The Beauty of Startups


College graduates and those simply looking for work don't think twice about applying to established companies. There's a level of security in working for a large incorporated business that is so ingrained in us that we don't think twice about the rewards and disadvantages. We apply blindly. But this blind trust isn't put in a startup business, for a good reason. Startups are prone to failure, the likelihood of a startup company failing far surpasses the probability of it being successful, and that's a logical reason to why job seekers may be hesitant to work for these enterprises. 

At a large company, you have set hours, but at a startup, there's more flexible. Large corporations offer benefits, depending on the enterprise these benefits can be lucrative. At a startup, you might get benefits, almost certainly you'll get free food, it's the least your boss can do. Startups aren't looking too hot. But figure this, the shortcomings of startups can actually be the most efficient and creative ways of learning yourself and who you are in the workforce.

Startups are in the beginning phases of the business; it takes a lot of time, money and minds to get the ball rolling and make sure it stays moving. So when working at a startup, you may have signed up to be a communication specialist and find yourself helping out with event planning. This might seem like a con. But, while you're wondering how you're managing people to make the event go off without a hitch, you've accumulated a new skill and experience you can add to your resume. If you execute the new task well, you'll be tasked with even more responsibilities that were once outside of your skills. But through wearing multiple hats, you may learn of new things you like and things you may not like, you have a better sense of your strong suits and collecting skills makes you more invaluable to the young business.

Compare this aspect to a large company, their positions are often fixed and become less creative. The tasks won't keep you on your toes and sharp and at the top of your game. If you’re a supervisor, you supervise. If you’re a sales representative, you secure deals. There is less room to accumulate more skills and branch out to try new things because someone else is already doing it. It would also be more expensive to train you in another position when there's no need. Companies are cheap, maybe not by moral choice, but by design. It's capitalism. But because we're not here to bash established companies, the lack of other responsibilities does make for an environment to hone your skills as your focus centered.


Startups are great havens for fast and constant learning. Just as you learn different skills and there's also the luxury of working right under the boss, the real boss, the big boss. When I interned for the D.C. consulting firm over the summer, I was granted the ability to ask questions, even questions I didn't ask aloud I had answered by just watching and learning. Figuring out why things worked the way they did. Everything from negotiations, to the who's who's of this and that. I was right in the center of it. Startups provide an intellectual return on the labor you're investing. So while you're working you have access to knowledge corporate employees are purposefully barred from. Why teach someone how to do your job? Because they'll take it eventually, now they can carry out their work and yours. So while startups make you work, you're always learning something new. And if you're smart you'll make the CEO's resources and network yours.

No matter how low on the totem pole you are at a startup, you're still not as low as someone at an established corporate company. Sorry incorporated company employees, but it's true. At a startup, you won't have the frustration of not having your efforts recognized, because your part is so critical to the overall companies success, you and your labor are not just a microscopic part of the organization. You will eventually have weight if you're good at your job. Therefore, you'll have influence in a couple months or years time. You'll have a say in the decisions that are made in the company as you know what works and what doesn't work through your experience wearing multiple hats. You act like an advisor almost. You have more authority and visibility in the business than those who go for a larger and more established company. This sense of autonomy and visibility is also better for your overall being. Again, not to bash the big company girlies, but you’re going to have a lot less pull in your office than at a startup. There's a ladder to climb and a person on each step, so not only do you have to climb, but you have to make sure the person on the step moves or gets pushed off (by you) if they're not already trying to keep you from taking their spot.


The environment is also key to factoring in which company is right for you and your career. These aren't just jobs; this is the start of your career. I learned that I have an entrepreneurial personality. I like risks; I like thinking outside of the box, I'm not too keen on rigid structure. I want there to be a sense of thrill and investment to succeeding in what I am doing. With each project I am fully invested as they reward isn't just monetary but it gives me a real sense of gratification. I like the chase; it's fun. So in my contracting work with the firm is one I'm invested in. But while I'm working part-time for a large national chain, I couldn't give less of a shit. Every time I clock in, I think about clocking out. When customers speak to me enthusiastically about how pleasant I am, I wonder if they know I'm only nice because I'm a decent human and I'm getting paid to be a good employee. If your personality is less risky than an entrepreneurial nature and tends to prioritize safety when working at an established firm may be best suited for you. It may also be better suited for your lifestyle too. 

All in all neither is better or worse than the other in general. But depending on the individual and their unique needs, one may be better suited. In my opinion, for me, I quite enjoy working for a startup and having this experience be the base of my career. Working at a startup may seem to be the road less traveled but, keep in mind all these established large firm companies were once startups too. Don't sleep on startups beauties.