To the fresh-out-of-college kid with formidable career goals, startups can seem very enterprising; and the truth is they are! The usual expectations involve working in a “chilled-out” office space with a packed up refrigerator and bean bags. This is also true. Startups are most convenient in maintaining an unconventional working space. They are also known for having a challenging work environment that can teach a lot about entrepreneurship. But this is a small portion of the jigsaw puzzle that startups are. So why would any college student want to begin a career with a startup?
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The foremost thing to consider is what sets startups apart from corporates. Startups are basically corporate organisations in the making. For example, Flipkart started off as a startup venture with some seed capital to sell books online before they became one of the foremost e-commerce sites in India. In some ways, startups are the college students of the business world, considering that most startups are a work-in-progress. So, for a college graduate looking out to start a career, startups are most suitable.
There is a ton of things to learn at a startup environment that will make a huge difference in the impressionable career life of a fresher. Although, it would be most advisable for young people to know what they are getting themselves into. So, here are some things that college graduates – and probably just about anyone deciding to start working at a startup – can expect before they consider joining one.
Well, at a startup, you probably shouldn’t expect a particular time set aside for training before you start any live work. Working at a startup is a hands-on experience, meaning that in most cases, you’ll have to learn on the job. This can sometimes turnout to be overwhelming, and the work style can turn out to be stressful. To tackle this, make sure you ask as many questions at your interview regarding your job profile and everything involved therein. In doing so, you can do your ground work and have a productive start.
In a startup environment, time management is crucial. Most startups work with real-time deadlines, that is, you will have super tight deadlines. It is most advisable to realistically plan out schedules and stick to them. This is something that doesn’t come easily and requires hard work and focus.
Most startups don’t usually have a traditional structure of hierarchy but follow a flatter hierarchical structure. To break it down, there’s a good chance that your CEO might be sitting a couple beanbags away from you. In such an organisational structure, the lines of communication are far more open. There is little hassle in communicating with your superiors through several other people. The benefit of a flatter hierarchy is that your voice can, and will, be heard, and you will be involved lot more than you expected. This will also help you mould better relationships with your experienced superiors, and also develop better communication skills.
There’s a running joke that most CEOs of startups are also their janitors. In several cases, this is true because one person takes on several roles to execute several different activities. So, it would be wise to be prepared to learn to work in such challenging environments. It would help to start taking it one step at a time.
There is a tremendous amount of things you can learn from working at a startup. Despite your failures and your successes, the knowledge you gain through your work experience is a huge resource. By the end of it, your resume will hold additional skill sets that you didn’t sign up for. Another important thing is, you ‘unlearn’ and ‘relearn’ as much as you learn. Most startups are far from conventional. You can put to test the things you know in theory and you’ll find that could be totally different from what you were taught to expect. With this, you are also given room to be creative and experiment with your skills.
Most startups have flexible timings if not for shifts. This means that they give you enough room to manage your time as long as you finish the required task in the given time. Also, there are no hard and fast dress code rules as long as you’re fully clothed and decent. Startups are quite lenient this way.
The startup sector is picking up pace with every passing year and there is great potential in this category. In any case, prepare yourself to be hardworking, dedicated, and quick. Startups can be rough for a start and demand passion and dedication. Stress might be at your heels, but the truth is, you’ll learn to overcome several hurdles by yourself. This way, startup environments can (intentionally or unintentionally) instill independence in you. So, if you want to begin your career with a startup, give these things some thought.