Should I Work at a Start-Up?


Working for start-up companies can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience, but finding the right start-up job can also be very difficult. Start-up jobs involve a great deal of risk, since many start-ups fail, and they require a particular set of skills to navigate successfully. If you’re thinking about looking for work at a start-up company, ask yourself the following questions.

– Do I like change? Start-ups often run in a fast and freewheeling manner. Your job may change drastically during your time at one, and you may be asked to stretch yourself professionally.

– How well can I evaluate this start-up’s chances? In order to properly judge a start-up job, you need to be able to evaluate the start-up’s business plan and know where its funding is coming from. The company should be willing to share a little information with you about who’s funding it and whether it’s bringing in revenue. If it’s not, that may be a red flag.

– Do I like risk? Start-up companies tend to be high-risk, high-reward for employees as well as for investors. Many times part of your compensation will come in the form of equity, but you should be leery of companies that can’t offer you anything close to market rate in terms of salary. Business that can’t pay new hires competitively may struggle to find good talent and end up failing.

– How big can this company get? There are many kinds of start-ups in the world. Some operate in a well-established arena, making small improvements to existing products or processes. Others have the chance to upend old ways of doing business and create something entirely new. The more disruptive a company is the more opportunity lies in front of it.

– Are my expectations and the company’s in line? Some start-up companies have unrealistic expectations of new hires. Know your own limits, and if a company asks for unreasonable production out of you, be willing to turn it down.


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