Is a Position at a Startup Right For You?

Many people dream of working for a startup company–and why not? There is something exciting about getting in on the ground floor at an organization where your ideas are heard and your expertise is appreciated. Not to mention the allure of being part of the next big thing like Facebook – whose IPO created up to 1,000 millionaires among the ranks!

But before jumping in head first, you need to look at the pros and cons.  So is a startup right for you?  Let’s examine the benefits – and the realities – of working for a new venture.

The Benefits of Working for a Startup

There are some attractive pros to working for a startup, including:

  • Informal Working Environments – Startups are famous for their relaxed work environments. Everyone has to work together to get the job done, which means walls only get in the way. Startups usually offer communal seating, with no cubicle walls between employees. Dress codes may be more relaxed, and the power structure is one of collaboration and consensus rather than hierarchy.
  • Opportunity to Take on More Responsibilities – Because startups are team environments where everyone has to pull together to get the job done, employees have lots of opportunities to take on new responsibilities. In larger companies, workers may be relegated to their set tasks, with little chance to take on new projects. At a startup, you have the opportunity to contribute to projects you’re passionate about, regardless of your primary role.
  • Hands-on Learning – Employees not only have chances to take on more responsibility, but they can also engage in hands-on learning. Sometimes this amounts to trial by fire, but startups give employees the opportunity to learn new skills as they go.

The Realities

For all of the pros to a startup environment, new companies also have unique challenges, and not everyone is equipped to thrive at a new venture. The realities of working for a startup include:

  • Limited Structure – Startups are usually run by leaders who are finding their way as they go. There is often no HR department and few formal processes and procedures.
  • Benefits Packages – Startups often can’t offer the same benefits as well-established companies. You likely won’t have a 401(k) or a “Cadillac” medical plan. There are exceptions, but most startups simply can’t afford to offer the same types of packages as large corporations.
  • Long Hours – When trying to launch a successful organization with a small staff, there is no such thing as 9-5. Most startup teams begin work early in the morning and may not leave until long after the dinner hour is over. Intensity is the name of the game in a startup environment.
  • Risk– While no job is 100% secure, startups lack the stability of large corporations that have been around for many years. Budgets can fluctuate from month to month and there is no long-term guarantee that the company will survive.

Whether or not a startup is right for you depends on your own preferences and strengths. There are a lot of professionals who thrive on the pace and the creative atmosphere found in startups. There are other people, however, who dislike the lack of structure and the high intensity of new ventures.  When choosing your next career opportunity, always weigh your personal work preferences with the structure and environment of the employer.

Strategic Search Solutions understands that it can be difficult to weigh the pros and cons of new opportunities. As a full-service recruiter for software sales professionals, we work with professional reps who are looking for new opportunities to grow their careers, whether in an innovative startup setting or with well-established industry leaders. For more information on how we can help you take your career to the next level, contact the team at Strategic Search Solutions today.

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