and making a decision based on calculated risk-taking is a skill that will prove valuable at this time.
You’ll learn to be adaptableThe constant ups and downs and juggling between roles will teach you the virtues of adaptability. This is a core skill that is increasingly sought after in today’s workplaces where there’s a growing emphasis on flexibility and agility, both for the company as well as its workers. The experience of working in a startup, where things are changing every day, will teach you to embrace and adapt to change rather than resist it.
ConclusionStartUps are risky business, but can also be an exciting journey. You’re part of a team that’s building a new product and the experience will teach you to be independent, flexible, resilient and make the most out of scarce resources. In fact, a tenure at a startup can add considerably to both your professional as well as your life skills.