Sunday, 7 May 2017
Heisenberg Media via flickr Over the past five years, I have had the opportunity to work for both a larger, more established company as well as one that has a bit more of a startup vibe. While both have given me phenomenal professional experience - the combination of both lending to a well-rounded perspective - it has taken me some time to identify the pros and cons of working at each. If you’re contemplating moving away from your buttoned up corporate gig to a more relaxed-fit startup (or vice versa), here are six questions to consider first. 1. Do you champion a good underdog story? If you can quote every line from Rudy , Seabiscuit, or Rocky , you might just be an underdog junkie. If that’s the case, working for a startup is likely right up your alley. The theme all great underdog stories share is taking something or someone and pitting them up against a more talented, more connected, more skilled counterpart. However, it’s the tenacity, gumption and voice to stand up and become something greater that makes the underdog so powerful - and so lovable. Working for a startup is going to feel a lot like round 15 did for Apollo Creed. It’s risky, hard work and you’re going to have to deal with - let’s keep with the theme and say - a lot of punches. Failures will seem crushing, but successes will feel like winning the big race no one believed you could. Like all great underdogs, and great startups, it’s the passion and determination to overcome it all - dare I say to prove naysayers wrong, which makes them so appealing. 2. Are you a jack-of-all-trades or a master of one? Some people are able to identify what they want to do professionally very early in life - researching and perfecting their skills until they are known as the “Spielberg” of their industry. For those lucky and determined enough to become highly specialized in a trade/knowledge base, working for a larger corporation might be better suited for you. The reason being, established organizations have the capital to hire more employees who can focus on more specific tasks. Furthermore, with the monetary advantages, comes the ability to hire top-notch, experienced talent - a fact that provides excellent mentorship opportunities for those entering the workforce. For the “professionally indecisive,” startups will likely yield greater opportunities and flexibility to move around departments and discover what areas you are most passionate about. If for example, you’re a designer but are also interested in social media, sales and marketing, a startup is going to give you the chance to potentially work in each field. Both skill sets are crucial for any type of organization and neither, for the record, are mutually exclusive. However, innovative-starry-eyed “Jacks” are likely to prove their value much easier in a startup rather than a larger corporation. 3. When was the last time you won the lotto? The last time I bought a lottery ticket and won was sometime around… never. Jumping the corporate ship and joining the start-up train, and expecting success, is like calculating your future lottery winnings into your monthly financial plan. While there typically are a lot of attractive incentives, don’t get too close to the startup sirens without doing your research. The fact is, 25 percent of startups fail within the first year and more than half fail in year five. Passion alone won’t yield results. Make sure there is a concrete business plan in place before deciding to trade in your corporate job for the riskier alternative.