Startups are taking the world, especially India, by storm. There are over 41,355 startups in India and the number is surely set to rise further. All top companies ranging from Apple to Google, Facebook and Amazon were once startups which had an idea that took off, making billions for the company. One of India’s most successful startups, Flipkart, started off as a team of 2 in 2007, and has now grown to a market value of $22 billion with a team of over 20,000 people.
However, there is an ever-present chance that the startup will not meet the expected level of success. If you have recently completed your graduation, you may be under pressure to join a more ‘conventional’ company such as an MNC, a corporate or a PSU.
However, don’t rule out working with a startup as your first job after graduation before you consider the following.
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Advantages of Working at a Startup as a Fresher
There are multiple advantages of working with a startup, especially in the beginning of your career. A few of the benefits are:
1. Informal Environment
Startups boast of a comfortable and more easygoing environment, often without strict dress codes, making the transition from college to work life easier. You will have more freedom in how you dress, how you express yourself, and how you spend time. Without the typical hierarchical order present in long-established companies, seniors and mentors are more accessible in startups, giving you more opportunities to learn and grow.
2. Role Variety
When you work in a startup, you will inevitably have to perform more roles than the job you signed on for, as startups generally have an ‘all hands on deck’ situation. For a fresh graduate, this is an ideal opportunity. In your first job itself, you will be able to gain valuable experience in multiple roles. Not only will this varied experience work as an asset on your resume, but it will also give you clarity on which roles interest you the most, helping you plan your career goals better. As an added bonus, your multi-tasking skills will improve as will your ability to work under pressure and handle stress.
3. Active Participation
In a startup, which generally has a small team size, you will be rubbing shoulders and interacting with the top honchos of the company. Startups are an ideal place for networking and connecting with professionals who can share their valuable insights and experience.
In established companies, it is generally not as easy to access bosses and even if you do, ideas are accepted from those higher up on the work-chain. Due to the new and novel nature of startups, the typical boss-employee conventions can be overcome and you can participate more actively in the decision-making and functioning of the company.
4. Personal Growth Potential
Working in a startup offers you the best chances of rapid personal growth. Based on your work, your ideas and the growth of the company, you can rise rapidly to higher positions without having to spend a mandatory number of years at a specific post. If the startup catapults in success, you will possibly have considerable growth in your salary/stocks as well.
Moreover, the learning opportunities at a startup will benefit you throughout your career. Experience of working with a startup has great value in the job market and will help you stand out from the competition. Having worked with a startup indicates to future employers that you are hardworking, proactive, responsible, driven, a self-starter, and not swayed by brand names.
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Disadvantages of Working at a Startup as a Fresher
While there are significant advantages of taking a job with a startup after graduation, there are some disadvantages as well that you should consider in order to make an informed decision:
1. Lack of Job Security
One of the biggest drawbacks of working with a startup is a lack of job security. Even if you are working hard and performing your role perfectly, the company may face losses, which would most likely affect your job.
Expert Tip- Although there may be less job security working with a startup, the beginning of your career is the best time to take risks. If you succeed you will have great rewards, while if you falter you have the backup support of family and not as many responsibilities as later on in your career. Your first job is an ideal time for you to experiment with what works for you.
2. Longer Hours
A job with a start-up would most likely not be a fixed 9-to-5 job. Since the startup is still working on establishing itself, it will typically require you to put in extra hours, whether in the evenings or even on the weekends. You might not be specifically forced to put in x number of hours, but as responsibility rises ahead of a deadline you would probably be spending more time at work than usual.
3. Lower Salaries
A startup will most likely offer you a lower salary than an established company, although you may get options to invest in stocks (ESOPs). The low salary has the potential to increase based on the success of the startup, however, even after the startup is raking in money, there may be other financial liabilities on it before it is able to boost employee salaries.
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What you Should Consider Before Accepting a Job at a Startup
Apart from the advantages and disadvantages of working with a startup, there are other factors you should also consider before you decide whether your first job after graduation should be with a startup.
1. Your Expectations and Preferences
If you are thinking about working with a startup, it is best to identify your motivation for doing so and what you expect to get in return. If you are looking for a long-term career with rapid growth, or a job where you can express your views without being held back by your designation, then maybe a job at a startup is a good idea for you.
However, if you are looking for a more comfortable job in a structured atmosphere, maybe a startup might not be the best fit. If you are looking for experience in various job roles in your concerned field, or are hoping to become an entrepreneur yourself, a job with a startup would be a good choice.
2. Your Belief in the Company
Unlike MNCs or corporate, where their performance and capability is already proven, a startup’s potential for success is yet to be seen. When you consider working with a startup, conduct thorough research on it. How is it being funded? What are its long-term plans? What is the company’s USP? How is the employee culture? Take the advice of mentors and analyze the potential of the startup. Also, consider your own views; do you think the startup will succeed? If you believe in the company’s concept and its team, you will have more conviction and passion for the work, resulting in greater chances of success.
3. Your Capacity for Risk
Considering that a startup would still be establishing itself, working with one at any point in your career is a risk. However, it’s a risk that can pay off handsomely if you make a careful decision. Make sure that you are prepared for the long hours, low salary and intense work that will be involved. Visit the startup, and imagine yourself in the atmosphere. Think about whether the risk is suitable for you at your stage in your career and weight it out against the benefits.
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Once you complete your graduation and the job market looms ahead, the decision of whether to work with a startup or at a traditional corporate job can appear to be a dilemma. However, remember that at this stage in your career, it is the ideal time for exploration. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages to evaluate whether the job is suitable for you.
If you are still not clear about which type of company to pursue a job with, consider taking internships, so that you can experience the working style without making a long-term commitment.
Source: Government of India Statistics