Entrepreneurship, Start up Life

The divided opinions of working in a start up

1 Dec , 2014  

Making the most of your internship/role in a start- up means giving your best in everything you do, whether it is the menial tasks or working on getting the next round of investment. There is often a divided attitude of working in a start up that can massively affect how much you learn and what experience you gain.

From experience in the London start up scene, there are two opinions that occur the most and unfortunately the latter is the minority.

  1. The ‘working in a start-up isn’t all that good’ attitude. Often, start-ups are compared to corporate roles and because there is no perceived incredible lifestyle or high income involved they are regarded lower in rankings. This attitude stems from the wider audience and society’s opinions. Generally, majority of people assume that working in a start-up isn’t all that great or considered highly.
  1. The ‘I’m incredibly lucky to work in a start-up’. On the whole, start-ups main concerns are funding and for this reason they can’t afford to waste time, money and resources on bad employees. Any start-up that recruits (properly) will have an incredibly hard application process and because they have so much to lose, they can only place their bets on those who can really make a difference to the company. A bad employee can get lost in the cogs of a bigger firm, however, a bad employee in a start up stand out like a sore thumb.

Unfortunately, those who have the first opinion are working in start-ups and are inhibiting their own development and experience. The ‘I think I’m above start-ups’ person lacks enthusiasm and more importantly lacks in quality of the work they do. Due to the lack of interest, managers are afraid to give them challenging work. No one wants to put an unenthusiastic candidate in front of their clients/investors/stakeholders.

Those on the other side of the spectrum are most likely to want to soak up as much information as possible. Having an attitude that strikes you as being lucky and worthy to work in such a challenging environment means that more often than not, you are open and willing to learn as much as you can in the firm. You may not be able to do every task required in the firm but a manager/boss can’t refuse someone who is willing to try.

The difficulty for employers is that differentiating between these two attitudes is tricky, as candidates don’t display their real attitude in the interview process. The important take away for potential employees is to fully research what it is like to what in a start up. If it isn’t for you, it’s recommended to not apply. No matter what industry/role/career you are in, no employer wants to work with an employee who feels they deserve to be in a better place.

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