6 Things Learned Growing from your ‘Anti-Corporate’ Job to a Start-Up

You’re fresh out of college and looking for a job. It’s not as easy as you had hoped it would be. It takes time, patience, lots of interviews and even more let down. You set your mind on one particular company, known for it’s “anti-corporate” culture. You’re determined to land a job there, but don’t know why. You start building up your skill-set and religiously stalking new positions.

Next thing you know, you’ve landed an interview. After that, you have a job. Exactly what you wanted, right?

Imagine the excitement, the building anticipation as you walk in for your first day. No idea what to expect, but hey, the culture right? The first few months go by and everything is great. You’ve gained about 15 pounds from all the free snacks and lunches, but who cares, they’re FREE! You get to test the waters and try to find your passion. You meet cool people whom you’ll eventually call good friends. What more could you ask for?

Fast forward a year. You’re miserable. What was great has now lost it’s charm. Testing the waters is no longer fun. You want direction. You want meaningful work. Your co-workers and management are horrible. You really feel like no one has your back. You stay though. The anti-corporate culture, you can’t get it anywhere else.

Another 6 months go by and you’ve found yourself in a new position- at a start-up. You find yourself writing this article. “6 things learned growing from your ‘anti-corporate’ job to a start up”

You’re valued for your thoughts and for what you bring to the table

Getting a job in a larger company is almost easy if you have the right resume, knowledge and seem to be a culture match. At a start up though, those things are taken more seriously. It’s expensive to onboard a new employee, so it’s necessary to make sure this person will be a true fit. Your brains matter and are praised. It’s a wonderful feeling leaving work each day knowing you’re making a difference.

Less is more. You’re going to grow and fast

Chances are, you’re one of maybe five employees, especially if your start up is newer. With that comes more responsibility and more work. You are thrown into the game day one. Some projects may be similar to what you’ve done before and some not. You have to be comfortable expanding your horizons and learning new things. You really never know what the next day is going to bring for you. One day you might be coding a website, the next you might be copywriting a manual, then you might find yourself developing an app. The opportunities are endless.

The work you do is meaningful, but if you mess up, that’s on you

Ever put your heart and soul into a project to not get the full credit you deserve? HA, who hasn’t. With that less is more concept, there are fewer people to point fingers at. You might be doing great work and getting the credit you deserve, but the minute you mess up, that’s on you too. You’ll learn to own it, live up to it and break a sweat working to fix it. But it feels nice knowing at the same time, no one is really able to throw you under the bus when it’s not deserved.

Your growth is dependent on you

No longer is your future in the hands of someone who you might not exactly vibe with. It’s the most frustrating thing knowing you’re doing good work and deserve something more and having someone with ‘higher power’ refuse to give it to you or go as far as making you feel like you’re unworthy. Larger companies can really take a toll on your mind and in a very unhealthy way (shoutout to that very necessary prescription to xanax). It becomes almost normal to leave work feeling inadequate and to start believing what others want you to believe about yourself. Guess what though, they’re probably not true.

It’s your time

The days of sitting around and having nothing to do are long gone. No more staying until 6 when your work was done at 3. No more feeling guilty having to ask to leave early or come in a little late for that appointment you’ve already rescheduled 3 times. Your time is exactly that, yours. Leave early, come in a little late. All that matters is that your work is getting done. Because, if it’s not, well you read the third point.

It shouldn’t be about anything more than you

Have you seen a common theme here? It’s YOU. When it comes down to it, no one and nothing is more important than you. You may find yourself taking a job for the “anti-corporate,” all fun culture, but what is that going to do for you in the long run? Are you learning? Are you growing? Are you happy? If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, it may be time to start re-evaluating what your direction may need to be. Nothing is worth it more than you.

Yeah, you’re gonna miss it. It’d be a lie to say you’re not. Large anti-corporate cultures do have their perks. Work parties, cool offices, fun furniture, scooters, free food, hell yeah! When it really comes down to it though, are those perks worth everything else that comes along with it? Probably not.