Since bucking corporate life a year and a half ago, I’ve had the pleasure of working for one of the best (in my biased-and-not-so-humble-opinion) startups in the City. The Muse, where I call "work-home", is a website that provides top-notch career advice, career coaching, as well as an inside look at culture-minded companies & jobs. Needless to say, I live and breathe careers and callings and culture. It’s been an amazing place to learn and advance. Not to mention, there is a never-ending flow of excitement that comes with being a part of a fast-growing company. To give you perspective, when I started, I was employee ~#33. We’re now toppling 140. And we’re still hiring.
Since working at The Muse, I've become one of those annoying people who loves going to work every day. I work with intelligent, like-minded people. People who are driven and want to see the career space changed for the better. I can honestly say that I respect and admire my leadership team and you know what? The perks aren’t bad either. They had me at unlimited vacation….
So it makes sense when I hear about people wanting to be involved in the startup scene. You’re probably sitting there on the other side of the screen thinking, “Okay Jena - sign me up. How do I get into this world?!"
Not so fast.
Despite the awesomeness that is #startuplife, it’s not for everyone.
Startups are hard work. A lot of people romanticize what it looks like to work for a startup and are disappointed when they find out it’s not all fun and games. Hear me: startups aren’t for the faint of heart. You have got to be tough. You have to have an insatiable hunger to advance the good of the team and the company - not just your own career glory and potential payout. Growing companies deal with massive growing pains peppered with lots of conflict. Most will fail. Some may survive. Things are changing daily. Scrap that - they are changing by the minute. Goals change and culture shifts and industries can alter in a second. Procedures usually aren’t in place and it is a “build-it-as-it-comes” methodology. Imperfectly finished, not perfection has to become the mantra. And you know what, sometimes it feels like the Wild Wild West. Sometimes I go to bed spinning with all the things to do.
So with the inevitable turmoil, you have to be in it for the right reasons. It has to be worth it. If you like structure and policies and lots of resources (people + time + money) to get your job done OR you like to cleanly divide work from life - a startup may not be for you.
And that’s totally okay.
You don’t need to work for a startup to have a fulfilling career. More and more companies that are traditionally “corporate” are adopting and learning from the cultures of startups and more people-minded organizations. That’s really good news! So just because working for a startup is the “trendy” thing to do - be truthful to yourself and really think about - “Would this be healthy for me? Would I thrive?”
If the answer is yes - great! If not, also great! At the end of the day, every one of you is unique and is better suited for different types of work.
Neither is better or worse.
Want to talk about your specific situation? Are you thinking about taking the leap into a startup but aren’t sure how or if you’re even doing it for the right reasons? Let’s set up some time to chat.