INNOVATION

7 Reasons Why Working In a Startup Is the Best Way to Start Up Your Career

That large cor­po­ra­tion of­fers a higher in­come and bet­ter job se­cu­rity. Crippling uni­ver­sity debt and an ad­dic­tion to snow­board­ing (which is­n’t ex­actly cheap) makes this all the more tempt­ing. But I rolled the dice, joined WorkingMouse and it’s sig­nif­i­cantly helped my pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment for a num­ber of rea­sons.

1. Greater Variety

Too of­ten cor­po­ra­tions hire per­son­nel to com­plete a spe­cific role. That’s where it starts and ends. Your par­tic­u­lar skill set al­lows you to per­form that role within the com­pany with no ex­plo­ration. Startups don’t have the re­sources avail­able to hire an em­ployee for each par­tic­u­lar role. As a re­sult you’ll find your­self try­ing your hand at dif­fer­ent tasks, tasks you weren’t taught at uni­ver­sity or would­n’t have at­tempted in a tra­di­tional role. My back­ground is in law and busi­ness man­age­ment but just last week I was de­sign­ing graph­ics. It’s a great way to equip your­self with skills that might be vi­tal later on in your ca­reer.

2. License to Innovate

For many star­tups it’s all about ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and in­no­va­tion. The fact no process has been es­tab­lished helps breed this in­no­va­tion cul­ture. It means you’re given the li­cense to go out and try dif­fer­ent tac­tics to see what works best - which is only known af­ter you’ve ex­per­i­mented. The abil­ity to think out­side the box is an in­valu­able trait, es­pe­cially with ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence on the rise. It’s also more re­ward­ing to find a so­lu­tion to a busi­ness prob­lem on your own.

3. Learn From Entrepreneurs

Very rarely, if ever will you get to meet the CEO or any high level man­ager as a grad­u­ate at a large cor­po­ra­tion. There’s sim­ply too many cogs in the wheel. Contrast this to a startup with 10-20 em­ploy­ees, where you will in­vari­ably work closely with the founder. The founder will likely be an en­tre­pre­neur who was able to iden­tify a busi­ness prob­lem and de­velop an in­no­v­a­tive so­lu­tion. Working closely with an en­tre­pre­neur gives you the op­por­tu­nity to learn what it takes to run a busi­ness.

4. Awesome Work Environment

Before I started at WorkingMouse I was un­der the im­pres­sion a job con­sisted of turn­ing up to work at 9 with a brief­case and stay­ing in a cu­bi­cle till 5. This could­n’t be fur­ther from the truth. The of­fice is an open space, de­signed to en­cour­age col­lab­o­ra­tion. We play mu­sic through the speak­ers and have guest speak­ers pre­sent on Fridays - with a cheeky beer to help fuel the cre­ative juices.

5. Make a Difference

When I joined WorkingMouse, we had less than 20 em­ploy­ees. This means you’re not stuck in some cor­ner work­ing on mun­dane tasks that add no real value. Everything you do is no­tice­able and di­rectly con­tributes to the suc­cess (or not) of the busi­ness. Its def­i­nitely more re­ward­ing than be­ing an­other cog in the wheel.

6. Age is No Barrier

Startups em­brace a new set of rules. Age or ex­pe­ri­ence has noth­ing to do with your po­si­tion at WorkingMouse. It’s based on one at­tribute - abil­ity. Provided a new grad­u­ate has the abil­ity to lead and a strong work ethic, there’s noth­ing stop­ping them from be­com­ing a pro­ject lead.

7. Learn to be Self Sustainable

Being able to fol­low in­struc­tions is great but it will only get you so far. In a startup you’ll learn how to set your own goals and con­tribute with­out strict in­struc­tions or over­sight. This is be­cause no one has time to man­age you. You need to man­age your­self. Just like in uni­ver­sity, no one’s peer­ing over your shoul­der while you com­plete your as­sign­ment. It’s a valu­able trait and will serve you well as your ca­reer pro­gresses.

A lot of peo­ple want that cor­ner of­fice on the 54th floor but chances are your first job won’t get you there. The best tools grad­u­ates can equip them­selves with come from join­ing a startup. And who knows, you may just be at the next Apple.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yianni Stergou

Marketing en­thu­si­ast and FIFA ex­tra­or­di­naire

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