There are four factors people consider while taking up a job:
- Job Security
- Work Culture
Let’s talk something on each of these factors and how they work when it comes to startups.
It’s an irony that this is the most crucial thing a startup offers and this is what many of the talented guys ignore. One of the biggest advantages of startup is that there are no structured departments and this means you get an opportunity to perform cross-functional roles. An instance of the same would be a front-end developer getting to work on the back-end frameworks, a back-end developer learning and assuming the role of a full stack developer, a digital marketing expert getting to learn how products are coded by talented engineers, etc. Since, startups are smaller setups, you get to closely work with other smart brains and I think this is difficult to find in a typical 9 to 5 organizational setup. Your zeal to learn more and diversification of knowledge happens when you have several other talented people around you. Secondly, at startups you have the flexibility to do what you love.
Startups also best prepare you for entrepreneurship. So, if you are a developer or an operations guy and dream of becoming an entrepreneur, go, join a startup rather than working on your cushy job at an established organization. Think of Paypal Mafia, Mafia, early Facebook employees, and you will realize this argument does makes a sense.
It can be an important factor that stops many from joining a startup. I agree that most of the startups out there don’t pay you a salary equivalent to the market benchmarks. However, what they offer you is sweat equity and I once had a well-known startup advisor tell me, “Only a fool does not understand the value of equity of a talented startup”. And that’s not it. Startups offer your growth opportunities. Take any of the top 10 tech startups and check out the list of their CTOs, COOs or CMOs. All of them will be young and with a reasonably lesser experience than people with similar job roles at established organizations. So, how did these young guys in their 20s and early 30s do this? Undoubtedly, they were talented but you also cannot ignore the fact that these energetic guys had faith in the startups they joined, the product and were ready to work day and night to make their startup a success. Salary was not that important to them, what was more important is that their product actually creates an impact in the lives of millions of people. It motivates you to give your best to your work.
3 Job Security
When someone says “Job security”, what he/she means to convey is:
- The company should be able to pay him/her the salary
- He/she will be able to keep the job
- The company won’t wind up all of a sudden
Let me be very upfront on this. Yes, startups don’t have what they say as “Job Security”. But they offer something that is more important than job security – a learning that shall help its employees in their careers to be top management roles in other companies or start their own venture. In recession, it has been seen that even jobs with bigger organizations and conglomerates cannot assure you of job security (sub-prime crisis of 2008 and much talked about “hire fast, fire fast” culture in bigger IT companies is a testimony to this). I don’t mean to get on to the part of who provides more job security – bigger organizations or startups? But I want to put across a point that even established organizations today cannot provide you cent percent job security. So, why not join a startup where you have more opportunities to learn.
4 Work Culture
In my work life and many more interactions with people working with bigger companies, I never met anyone who loves irrelevant sophistication and close door culture at their organizations. They just stick with it because they think that’s how things are. I personally believe that formal culture takes away freedom of expression and the whole idea of being yourself (even at a workplace), and that gradually reflects on your actions and the products that team creates. However, that’s not the case with startups. Startups are known for their fun and lively culture. At startups, the focus is on productivity and not getting in to the loop of redundant practices. This is the reason why startups with limited resources and a lot of constraints are able to build world-class products. In comparison to typical stereo-type organizations, startups definitely have a more conducive culture to promote innovation and learning.
So, Should You Join A Startup?
As mentioned earlier, startups do offer a relatively lower salary but that’s enough to cover your expenses plus make a reasonable savings every month. And not to forget, you have the stock options too. It might not be a secured job as your near ones might say, but they might not understand that with greater risks, come higher returns – more knowledge, extensive expertise and definitely, higher monetary gains in future. Now, let’s look at the flip side. Assume for a minute that the startup where you have been working for 18 months has failed. In this case too, what you have lost is a small amount of increased salary that you might have earned had you opted to work for a bigger organization. But what this failed startup would have definitely offered you is a life-time learning that you won’t experience in an established corporate job. And that learning is a stepping stone for your future success. It will help you a lot in knowing what works and what doesn’t. Startups well-equipped you to handle teams, lead and turn around projects and start your venture. And if you are an early employee of the startup and have put in your heart and soul in to it, the chances of this startup being successful increase exponentially and remember, you already have its equity! I would say, working in a startup is definitely a gamble, but it’s a calculated risk and if it works, you hit a fortune. Startups are the best bet for those who are fresher, have a couple of years of experience or just want to do/build something meaningful.