Before you join a startup, you need to read this. | Stone & Chalk | Pivott Careers
Popular culture loves to romanticise the idea of working in a startup. So it can be tricky to gauge what it is really like to work day-in-day-out in that environment. If you’ve been wondering — am I the kind of person that would flourish at a startup or a corporate? This article is for you.
We’ve looked into different working styles and where they work best, to help you make the right decision. We’d like to thank David Carbines, a multinational corporate employee turned successful startup co-founder (twice), for sharing his valuable insights on the topic. From specialised corporate roles with strict processes to fast-paced, fast-learning, high-energy startups. We explored both sides with David so you can take your next step with confidence.
1. You need to be proactive
First of all, David tells us that you can’t just wait for someone to give you work in a startup. You need to be curious and act on that curiosity. Be proactive. Not only with work that falls directly under your title, but any work. People who thrive in less structured environments seek out opportunities, take responsibility and work through them, even when the task takes them beyond their discipline. David’s noticed some people find this unnatural. They’d prefer to stick to their speciality and only take on jobs when asked explicitly. These people find the lack of structure disorienting. However, if you’re a proactive doer who seeks out problems and loves to solve them through experimentation and collaboration, a startup will give you all the room you need. David says you’ve got to love the problem-solving process. If you do, startups will provide you with a real rush.
2. You’ll wear lots of hats at a startup
And many for the first time. So it would be unrealistic to expect you’ll always succeed. You’ve got to be okay with the very real chance of your project not working. This is where another difference lies. People who thrive in startups are okay with losing and can tell their team they failed. In the startup world, David tells us failures are treated differently. They’re embraced and seen as a lesson. If you can fail, uncover the root cause, and honestly share that with the team, then you’ve won — you’ll do well in a startup. Many people struggle to separate themselves from their work. They see a failed job as a personal reflection. If you find it difficult to separate yourself from the work, you may find the environment taxing. Because when working at startups more often than not, you’re failing. There are lots of unknowns and endless firsts.
3. Steep learning curve
The knock-on effect, David points out, is an incredible learning curve. Each new project crosses different borders, from finance into product design, through digital marketing and across HR. Your skillset grows exponentially. You see sides of business you didn’t know existed, and your career can progress at rapid rates. If you’re energised by the idea of such a steep learning curve, startups are worth investigating. However, not everyone is interested in gathering diverse skills with such a dramatic learning curve. They’d prefer to hone in on one area. If that’s you, David suggests you may be more suited to technical roles at big corporates.
The final point David made was you need to work for a startup you believe in. The highs are higher, and the lows are lower in the startup world. If you don’t believe in the work your business is doing, those high-highs won’t be enough to power you through the low-lows.
Thanks to David’s powerful insights, you’ll have a much better idea of what startups are really like.
Does the sound of a startup or scale-up workplace interest you? If so, then our Pivott program is for you! It’s got all the tools and resources your need to start you on your ivott journey. And the best part? It’s free!
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Pivott empowers Australians with the right skills, tools and mindset when seeking career opportunities in a startup or scale-up. Made available free of charge, the Pivott program includes the Pivott StartSmart Academy, Pivott Jobs Platform, Pivott Events, Pivott Mentor Program, and more. Pivott is a national program which is being launched in Victoria, in partnership with LaunchVic.
Free expert talks, interactive workshops, and immersive experiences to support professionals in their career journey into startups and scaleups. These events feature employers, startup and scale-up leaders and industry experts, to set job seekers up with success.
Pivott StartSmart Academy
A free, 12-module, online course designed to support professionals from their first job application to their first week. The course is self-paced and accessible 24/7, and includes video case studies with real founders, startup employees and industry experts.
Pivott Jobs Platform
A platform which matches professionals to startup and scale-up opportunities based on technical and transferable skills. It allows job seekers to access exclusive startup and scale-up roles. It also enables startups and scale-ups to save time on their recruitment process through shortlisted candidates using the Pivott Jobs Platform for free.
A personalised program that offers 1:1 mentoring, connecting startup and scale-up leaders with high-calibre corporate leaders looking to transition into the startup ecosystem. Pivot Connect aims to help grow and enrich the talent pool within Australian startups and scale-ups. It provides a supportive platform to enable corporate leaders to bring their depth of industry knowledge and experience to the startup sector.
Originally published at https://www.stoneandchalk.com.au.