5 Reasons to Choose a Startup over a Corporate Job

If you're looking for a good challenge, a startup job is right up your alley.

For previous generations, choosing between a startup or a corporate was easy – you would pick a corporate job every time, and startups barely even existed. For millennials and Generation Z, the choice is no longer so clear cut. Not only are startups a real viable option that has benefits that corporates can’t deliver, but they also have the potential to grow into companies that are the size of corporates. In many instances, a startup career is a better option than a corporate, and here are five reasons why.

1. You’ll have more responsibility and ownership

At a corporate, your role is usually very clearly defined, and your responsibilities quite fixed. This is down to the fact that teams are large, resources are plentiful, and the business has operated for long enough to know exactly what needs to be done and who needs to do it. At a startup, this isn’t the case, and it can be a real advantage. Teams will be smaller, which means your responsibility will be larger, and most likely, you’ll be the sole person responsible for the outcome of your area. This will give you a real sense of ownership over your tasks, and if you perform well, it can lead to even greater responsibility and growth.

2. You’ll progress more quickly

Startups yield many more career opportunities for rapid professional and personal progression than corporates. When teams are small and fluid, you’ll often need to learn new skills to make things happen. Many tasks in a startup will not have been done before, so they are great chances to figure out how to do new things and to stretch yourself. Also, in corporations climbing the ladder and progressing, your role is usually a slow process. In contrast, in rapidly expanding startups, you can find yourself in more senior leadership roles quickly and even have the possibility of leading your own team.

3. Your impact will be higher

Several factors will lead you to have more of an impact in a startup than you would in a corporate. In startups, smaller team sizes mean that you’ll be involved more directly in the creation of systems and the product. You’ll be able to see the fruits of your labor much faster than you would in a corporate job where change is more slow and gradual. Startups are also usually working in new areas and breaking new ground, so you’ll often be involved in a project that has the potential to bring about real change in a way that the activity of an established corporate won’t.

4. The work atmosphere is better

The work culture and atmosphere of a startup are markedly different than that of a traditional corporate. In recent years, corporations have begun to take cues from startups and make changes to their work culture, but it still lags far behind that of a startup. The dress code at startups is casual and informal, and you can basically wear what you want. Team spirit is often stronger and more tight-knit, and work and play can blur together. Friday drinks are the norm in most startups, which is something that would be relatively unheard of in a corporate. The general atmosphere in a startup office is generally more casual, lighthearted, and less formal than that of a corporate.

5. You’ll be surrounded by passionate, talented people

Most startups are very mission-driven, and they attract people who are passionate about the company and its potential. If you want to be involved in a project where people are prepared to work long hours and do whatever it takes to bring about something that will yield real change, then a startup job is for you. A corporate can often have a very ‘business as usual’ mentality, which in itself is not a bad thing, but if you want to feel excited by what you are working towards and to share this with your team members, pick a startup career.

Marco Eylert
Co-Founder | TalentSpace

Marco's a co-founder at TalentSpace, and he previously worked at McKinsey & Company, Roland Berger and Credit Suisse. He graduated from Bocconi University and Johns Hopkins SAIS, where he was a scholar of the Haniel Foundation and the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes.

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