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5 Things You're Unlikely to Find At a Startup

Jubin Mehta
30th Sep 2012
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Startup folks sometimes act a bit haughty, they’re so full of work and so proud of it that an outsider often wonders: “What is he so happy and worked up about?” A hard feeling to explain, it’s something one has to experience to believe. Moving from a corporate to a startup, there’s a huge paradigm shift in how you’d approach life. There are things you’d take for granted in a corporate but are unimaginable with a startup. A corporate life is comparatively relaxed and secured with things to offer that a startup never would be able to. Which are these things? Read on to find out:

1)     Your best friend, the instant coffee maker

You'll be a loner at a startup without your best friend. Water cooler talks, bunking work (yes, we know), drinking coffee for leisure; you’ll miss all this. A startup wouldn’t have the luxury of a coffee maker. If it has, it would be for what it is meant to be; taking a break.

2)     Forced HR initiatives and seemingly daily Fire Drills

Yes, the HR department has it in its KRA to increase collaboration and employee morale by arranging events and meetups but they all turn out to look fake and forced. There are occasional good ones (where alcohol is served) but most employees are looking at ways to escape them. ‘Structured celebrations’ just don’t sound right.

Also, safety and precautions is a definite must but there seem to be incessant fire drills where you see employees running up and down stairs to practice for the eventuality (which they sometimes wonder should happen) every other day. Yoga camps, health checkups and a million other things just seem like a way to fill up the days.

3)     Structure and Security

This is the last thing you’d look for in a startup. They all aim to achieve this one day but for the first few years, it’s almost superhuman to be able to make it possible. If you’re preparing to work for a startup and think that you’d have a well-defined structured job description, you’re only fooling yourself. It’s a different scenario each day. Also, there’s not a whole load of security to fall back on. It isn’t the case that you wake up one day and your company vanishes but you cannot even write that off completely.

4)     ID cards

Identity cards. They’re the modern man’s handcuffs. A proof of an identity, this very thing and the adjunct feeling of slavery is what drives many away from a corporate. One needs to flash their ID card for everything, right from entering the office to opening washroom doors; the ID card becomes an extension of the human body. But startups, don’t have them (or can’t afford them).

5)     Powerpoint Overload

Powerpoint is again a part and parcel of work-life everywhere. Some offices might be able to function perfectly well if Powerpoint and Excel were the only two softwares ever made. Startups also have lots of slides in their life because of their inherent ‘stickiness’ but it is more to the point and restricted because people (read VCs) tend to sleep off after 10 slides and that’s detrimental to a startup.

There are plenty more things as well that can be listed but these are some of the prominent differences. These points are in no way meant to deplore or loath bigger MNCs but only some of the harsh facts of a corporate life. Completely understanding the fact that once an organization grows beyond a point, all these restrictions and compulsions have to be employed to streamline operations and have a clear bigger picture but the endeavor should always be to remain a startup at heart (like many biggies claim to be). Over and above all this, some people are meant to live the startup way and maybe that’s why, we have serial entrepreneurs.

Leisure Read Recommendations: Digs Dilbert Took at Startups & VCs or Things you can learn from Calvin and Hobbes!

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