Earlier this year I joined Majestyk as their fearless new creative director. I say “fearless” because I was deeply entrenched in the corporate life for a majority of my professional career and taking the leap to a startup was a BIG change that was both exhilarating and terrifying. Now that my transitional period is over and I’m all in, I can say that the excitement is still there while the terror has subsided. In truth, there’s not much be to be scared of and where’s the fun anyway if you don’t take a few risks here and there.
Now that I have my feet firmly planted and I’ve fully embraced startup life, a question I get asked a lot is what is it like, especially given my corporate background. I mean let’s be honest, working for a startup is not for everybody but neither is that corporate job. It all comes down to personality and what you’re looking to get out of your job. So I’ve compiled a list of the biggest differences I’ve noticed between working at a startup and at a corporate job.
One of the best advantages is the freedom afforded to you by the startup work culture. I was under the impression that people in startups work over time all the time, and that’s not entirely false – building an empire certainly takes time. But, things are much less confined and there’s a bigger sense of understanding that not everyone works the same way. Some people can’t sit at their desk for 8 hours and be productive, some people work better later in the evenings than early in the mornings … and that’s all okay.
It goes without saying that there is a much better sense of camaraderie when you’re part of a small team. What’s really astounding is the sense of camaraderie and support that exists within the entire startup community. While larger companies and agencies put their services up against each other, the startup community has found a way to work with one another. There’s a general unspoken understanding and belief that success can be achieved through combined efforts and it shows.
Working for a startup means you have to wear a lot of hats and take on responsibilities that are often outside of your given role. It’s an all-on-hands-on-deck mentality where you’re forced to become a jack of all trades. Getting the job done means pitching in where you can and when you need to. While some people may disagree, being able to take on a multitude of responsibilities is a rewarding challenge. You’re not stuck within your given role and you’re able to grow. The corporate standard of compartmentalizing roles and responsibilities dissolves at a startup and it provides a refreshing change of pace in your day-to-day.
Everyone equates startups as being synonymous with casual environments, cool offices and fun work culture … as they should. Working for a startup is fun – plain & simple. And we get to have office pets which is pretty much the cherry on top. Not to say that corporate offices don’t have great cultures, because they do, but there’s something to be said about the entrepreneurial spirit and its surrounding culture that’s hard to find anywhere else.