When you hear “startup” do you immediately picture a group of millennials in plaid and tight jeans, sipping cold brew from mason jars with their feet on a big wooden table full of Macs?
Well, you are not alone - this what most people picture. And though this mental image is dramatized, the fundamental truth is that startups have a unique culture. And not just unique to the standard corporate culture, but to other startups as well.
When I had the idea for this blog post, I reached out to my friend, Logan, who works at a startup out of Chicago called Spikeball. He immediately got back to me with tons of stories and perks of his startup life. Combined with my own experiences at Will Reed, I came up with seven unbeatable perks of life at a startup.
1. You’ll learn a lot - fast.
This is normally because you have to. When a startup has a new hire, a sigh of relief will echo across the company because the burden on everyone’s shoulders just shrunk - even if just by a miniscule amount.
Because there are few people, you will get to wear a lot of different hats and take on a lot more responsibility than a typically new hire. You’ll get exposure to lots of different projects and aspects of a business that an employee at a large company would never touch.
“I am learning about tons of different facets that I am not even in charge of because the people in those areas are learning how to deal with new obstacles as we grow (international growth is a big example).” - Logan at Spikeball
2. You’ll quickly get close with your coworkers, relationally and... physically. There’s only a few of you, and you’re all working for the same thing in the same small space.
“I work two desks down from the CEO and one desk down from the inventory manager. Literally within 10 feet of basically everyone in the company.” - Logan at Spikeball
3. You get to look professionally stylish - not stylishly professional.
Because let’s be real - no matter how hard you try to make that dress skirt or pant suit look good, it just will not. But at a startup, the dress code is just to make sure you look good! So feel free to break out those colors and live a little.
4. There is unbeatable flexibility.
Whether that means working from a bean bag chair in your office or working remotely so you can go to your family reunion in the great state of Oregon, the flexibility a startup has to offer cannot be beat by bigger companies.
5. You don’t stare at the clock all day to see when you can go home.
I remember asking my boss what time work ended, and he said, “We work until the work is done.” And immediately I thought, “Uh, well... When is that? Is that ever?” And then after a few weeks on the job, I found myself staying at the office longer in order to finish up that last project, put on finishing touches, not because I had to, but because I wanted to.
You’ll never have an issue of not having enough to do because there is always something that needs to be done. Granted you may not know HOW to do things - but you are the kind of person who is going to figure it out one way or another and get the job done.
6. When you meet someone who also works at a startup, you feel like you just gained a family member.
It does not matter if their startup is selling sports equipment and you sell gourmet dog treats, when you hear they work for a startup you suddenly feel like you can talk for hours. You share funny office stories or similar struggles, when it comes down to it - they just get you!
“Working in a building with other startups [is a perk]. The other startup on our floor is a microwave healthy lunch company so I literally never have to bring lunch because it's always in the office.” - Logan at Spikeball
7. You’re a big fish in a small pond.
At big companies, you could be one in a 100, even 500, new hires worldwide. You’re just a another face in the crowd.
At a startup, when you join the team, the whole office dynamic changes. The team just experienced explosive growth just by the addition of one more brain!
You can stand out - shine! People know when you have worked really hard on something and see it come to fruition. And you better believe they are going to be the ones handing out high fives like candy when you have your first big success!
When it comes down to it, working at a startup can be one of the most rewarding decisions you ever make. You get to experience a company in it early years before it gets big. You get to spend time with a group of like minded people and become life long friends. And you get an unbeatable opportunity to learn, grow, and challenge yourself.