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10 Reasons You Should Definitely Not Work For A Startup

Startups are all over the place. Popping up overnight and taking the world by storm. But what’s so great about startups anyway? Should you be working for one, or should you just stay where you’re already comfortable, established even. Maybe. But maybe not. Regardless of your preconceptions, here’s my list of 10 reasons you should definitely not work for a startup.

You should not work for a startup if:

1. You Worship Routine

If you’re the kind of person that is more concerned with your days going as planned than with being flexible and adaptable, maybe a startup isn’t for you. At a startup, sometimes things can be a little hectic and you might need to be able to think on your toes and improvise. Your boss might get caught up and ask you to run a meeting. You need to be prepared to do anything at a moment’s notice. As anywhere, some days are calmer than others, but many are anything but calm. To thrive in a startup, you need to know how to do your job well, in addition to having the capacity to take things from others’ plates and execute them seamlessly. This might mean that you know a little more about the clients or that you learn the contact information by heart, but so be it.

One of the jokes at the office is that no one really knows what I do, and that’s because – for the most part – it changes every day. Some days, for example, I’m running around town picking up food for our open house, some days I do situation analyses for clients, some days it’s Facebook ads and reporting, and some days I’m scheduling details for my boss’s travel plans. I love doing different tasks each day, because things are always fun and interesting. If you prefer a set list of recurring tasks each day, that’s fine too, but you might be better suited for a more traditional work environment.

2. You Don’t Want A Mentor

If you don’t want to learn things from your boss, then maybe a startup isn’t from you. At our company, our CEO – my boss – is an inspiration to us all. She’s a real #girlboss. She’s a mom, a wife and a CEO and she’s barely over 30! She is completely self-taught and has been recognized by the likes of Forbes and Google – to name a few. She has so much knowledge about the digital marketing industry, and has so much insight to offer us. She also provides each member of her staff with meaningful feedback during reviews and keeps things really…well, real.

Ever wonder what it’s like to have the perfect balance of leadership in the workplace? Well, that’s pretty much what Courtney embodies. She keeps things light and fun, but has such a commanding presence that the line between friend and boss is pretty clear. That said, she can throw a mean themed party and makes staff happy hours that much more riotously hilarious.

3. You Don’t Want To Learn New Skills

See #2. If you’re essentially set in your ways when it comes to your professional life, you might not be the best fit for a startup. However, if you’re looking to expand your skill set, learn more about an industry, bring a fresh perspective to the table (especially if you’re a #yopro), or build your resume, you should consider working for a startup!

4. You Like A Formal Work Environment

If your professional fashion inspiration comes from the likes of Chuck Bass, then there is a chance you might not like working at a startup. While this is not necessarily true for every startup, I would venture to say a lot of startups tend on the casual side of things. There are days when we all look like we stepped out of a fashion magazine and others when we are poster children for #flannel, but hey – it’s all about balance, right? We don’t wear three piece suits to work everyday, because we have a pretty casual work environment, but if you like to keep things more formal then maybe a startup just isn’t for you.

5. You Don’t Want To Bond With Your Co-Workers

See #4. At this startup – and many others – there is a lot of teamwork, group brainstorming sessions, hard work, laughing, more work, brilliant puns, coffee addiction, crying (from the laughter), and more work. If you tend to stick to your cubicle and emerge only at the lunchtime hour, then you might not like a startup with a group-centered dynamic and casual environment. (And that’s okay!)

6. You Don’t Want To Be More Than Just A Number

At Smarter Searches, we are truly a dynamic team, where each person brings something unique to the table and every person matters. Everyone has a very diverse background, expertise, skill set and outlook, so we tackle projects from every angle. If you would prefer to go unnoticed, slip by under the radar, or have your department head call you by the wrong name…

Dept. Head: “Good work on that proposal, Diane!”
Cheyenne: *winces* “mmm thank you!”

…then maybe a startup isn’t for you.

7. You Value Work/Life Balance Above All Other Things

If work-life balance is your number one priority then … ehhhh, maybe you shouldn’t work for a startup. A lot of times, I know exactly what my coworkers are doing outside of work hours because we are also friends. We go to our CEO’s house for fancy wine nights and we plan team building exercises for fun. We talk about our personal lives sometimes because we spend so much time together, and we all share an office. Emotions come out sometimes! That doesn’t mean we get any less work done. We just support each other and lift each other up.

8. You Look Awful In Hats

As I have alluded to already, at a startup, you are bound to balance many different things. We each wear a lot of hats. We each perform tasks that are outside our “job description,” because our job descriptions are fluid. At a startup, sometimes every job is your job. If someone is struggling, you pick up the slack, and sometimes that means switching “hats” frequently. Somedays I’m more Executive Assistant than Brand Strategist, and that’s okay because I look sooo cute in hats. It’s all about flexibility!

9. You’re Obsessed With The Spotlight

If you’re the kind of person whose motto is “credit where credit is due,” then you should definitely not work for a startup. If you expect praise, a round of applause, a pat on the back and a feature story every time you go out of your way, or go above and beyond what is expected of you, look elsewhere. At a startup, things can get really crazy and hectic. Things get to a point where it is expected that you do more than what is expected of you. At the end of the day, though, it is so rewarding to know that you are helping a company grow that is going to take off and go places you never could have imagined – and you’ll be along for the ride! So maybe you don’t get a standing ovation for everything you do, but your loyalty will be noticed in the long run. Those working lunches and long hours will turn into your contributions to a successful company.

10. You Want To Hate Your Job

If you want to hate your job, clock in and out with little to no fulfillment, pull your hairs out because of your uptight boss that screams and yells, do work you hate just because the money is there, and resent your place of work for holding you back from your true passions, then, [say it with me] maybe a startup isn’t for you.

So, now that you know why you shouldn’t work for a startup, I hope you will. What are your favorite things about your job or work culture? Let us know in the comments below. For more Smarter Searches, check us out on social media. We’re @smartersearches everywhere.