Free coffee, flexible hours and a casual dress code are just some of the better-known perks of working at a startup. But, startup life isn’t all ping-pong and happy hours: entrepreneurs want to hire team members who have the right combination of skills, attitude and hustle. If you’ve been invited for an interview, here are four myths about startup life you should know about before you walk through the door.
Myth#1: The work load is as light as the mood in the office.
As most startups start out with a small number of employees, everyone tends to have more responsibilities and be held to higher expectations. One person at a startup might be doing the work of three people elsewhere. You’ve got to be sharp, determined and willing to take on a heavier workload, because everyone else already is. But if you join a startup that rewards initiative and loyalty, you won’t have to “wait your time” to take on additional responsibilities as you would in more mature companies.
Myth #2: The environment is as relaxed as the dress code.
Yes, there are ping-pong tables and beer in the fridge, but since more is expected of you in your work, these perks come with increased pressure, longer hours, and more stress than you would normally encounter working at an established company. But if your mindset is to get as much hands-on experience as you can, joining a startup can be a good way to achieve this and make an impact early in your career.
Myth #3: Working at a startup will allow you to hone your skills.
Startups can be great for your resume and career because of the extensive hands-on experience you can gain, but it also means you may be expected to pitch in on tasks that don’t necessarily relate to your main job function. This might include administrative work, answering phone calls, and other less-than-thrilling responsibilities.
Myth #4: I will be rich when my startup goes public or is bought by Google.
Everyone dreams of achieving WhatsApp and Snapchat-level success, but a 2012 Harvard study shows that 75 percent of startups fail. This is a harsh reality that you will have to consider when weighing a startup job offer. While you may get a lot of experience and make solid connections, take this into consideration and how it could affect your long-term career trajectory.
If you’re still convinced that you can balance the perks with the work and cherish the opportunity to make a real difference in an ever-changing environment, the challenge of a start-up may be the fit for you – now you just have to convince your interviewer.
Photo Credit: Vinnie Lauria via Flickr