Last week I mentioned how I love working for a startup. And to be a part of a growing startup that is massively successful - well, I couldn’t be more grateful. More and more people are wanting to leave corporate life to get involved in the “hot” and “sexy” tech industry - and all the perks that come along with it.
But, as I mentioned, working for a startup isn’t for everyone. So, how do you know if a startup is for you?
You are ALL-IN on the Mission
If I didn’t believe in the mission of The Muse - to be the most beloved and trusted site for people in the first 10-15 years of their career - I don’t know if I would love my job and company as much as I do. Since first hearing about The Muse, I knew I wanted to be a part of the company. Being a career changer myself and desiring fulfillment in my work-life, I personally experienced how The Muse contributes to a job-changer's success. So, believing in the product and the overall mission is a fabulous reason to join a startup.
Just as a side note: When I first started at The Muse, I interviewed in a makeshift room in an office that constantly loss wifi, had rats and a leaking ceiling. If you only want to work for a startup because of the cool “perks” - I can assure you that’s not always the case. I came from the "all-expenses paid" finance industry (different story for a different day), but for me, that didn’t make me blink an eye. I so desperately wanted to be a part of something that mattered - so much so that I gave up my nice, cushy salary and fancy office space. If you feel similarly to me, maybe a startup is for you after all.
The working style matches your personality & strengths
When you are in the interview process, remember, you are just as much interviewing the company as they are interviewing you. So what does that mean? Ask questions about the day-to-day culture. Understand what the working style is at the organization. If it aligns with your personality and strengths, it may be a good fit. For instance, most startups are very fluid, creative and don’t have a lot of structure in place. With my personality, I THRIVE in those environments. I have plenty of friends, however, who do not and would not perform well. Figure out who you are, how you work and choose accordingly.
You can figure out your preferred working style by looking back at past jobs, school projects and even extracurriculars to see what you disliked and liked about each experience. More often than not, you’ll find a thread of similarities that may direct you towards a clearer picture of what you want and need in a fruitful working environment.
You are okay with being a little risky
Being a part of a startup can be really risky. Like not sure if you’ll have a job tomorrow, risky. Ask anyone that has been a part of a plummeting company. Even a company like mine has the ability to tank (praying that it won’t!) - look at very a promising organization like Quirky. They received tons of funding and accolades, but because of mismanagement, they went kaput - leaving their employees to pick up the pieces. Currently, I have a friend who is working for another startup where she’s only guaranteed to be working for another 4 months. Talk about stressful.
Right now, I’m okay with taking that risk though. I don’t have an immediate family to care for, no debt and I like the excitement of something risky. Right now, I can afford to take a chance on a fast-growing company. At the same time, I was incredibly thoughtful with how I went about choosing The Muse to take a risk on. I spent a lot of time weighing my pros and cons, evaluating where I saw the company positioned in the marketplace and made sure that I whole-heartedly trusted the leadership team and board. I call it “intentional riskiness".
So do your due diligence, understand your risk tolerance and be honest with yourself about what YOU need. Don’t just jump on the startup bandwagon because you want to sound cool - join it because you couldn’t imagine being a part of anything else.