Is working at a startup right for you?

One conundrum that many professionals face is whether they should go the tried-and-true, corporate ladder-climbing route, or jump in feet first and work for a startup.  There is some risk involved with the latter, but the rewards could also be immense, both personally and professionally.  Is working for a startup right for you?  Here are a few things to consider.

Do you want to try everything?

Startups are notoriously short on employees, which means you have the chance to wear a lot of hats and take on responsibilities that would normally be spread among dedicated professionals.  If you’re not totally sure what you want to do, this is a great opportunity to get your feet wet and see what different positions entail.

The only caveat here is that you’ll want to work with an entrepreneur that has plenty of industry experience, not a wet-behind-the-ears recent grad who happens to have a big idea and some backing from investors.  If you don’t know your job and you don’t have someone experienced to guide you, you’re looking at a recipe for disaster.

Are you interested in ground floor opportunities?

While startups may not offer the same salary and benefits you’ll find at a corporate job, there could be potential payoffs down the line.  Many entrepreneurs are willing to offer the possibility of part ownership or stock options to employees who get in on the ground floor.

This could end up being extremely profitable.  Just consider the Instagram app.  When Facebook purchased the company in 2012 for a billion dollars, the people who were there from the beginning probably all became overnight millionaires.

Are you worried that a corporate environment is just too stuffy?

There’s no denying the appeal of a corporate job, including a competitive salary and benefits package, plus a notable name on your resume.  Of course, you’re also little more than a cog in the corporate machine, which means working within a fairly rigid structure.  Startups, by comparison, tend to offer more camaraderie and fewer rules.

The dress code is likely to be more relaxed, depending on the industry.  You may have the chance to set flexible work hours or work remotely at least part of the time.  Often, owners want to create a familial atmosphere, and they’ll go out of their way to encourage socialization.

Startups are like little communities where everyone is excited and motivated to be involved in the creativity and innovation.  If this sounds like your kind of job and you’re willing to take less pay and benefits to get it, then working at a startup could prove extremely fulfilling and valuable.

Post by Sarah Harris

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