If you’ve recently graduated and thinking to join a large corporation, there are several reasons you may want to reconsider. A recent study by Deloitte shows that more than 52% corporate employees do not find their work meaningful and want to make a greater impact on both their company and the society in large.
A separate study by Accenture found that more than 54% of graduates employed at conventional companies consider themselves underemployed, working in jobs well-below their qualification. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why almost 80% of recent grads are more interested in either working for a startup or pursuing their own entrepreneurial ambitions.
But that’s not the only reason why you should work for a startup early in your career. There are several other compelling reasons why you should spend the most energetic years of your life working for a startup.
Here’s a look at some of them.
1. You’ll Get to Wear Different Hats at the Same Time
You might be a software engineer at a startup but you might also be a designer, a marketer and an SEO at the same time. Most startups have blurred boundaries between different roles and functions which allows employees to perform multiple jobs at the same time.
For a middle aged employee in a conventional organization, this might cause a lot of confusion. But for young grads, this is one of the best things about working at a startup.
Switching between different roles and juggling responsibilities not only makes you more aware of your capabilities but also allows you to explore different functions of your industry early in your career.
2. You’ll Get More Learning Opportunities
Most people working at giant corporations rarely get to see their CEOs and other key decision makers. Startup employees, however, interact frequently at all levels of the company irrespective of positions and designations.
As a startup employee, you might find your workstation next to your company’s founder or an experienced technical expert who would have been unreachable at a large corporation.
This opens up numerous learning opportunities and allows you to benefit from the knowledge, experience, and work ethic of seasoned industry professionals without any formal barriers.
3. You’ll Have More Freedom to Take Initiatives
In most startups, the roles are vaguely defined but there are no fixed job descriptions or functional boundaries. Plus, there are fewer hierarchical restrictions.
All that means you have more freedom to take initiatives, test new ideas and experiment with new strategies that might benefit your company.
Such freedom is rare in large scale corporations and multi-national companies where you require multiple approvals and need to go through various procedural cycles before trying anything new.
4. Your Skills Will Be Tested Under Pressure
Most corporate employees have fixed or similar activities that they perform every day and usually leave their workplace by 5PM. Startup life, however, is significantly different.
Startup employees are expected to work on multiple projects and meet tight deadlines even if it means putting in extra hours every day. Things happen much faster and there’s a lot of uncertainty in the scope of different projects and tasks.
This might not sound too exciting to a 40 year old corporate employee but for a startup employee in his 20s, this is ideal for accelerated learning and career growth.
Working under pressure with tight deadlines will polish your skills and develop your decision making capabilities. Overall, it’ll make you a much sharper individual as compared to someone is his comfort zone.
5. You’ll Learn to Prioritize Work
Wearing multiple hats and working on several projects at the same time means you’ll need to manage your time effectively and prioritize the most important tasks every day.
At the beginning you might find it overwhelming and too much to handle. But gradually you’ll develop better time management skills and learn how to juggle between different tasks.
This is rarely the case in a well-defined and slow paced corporate job where most of the task allocation is done by your immediate supervisor and newly hired graduates rarely have to make any crucial decisions.
6. You’ll Develop Better Leadership Skills
It takes fresh graduates several years in a corporate job to reach managerial positions where they’re responsible for other employees.
Startups, however, throw you in the deep end almost immediately. Even new employees are assigned leading roles in cross functional projects and made responsible for achieving key business objectives.
Unlike large corporations where every function has well-documented SOPs, startups empower their employees to find their own way. Instead of telling you what to do, most startup managers would simply give you an objective and ask you to find the best way to achieve it.
This added trust and empowerment will help you become a better leader at a very early stage of your career.
7. You’ll Learn to Get Things Done
Things happen fast in startups partly because of small hierarchies and partly due to their focus on getting things done. The most successful startups and entrepreneurs are not perfectionists. They’d rather take a flawed product created quickly and improve it over time instead of waiting for the ideal product.
The same thought-process runs throughout the company and every employee is expected to get things done in the assigned time instead of targeting perfection.
This mindset of targeting efficiency rather than perfection is the key to all progress because improvement, be it personal or professional, always comes gradually.
8. Your Work Will Have a Direct Impact on the Company
Not finding your work meaningful enough is one of the biggest sources of demotivation for corporate employees. A survey by Philips found that more than 63% American employees were willing to take a pay cut for more meaningful work.
You wont face this problem while working for a startup. Most startups have a small workforce and all functions operate closely together. So no matter what department you’re working for, the impact of your work will be visible to everyone.
If you do something great, you’ll be acknowledged by all your peers. If you make a blunder, you wont find a place to hide. Either way, you won’t be left wondering.
9. You’ll Have a Stake in the Company’s Growth
You’ll hardly ever find a corporate employee at the lower end of the hierarchy with a direct stake in the company. Even the best employees rarely expect anything beyond annual pay raises, performance based bonuses and occasional promotions.
Startups, on the other hand, are never shy of building partnerships with their employees. It’s common practice among startups to offer company stocks as an incentive to high performing employees.
So when a startup is acquired or goes public, its employees also enjoy the riches. For example, when WhatsApp was acquired for $19 billion by Facebook, each of its 55 employees (other than the founders) benefitted from the deal.
10. You’ll Get Promoted More Frequently
It can take you years at a multinational corporation to get to a managerial position. At a startup, however, promotions are not limited to annual reviews. Even new employees can quickly make their way up the ladder and enjoy titles and benefits that only senior corporate employees get.
Many innovative tech startups like Career Foundry and Squaremouth have even introduced peer promotions where employees can ask for a raise at any time of the year and the decision is made based on peer reviews.
11. You’ll Work in a casual and Relaxed Environment
Most startups offer a relaxed, casual and flexible working environment. Instead of the conventional workstations or cubicles, you’ll find bean bags, sofas and large workstations in startup offices where multiple employees can work and collaborate at the same time.
Many tech companies also encourage employees to bring their pets or infants to work so that they feel relaxed while working.
And since many tech jobs can be performed remotely these days, startups routinely allow employees to work from home or follow flexible working hours.
The best time to work for a startup is at the early stage of your career when your ambitions are high and you’re full of energy. That’s when you can work long hours, juggle different tasks, and take up bigger responsibilities that’ll help you grow later in your career. Startup life isn’t perfect but it offers things that previous generations could only dream of.
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