10 Reasons Working In A Startup Is Terrible

Yeah yeah, we get it, ‘startups are the future’. But did you ever stop to think that working in a startup might not be for you at ALL? There are loads of dreadful things about working in a startup. Here, let us explain.

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10. You have to be good at what you’re doing, like, ALL THE TIME.

You know those cushy jobs that exist in films where the new kid wanders around hallways in a big shirt looking for the photocopier or the coffee maker or room 55bxcloudcontrol, lost in a glorious, warm sea of tasks that don’t matter? No responsibility, no cares, just punching those glorious numbers until the clock salutes you at leaving time?

Yeah, those jobs don’t exist in startups. In a startup, you’re given actual things to do, things that matter to the future to the company, things you have to think about, really stretch your brain on, pretty much from the word go. You’ll be a valuable, necessary member of the team, who will need to pull their own weight, and make a damn difference. I know, right?

9. Everyone there CARES so damn much

The thing is, you don’t set up your own company, or go to work for a small company because of the immediate dollar dollar. You do it because you love it, you’re passionate about it, and you really believe in its potential. Imagine what that does to your work ethic. People who work in start-ups LOVE the work they do – and they’ll do a lot of it. The maniacs.

So, to anyone looking for an easy ride, looking to get by on doing the minimum amount of paper-coasting and reaping the sweet sweet company expenses rewards, get out now. These people care, and they’re determined to make you care too.

8. There are no clear lines of work and play

You know what they say – keep your work your work, and your funsiestimes your funsiestimes. You clock off at five, and then you leave those tie-wrangling chumps behind to get to the nearest bar with your bestest buds to complain about the last eight hours. Not the case in a startup. These people want to MAKE work their play. So they’ll be doing things like office drinks, family work outings, and they might even hang out with each-other off the clock. HANG OUT WITH EACH OTHER VOLUNTARILY, LIKE SOME KIND OF MAD APES.

It’s the startup culture, it mixes all this stuff together, and it’s damn confusing. You’ll end up liking them all, is the problem. No-one wants that.

7. You’ll have to wear your own clothes EVERY DAY

You know what’s great about that grey and orange uniform you used to wear at that fast-food place? Apart from the matching sausage hat, we mean? The fact that you never had to think about what you were wearing that day, because your working hours were not about you expressing yourself.

Now, in the startup world, they’ll want you to be yourself. And wear what makes you comfortable, and happy. Monsters.

6. It’ll be much harder to jump ship

Sure, big companies don’t like letting good people go, but startups and small companies HATE losing their talent. So where in a larger company, they’ll nod and shrug and congratulate you on the next desk that rolls your way, in a startup they’ll employ all kinds of nasty tricks to keep you invested. Tricks like, offering you shares in the company, kicking up your salary, really plotting out how your career with them will develop, getting you training and qualifications and making you an integral part of the company’s future.

5. So many new people, all with different names and dreams and stuff

What’s great about working for a massive company is that a lot of them like to keep their secrets secret, so there’s not a lot of communication between them and competitors. Not so in the startup world. It’s a much more collaborative and communicative space, with social events, networking and brain-storming opportunities at every turn. They want to help each-other, get to know each-other, support each-other. Which means loads of new people, all the time. Exhausting.

4. You can’t just be all talk

We all love saying the words “Hell, if I were running this operation – “, safe in the knowledge that a comforting barrage of management and red-tape will prevent us from ever making good on the words that come next. In a startup, if you have an idea, and it’s good, it might bloody well happen. There’s nothing stopping any member of the team from changing the way in which the company does things. And who needs that kind of pressure, right?

3. It’s not been done before, which means it might not work

Originality is the name of the game in the startup world. Trying something new, trying to see things a different way, trying to leap and bounce and think a path to innovation. And it’s all very tiring. In a big company, the rules have been set, the traditions have been put in place, and the jobs are tried and tested – don’t think about being different, that’s not that point. And there’s a great comfort in that. In a startup, every day is a bit of a gamble. No-one can be sure of what will happen next. And, though sure, it might keep things interesting, it can’t be good for your blood pressure.

2. It’s never about being good at just one thing

In the ‘all hands on deck’ ethos that comes with working in a small company, there’s no room for specialising at one skill or talent alone. You’ll be expected to grow your skillset, get good at lots of different things and have the ability to contribute to the business in a variety of ways. Yes, that will do wonders for your CV, your confidence and your prospects, but it means you have to be flexible, willing to learn and ready to adapt. Awful.

1. It’s hard.

It’s hard work, this. It’s long hours with people who really care about what they’re doing, and who will want you to care too. It’s having your opinion respected and required, your view point taken into consideration, your thoughts and ideas challenged, poked, prodded into submission and it’s responsibility, creativity and enthusiasm from day one.

It’s a merging of where you work and where you have fun, with people loaded with passion for what they and you are doing, where everyone is allowed and expected to challenge the traditional ways of doing things, whether those traditions have lasted years or days. It’s love, and it’s hope, and it’s frustration and it’s danger and it’s alchemy.

At the end of the day, why would anyone bother with that?


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Natasha Hodgson is the Content and Community Manager over at Enternships. She loves writing about inspiring things, and Nicolas Cage. Luckily, those two things are not mutually exclusive.

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