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10 reasons why working for a startup isn’t for everyone

The startup scene has been positioning itself as one of the sectors with the most employment opportunities. As job vacancies in young tech companies gain prominence on job portals, it’s important to look into this particular working culture and what it means to work for a startup.

Ping pong tournaments, flexible schedules, and young environments are some of the perks offered in almost all startup job openings, which can be very attractive, but it may not be enough to know if you’re ready to work for a startup. Although there are a lot of reasons to join one, working for a startup isn’t for everyone, here are 10 reasons why:

  1. Uncertainty and lack of stability 

If you’re looking for a steady, secure job, chances are, joining a startup it’s not the right call. As young companies, anything can happen and they need to adapt real fast. Long-term jobs in startups are not very common, as the company’s needs are constantly changing and so do the teams and their structure. Taking a job for granted is not typically smart, but it’s definitely not a trait of someone who works for a startup. 

2. A proactive attitude is a must

If you’re waiting for someone else to tell you what to do all the time, you won’t survive in the startup environment. Working for startups means you have to know that it’s up to you and your attitude to really contribute to the team. These companies look for highly proactive people who find solutions instead of excuses.

3. You have to be water, my friend 

“That’s not my job” is not part of the manual. No matter what your job title is, if you’re working for a startup you will have to do a lot of unexpected things and most of them are going to be new to you. You need to be versatile, no task is too big and certainly not too small. 

4. Forget about fancy

Big companies are used to having bigger perks and benefits since they have bigger budgets. Startups don’t usually offer big fancy benefits because of their tight budget. They probably won’t send you on an all-inclusive work trip, for example. Startup’s perks and benefits are more related to afterwork beers, discounts for gym memberships and coffee, and such things.

5. You probably won’t make big bucks

This is linked to the previous reason. Although young companies tend to make a real effort to maintain employee engagement and satisfaction, it’s no secret that startup budgets are tight. People usually join startups for professional challenges and the thrill rather than money. 

6. The intern paradise?

Startups are great if you’re starting your career, as you get to learn a lot of new stuff faster than you’d think. However, the concept of being an ‘intern’ in a company where everything is to be done means you will still have to work as hard as everyone else and have responsibilities even if you’re an intern. This is a great opportunity to grow from the very beginning, but only if you’re ready to handle it. 

7. Teamwork or no work

If you’re not a team person, joining a startup is not for you. These companies are teams of people working together to achieve the same goal. This means you’ll be working together with your department and even other departments on many different projects. If you’re a lone wolf, maybe a startup isn’t the right fit for you.

8. Expectations vs. reality

Startups aim to disrupt markets and industries. This can create a lot of expectations, which can lead to huge disappointments when not achieving the desired success. Joining an innovative new company means taking the highs and lows, and taking failure to your advantage, which not everyone understands. 

9. Competitive mindset

If startups don’t act fast, they won’t survive. This is why they are highly competitive, they have to be. They’re constantly trying to be faster than their competitors; from funding to sales and marketing initiatives, being faster will guarantee a big advantage. Having a competitive mindset is key, but it sure isn’t a common trait.  

10. Work and life balance 

Because startups are ambitious teams aiming for great growth, they’re a small workforce with a huge mission and every single person is key to its success. This is why they require a high level of dedication from each individual. Unpredictable working hours to get things done and constantly training yourself – even if it’s at the weekend –  comes with the job. The thing is, not everyone’s ready to make sacrifices for the hard work and still keep a healthy personal life. 

To sum up, working for a startup requires a lot of determination, dedication, a proactive attitude, and the ability to embrace changes. If you want to work and grow in the startup world, you must be ready to face the challenges of being part of a team wanting to change the world.

Anto Guarin
Anto Guarin
Anto is the Startup Sourcing Manager at EU-Startups. She’s constantly on the lookout for promising startups and projects around the European scene. With a multicultural perspective, she's curious about culture, innovation and technology, strong impact projects, and creativity.

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