Whether you’re facing redundancy or simply finding your current role a little, shall we say, boring, focusing your job search on Startup companies makes a lot of sense. Working for a large company is great on many levels – job security (as if), great pay rates (as if), lots of available overtime (as if) and the chance to develop your career and climb the ranks (as if). OK, so that’s cynical, but the truth for many of those employed by large firms in the last few years is simply that job security is not a given. Frozen pay terms are being discovered far more frequently than frozen mammoths, overtime is limited or at best offered on a time in lieu basis and at worst is part of a reduced hours programme. At the same time the chances of a promotion are rare, as existing managers choose to ‘extend’ their responsibilities to cut costs. Working in a Startup company is a whole different world and while there are big downsides the upsides are pretty meteoric.
Opportunities in Bad Times
During this recession, and most recessions you care to think of, one thing stands out. There’s a sudden spike in the number of Startup companies forming. On the employment side, while big corporations are cutting personnel, new ventures are trying to recruiting those talents that couldn’t express themselves in a corporative environment where organisational rules are keeping creativity at bay.In addition, modern technology has made running a firm much easier and the combination of these factors has made this particular recession, ironically, a great time for Startups. Historically, some of the biggest and best known brands around today have started up in recessionary days: from the Marriot Group to Microsoft a huge number of firms have been established in dark days. Those employees in on the early days of these companies have not, it has to be said, done half bad for themselves.
In terms of working in a Startup there are huge differences compared to working for a large, bureaucracy ridden firm. In small companies you’ll be an integral part of a team, with far more influence in making decisions. You will certainly learn the true meaning of taking ownership often of several things at once! Teams in small firms generally work with more a sense of camaraderie and genuine team spirit, as they have a real investment in the success of the firm. While this latter fact may also be true of large companies, it is generally much harder to feel personally responsible for a major multi-national than it is when working in a small Startup. In general you’ll find that a role with a Startup will be diverse; you’ll get more experience in a whole range of fields and this is a huge benefit if and when you need to move on. However, if you have a very small comfort zone and don’t enjoy relying on your own initiative, small firms are probably not for you.
Trapeze Double Acts
Running a small firm is very much like walking a tight-rope. Working in one is likened to being one of those unfortunate acrobats who stand on the shoulders of the tight-rope walker. Company failures and closures can be as meteoric as their success. This is possibly the biggest risk working for a Startup – if the company plummets, you will be out of work in a matter of minutes and the chances of getting three months’ notice in the case of redundancy is not so much unlikely, as laughable. As with running your own business it takes a person with nerve, determination and an unflappable nature to work within a new company in the early days; however, if all goes well, you could, one day, find yourself on the board of one of the biggest multi-nationals going!