For those on the outside, the term ‘Startup Job’ conjures visions of a blissful universe populated by employees in track pants and flip-flops playing ping pong and video games as they change the world. The truth is far from it. While the company culture at a StartUp is definitely more relaxed than that of a corporate job, there are several pressures and risks that jobseekers tend to overlook.
Here’s how you’ll know if you have what it takes to do the job: 1. You thrive on challenges
In a StartUp, job profiles are constantly evolving and employees are expected to adapt quickly to the new roles assigned. To come out ahead, you have to find a method in the madness. For people who function best in structured environments, the pace of change can become a problem.
2. You’re comfortable wearing many hats
Your job title may put you on the technical team. But don’t be surprised if you’re asked to pitch in with business development. Your daily activities are likely to vary, depending on the project that is underway.
3. You crave a creative work environment
StartUps are built around new ideas, so they attract people who think out-of-the-box. If you’re someone who thrives on collaboration of ideas, this is a good fit for you.
4. You don’t mind working long hoursThey say they’re all about flexibility. But at the end of the day, a StartUp is also a new business and therefore, will demand a great deal of your time. Be prepared to put in long days and late nights.
5. You enjoy making friends at workNon-hierarchical set ups like StartUps function best when co-workers experience a strong sense of togetherness and purpose. It’s like being part of a big family. If you’re a person who finds it difficult to build rapports at work, you may feel left out.
6. You’re comfortable taking risks
Billion dollar valuations notwithstanding, a StartUp career is rarely about the money. You may actually be asked to take a pay cut in exchange for equity. And don’t expect that to result in a big payout – very few people strike that kind of gold. The risk of failure is also high in a StartUp.
7. You function best under pressureThe pressure to achieve results creates a high-stress environment in StartUps. And there’s little time for mentoring, as most managers are too busy to handhold. Expect to be on your own and given more responsibility than you bargained for. Are you comfortable with that?
8. You think it’s important to #LoveWhatYouDoBelieving in what the company stands for is essential if you want your StartUp career to be a success. By signing up with an unknown entity, you’re taking a financial and professional risk. Why do it if you don’t feel passionately about the job?
A startup job will teach you more about yourself and how a business ought to be run than any other kind of company. But it's important to realistic assess whether you have what it takes before you take the plunge.