Here’s an idea – mention the concept of startups at your next party, and see how divided your friends get on the issue. Quite honestly, it’s hard to gauge how the public feels about them. On the one hand, startups are frequently seen as drivers of economic growth. But on the other, they’re believed to be high risk, and low (or no) reward – especially rewards with high monetary value. But what the naysayers don’t know, is that working at a startup is, simply put, a priceless experience. So here are the 10 reasons why you should:
1. You Get to Build a Company: There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing hard work pay off. Just ask the founders of Airbnb, Uber, and Pandora. On the surface, the ideas behind these companies sound a bit ridiculous. A company for people to rent out rooms in their houses to complete strangers? An app that essentially promotes hitchhiking? A way to stream your favorite music in pre-made playlists without even paying for it? Arguably, what made these startups so successful wasn’t the concept of them, but rather the drive of the person who thought up the initial idea. This leads me to my next point…
2. You Work with Passionate People: Since you’re working from the ground up, you have to be passionate about, and believe in, the company you’re creating. Therefore, working at a startup isn’t daunting like a 9-5 office job filing paper work for things that you don’t care about. It’s almost guaranteed that you, and your coworkers, will love the work you do, and will want to see your company grow. This is essential to creating a happy work environment. Ever heard the expression, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”?
3. You Wear More Than One Hat: Maybe you were too scared to double major in college, or maybe you didn’t have the time. Regardless, it’s likely you’re passionate about more than what’s written on your diploma. With such small teams at startups, you have the opportunity to dabble in more than one position. Whether you’re helping the CEO draft an email, or sending out a couple of tweets when the director of marketing is away, your knowledge and expertise will surpass your job description.
4. You’ll Never Get Bored: You should know before you join a startup that the hours will be long, and sometimes grueling. That may seem like a drawback, but the long hours make coming to work a little more worth it. There’s a lot to get done, and not a lot of people to do it. Knowing that your coworkers count on you to show up and be part of the team will motivate you to get out of bed every morning. After all, who wants to feel like their contribution is expendable?
5. Your Work Friends Are Your Best Friends: I once worked at a company where I referred to the CEO as “The Man, The Myth, and The Legend.” Why? Because I never once saw him in person. Big companies are so large it’s easy to feel like you’re just a face in the crowd. Unless you’re on the executive team, chances are most people won’t know who you are or what you do. Doing the groundwork to make sure your company doesn’t fail, creates a strong bond between you and your team. And hey, you’ll even get to refer to your boss on a first-name basis.
6. Your Company Is Unique: Working for a big, well-known company has its perks, don’t get me wrong. But working somewhere that everyone’s already heard of can be a bit boring. Yes, you have the clout of being part of a brand-name team, but so do thousands of other people. When working at a startup, you’re one of few people who can say they’ve been with that particular company when it first planted its roots. Also, every time you tell someone where you work, it’s a new opportunity to pitch the project you love.
7. You Can Keep It Casual: At startups, jeans are the new slacks. The best part about that: if you’re straight out of college, you don’t have to make much of a transition from what you wore to class every day. Everyone already knows business casual is really just business, so put your first pay check toward your student loans instead of new button ups and a blazer.
8. You Get More Done: In big companies, if you have a question, or want to do something outside the parameters of your job description, there’s a laundry list of people you have to talk to before you can make any progress. But at startups, you swivel around in your chair and ask your boss something on the spot. The flexibility of startups are even apparent in the set up of their offices – there aren’t any tangible walls to create a sense of pseudo superiority. In short, you’re never wasting time waiting to hear back from a boss who might not even know you exist.
9. You’re Not Afraid of Failure: If we’re being honest, most startups aren’t successful. But believe it or not, there’s actually some good in that. When you sign on to be a startup team member, you expect the unexpected. And even expect the expected. Ultimately, you’re working on a project that you’re aware might not live up to your expectations, but this hands-on lesson about failure can’t always be taught the same way at big companies. The progression of startups mirror the progression of life: you work hard, sometimes fail, you brush yourself off and try again. In the end, you find comfort in knowing you put your best foot forward.
10. You’ll Get Things For Free: Everything tastes better when it’s free, right? Right. Especially beer. Don’t be surprised if your new job at a startup offers you a long list of amenities. It’s the little things, you know?