Thinking of joining a startup? Think twice


Shreya Mathur was unhappy. It was her tenth day on her new job at a food aggregator startup, but something was not right for her. She missed her previous job at a multinational company—the posh location, the swanky office, the fat paycheck, the multiple bonuses, the cool ID card, the large canteen and the sea of people to network with. On the other hand, her new company was a six-member team, sitting in a small one-bedroom flat-turned-office in a residential colony of suburban Mumbai.

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The startup bug had bitten Shreya. She had taken this huge step of quitting her high-paying job at a renowned MNC to join a five-month old startup because almost everyone around her was doing the same. She had expected a startup job to be more rewarding and thought that it would enable her to contribute and excel more. None of this happened, though. She was already considering returning to the MNC way of life.

Shreya’s story is a classic example of why you should not quit your high-paying job to join a startup without careful consideration. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own preferences, and there is no single right path for everyone. For the sake of argument, however, we’ll discuss a few areas where corporate jobs can offer better advantages than their startup counterparts.

Job roles

Larger organisations are more systematic in their operations. There are clearly segmented departments consisting of people with well-defined roles and responsibilities. Every unit of the organisation is specialised and follows a proper structure of working. However, the same cannot be said for a startup. If you are used to working with specific KRAs (key responsibility areas), then you will find it difficult to adjust to the startup life. In a startup, you would be expected to take up much more than your specialisation areas.

Pay and perks

The scale of monetary and non-monetary benefits you get in an MNC is quite different from that of a startup. “In a startup, the pay packages are low, but you are expected to work for longer hours to make the company run more productively. You tend to have irregular working hours and less scope for flexibility. Contrary to that, a large organiszation offers more systematic working hours and leave policies,” points out Shruthi Nair, Business Development Leader at a laundry service startup.


Another important factor is the risk of business. Startups take time to make profits and are highly susceptible to market volatility. Lack of funds from investors, unsuccessful business models, low revenue sources and other factors can easily cause the business to shut down. However, multinational companies are less likely to face these risks and remain better protected due to their global support. And, if they do run the risk of a shutdown, the process is not overnight and employees usually have enough time to look out for another job.

Learning opportunities

Arijit Ghosh, a senior manager at a leading global consultancy firm, feels that peer-to-peer learning is much higher in large corporate organisations than in startups. “Because you meet a large number of people from varied professional, social and cultural backgrounds, your overall personality development and learning from co-workers is far better than at a startup, where your interaction is limited to a small team,” he says.

All said and done, startups and MNCs come with their own share of pros and cons. It’s up to every individual to make a choice between the two, depending on their goals in life. While there are plenty of advocates for the startup work life, there are enough takers for the MNC culture as well, since each has their own share of perks.