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Should you work at a startup? What to consider before joining a new company

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Working for startup companies sounds attractive to many people. Job descriptions often mention that there’s room for quick advancement and that the office environment is casual and fun.

While joining a new company can be fun and offer you new opportunities, there are some things to remember before signing a contract.

Plan for the Future

If you want to work at a startup, remember that there can be a lot of uncertainty. While there’s often plenty of room for growth, a startup also usually isn’t as stable financially. Consider getting a degree in a high-demand field, such as technology, so if the company goes out of business, you’ll have some credentials to fall back on. Taking out private student loans can help you pay for your education.

Stay Comfortable with Change

Businesses that have been around for a while often have defined procedures and many employees doing the same things every day. But startups don’t have defined processes yet, and they often make rapid changes as they determine the best procedures. Desk assignments, reporting structures, and job titles can change frequently. These constant changes can be frustrating if you are just getting used to the office or are used to a company that doesn’t change that much. But if you want to succeed, you should be able to embrace chaos. These companies have their choice of young professionals and showing that you can go with the flow can help to ensure your success.

Everyone Helps Out

You have to be able to dive in and get down to work. When you work for a startup, the limited number of employees means that you might need to perform many jobs. You might have a job description and title, but your everyday tasks might vary depending on the project you’re working on. Before working at a startup, you might not have imagined a workday that involves picking up pizzas for lunch, presenting proposals to the directors, and stuffing envelopes. But never say that something isn’t part of your job description. Expect to do both challenging and mundane tasks and stay ready to do them whenever necessary. Many new employees at startups focus on how they and their resumes can benefit from the job instead of thinking about how they can help the company. There are many eager, driven employees at these companies, and the ones who won’t be flexible or put the needs of the company first will not last very long.

Assessing the Risk

Startups can shut down just as quickly as they open, and that’s one of the risks that comes with working for one. You might assume that since the team is small, you’ll know about potential issues first, but that’s not always true. Whether you’re a financial analyst or an intern, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the company’s trajectory and performance before you begin and during your time there. Read about your company in the news and ask the managers how they’re measuring success at the business. If needed, you might start looking for another job.

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