Switching to a startup may be a smart career move for you
Startup – a company that is in the first stages of its operation. Mostly self-funded by a founder (bootstrapping) a startup will try to capitalize on developing a product or service for which there is a market demand.
The late 90’s saw a number of internet startups or dotcoms emerging on the scene, funded by venture capitalists, that later went bust because of oversights in their underlying business plan. After a considerable cooling off period that lasted for many years there has been a startup renaissance of sorts, especially after the great banking bubble of the last decade.
So beyond the ping pong table, hipster stereotype and carelessly placed beanie bag what does it mean to work in a startup in today’s day and age? Why should you work in a startup in the first place and not in the C-Suite of a big multinational company? Today we are surrounded in startup hype and perhaps nowhere this is more apparent than in the big metros in India – Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. From startup vitamin posters to Steve Job fan clubs – startup is suddenly the place to be. What makes them tick?
You get that Elusive Thing called Job Satisfaction
Free lunches, free spa might be perceived as popular benefits in the office these days but they don’t make it into the top five pros of working in a startup. Job seekers are looking for meaningful engagement at their place of work that takes into account the full extent of their training and skill-sets. Today’s jobseekers are willing to risk job security for that elusive thing called job satisfaction. Unlike big corporations, where you are a speck of dust on the shop floor, a cog in a wheel, in a startup you are the wheel. And you get the satisfaction of seeing your efforts bearing fruit.
A Work Culture that is Truly Rocking
For the most part, startup culture is more open towards their employees. Employees feel a sense of belonging that is not to be found in any corporate organization governed by rigid hierarchical structures. This means that in a startup there aren’t too many hoops to jump through to share an idea or get something done. In a more hierarchical corporate structure one has to go through the proper channels – more hoops to jump- to get something done which takes both time and patience of the employee.
Less of Organization Processes and Politics and Huge Dollops of Transparency
Startups are more transparent than corporate entities steeped in processes and office politics. There is more transparency in the day to day running of a startup and the employees know what is expected of them, where they are headed, what is going well and how they can improve. Every one has a voice. Even an intern can walk up to the CEO and make an actual difference.
Grooms you for the Big Job or your own Gig Tomorrow
A job description at a startup ends with … and everything else. You will be doing stuff that you never thought you would be doing – marketing, coding, writing – giving you the skills needed for the big job or your own gig tomorrow. In a corporate environment, you will be working in a siloed work environment for ever without getting the opportunity to broaden your horizons. In a startup, you will learn new set of skill and you will be really challenged to contribute directly to company’s success. People underestimate the benefit of working in a challenging environment. When employees choose a safe and stable work in a big corporate environment over startup environment which is stimulating as well as challenging they take the risk of stagnating in their job role.
Work from anywhere anytime (The truly Emancipated Worker)
In the future the workplace would be virtual and not physical. Employees will be truly emancipated with technology that will allow them to work from anywhere anytime. Startups are already providing telecommuting facilities to their employees saving them relocation worries. Bigger organizations have rigid structures that are not compatible with flexible work environments. Recently a big IT company reversed its policy allowing telecommuting to its employees. This is in contrast to startup work culture where telecommuting is the de norm and the focus is not on the face time offered but value provided to the company.
Sometimes you may feel that all that a company really need is a ping pong table, a break zone with beanie bags and hipster culture to be seen as a progressive startup company, but if you look closer, you will see that there is a lot more to startups than mere symbolism of the beanie bag variety. Being in a startup, working with like minded employees offers not job satisfaction but also the proper training required for shouldering the bigger jobs and responsibilities coming your way tomorrow.
By, Shruti Agarwal, CFO at Knowlarity Communications