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Startup Jobs - So Hot Right Now

Kevin Kerl
Thu, Apr 30, 2015

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Over the past five years more and more people have broken away from their long-standing jobs and started their own businesses. This has led to a large increase in available positions at small business, or startups as they are commonly referred to.

Startup jobs are the best jobs to land right now, right?

Let's paint the picture of being interviewed and potentially joining a startup in your community. You walk in for an interview and immediately notice the difference in their office compared to the large cubicle office setting your coming from. In one corner is a large bean bag chair with a person sprawled out on it typing away on their computer. As your eyes scan around you notice the ping pong table in the middle of the room, no one playing but how cool is it that they have one in their office. From what looks to be a kitchen, a person stands up and approaches you. He is wearing flip-flops and torn jeans, as he gets closer you realize he is the owner of the company that you will be meeting with. One final look around: everything looks so relaxed, things are quiet and everyone seems so focused. Your first thought: this would be perfect for me. 

Fast forward. You leave the interview thinking you found your dream job. However, you most likely missed the key indicators of what it is really like to work at a startup. Here is a breakdown of some common misconceptions about working at a small business/startup: 

  • Culture: Open floor plans, bean bag chairs, hoodies, and games are amazing. But these items aren’t always what they appear. Most of the items are there to create mental breaks and a comfortable setting for employees that are working 60+ hours a week. Providing an outlet to unwind allows employees to be more productive and creative.
  • Job titles: Job titles help define your role within the company. Two months into the job, the company has quickly grown and now needs you to work other things that you never saw yourself doing. This is common. Unfortunately, many people have a hard time handling multiple responsibilities, especially when they are across multiple functions in a company. The company needs a lot of things accomplished in its early growth and you need to be willing to do things outside of your job description.
  • ‘It’s all about that boss’: Amazing founders are the best bosses to work for. This sounds great and in a lot of cases is true, but it will come down to your expectations of them. Founders have a lot to accomplish in the day and usually they don’t worry about managing the team members they hire. If you are looking to be told what your next tasks are, then you will get lost and discouraged quickly.

When assessing a job opportunity always take a step back and fully understand the culture, job, and direction so you can make the best decision possible. These jobs can be amazing experiences, but you need to make sure you clearly understand the expectations they have of you so you can add value and create confidence in the owners once you start.

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