Why You Should Work at a Startup

By Monserrat Irazoqui.

I used to work at a startup. I quit because I wanted to chase my dream of working in fashion. I liked my job; it was challenging but rewarding at the same time. But, I wanted to be in fashion and I was working in tech, so after a lot of thinking I decided to make a career change. Honestly, it was hard to make this decision. I was the CMO, and, as a marketing major, this is THE dream. And, I had just graduated from college less than a year prior to getting promoted. Job-wise I had hit a milestone at an early age. But, I felt inspired and moved to follow my dreams, so I quit to start a fashion blog and then started working with a jewelry designer. But, here’s the thing…even though I’m happy I made this decision, I miss the craziness of working at a startup.

After I quit, I took a break before starting on my new venture because I was so exhausted and sleep-deprived. I wanted to start fresh. And, I gotta admit that at that time I felt relieved that I had quit. The startup life can take so much time and energy from you. But, once I got back on my feet, I really missed the high of crazy deadlines, shit ton of meetings, working on multiple projects at the same time and everything that a startup does. I like what I do now, but it will never compare to the high of working at a startup. Here’s why I think you should do it, at least once in your life.

1. You’ll be surrounded by passionate people 

Usually, startups don’t pay much because, as the name suggests, they’re just starting to get users, investors, etc. Many of the people who worked at this startup were underpaid but they stuck around because they were so passionate about what they were building that money came in second or third place for them. So, if you meet someone that works at a startup, you might immediately assume that they are passionate about what they do.

Something that stuck with me about this group of people was that they would come up with the best ideas and if they didn’t know how to make them come alive, they would research and ask because they wanted the best for it. And, they knew that in order to make it the best startup, they had to be the best version of themselves. They made sure they ate healthy food, worked out, meditate or pray, spend time with friends and family and loosen up every now and then. Each person’s passion was admirable and helped others work on theirs, creating this collective passionate group of people that worked hard at their craft.

2. You’ll learn how to properly manage your time

It is commonly known that working at a startup means wearing different hats at the same time. In my experience, before being CMO, I was the digital marketing manager which meant that I created the online growth strategy but also functioned as video producer and editor, translator, photographer, and content creator. It was hectic. But, I learned how to properly divide my time among my many daily tasks as well as prioritizing and delegating. And now that I’m working on different gigs, what I learned during my startup job is still incredibly helpful.

3. You’ll work on your communication skills

The startup I worked at was very welcoming of new ideas, but you had to be good at conveying them to your peers. I remember this one time we were trying to come up with an idea for a video and one of the team members said she had an idea in her head but didn’t know how to express it. We never had a chance to know what it was about so we went with someone else’s idea. You’ll be throwing ideas in the air constantly and you learn the best ways to communicate them. Maybe you’re more verbal or visual, maybe you like to draw or write, whatever it is, you learn which one works for you and this will help you in future endeavors.

Also, you can’t avoid conflict. The startup will be comprised by people from different backgrounds, mindsets, ideas, religion, and education. Startup jobs are highly stressful and people deal with stress differently. These people will clash at some point and it will be important to respectfully communicate your frustrations as well as learning to listen intently without any judgment or interruption.

4. You’ll value your team

Your team is the people you want to celebrate with when something good and exciting happens and they are the ones that will stay when things get rough.

I remember one day I was walking down the stairs at the office and I tripped and sprained my ankle. Everyone was helping me and the CTO got me ice, put it in a towel, and held it on my ankle for like 20 minutes to reduce the inflammation. He totally didn’t have to do it. He had better things to do but chose to aid me when I needed it. This are the kind of people you want to look for. Those that can be good employees and good friends.

You will be seeing and talking to them a lot, so you want to create a positive rapport with all of them. Now, you’re not going to like all of them but learn to be cordial even if all you want is slap them in the face because it is important to have a positive vibe in the office.