The startup employment route: risks and rewards

Seeing as the Startup DC Career Expo is just around the corner, now seems as good a time as any to assess the merits of working for a startup instead of a larger, more established company.


Both have their good and bad points. This blog post as well as this one argues why working for a startup is better than working for a large corporate, and it basically boils down to these points:

  • Experience and opportunities: from day 1 you’ll be doing things it would take years for you to do at a larger company. Your work will be recongized, too.
  • Responsibility: because startup teams are so small, what you do (and what you don’t do) matters.
  • Networking: many of the people you work with and meet through the startup could be your business partners of the future. Meeting them through work is often a lot easier (and less stressful) than at seminars, conferences or networking events.
  • Discipline: both personal and company discipline. When there isn’t much money to work with, you’ll learn how to plan ahead, draw up a budget and (most importantly) stick to it.

But is everything rosy in the world of startups? Of course not. Some do eventually become as big as Facebook, Google or Apple, but many fail – although the failure can be a great lesson and need not be something you have to fear.

However, despite the possibility of failure there are a few things to bear in mind if you take the startup route, as both this post and this blog lays out nicely:

  • Be flexible and embrace change.
  • You will be doing some really interesting stuff, but you’ll also be doing all the donkey work too.
  • Do you like and trust the people around you, especially your manager? If they’re good at their job, you will be much better at yours.

Keen to learn more about working at a startup? Then come on down to the Startup DC Career Expo! Taking place on March 6 from 1-4pm in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom. Please RSVP through GWork.

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