Working at an Early-Stage Startup

I get asked on a regular basis if it’s a good idea to apply for a job at an early stage startup. As usual, the answer is “it depends”. There are clear pros and cons, in my opinion.

Pros

  • You learn incredibly fast
  • You have a lot of influence on what your job looks like
  • You are part of an extremely tight-knit team of people
  • You get a lot more responsibility than in established companies

Cons

  • You usually need to figure out a lot of things on your own
  • Priorities shift often and quickly
  • Those shifts can feel random and uninvited
  • Usually, nobody has time to mentor you
  • You get a lot more responsibility than in established companies
  • You might feel very lonely

I usually tell folks that it really depends on how secure they feel with what they know and what they don’t know. Chances are that you have to jump into something completely unexpected that will make you feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to feel like that but you should be honest with yourself: can you sit with the discomfort and do the best you can?