You earned your degree, you sent out your job application packets, and now you have a tough decision to make: Do you accept the position with the famous mega-corporation, which offers a high starting salary and amazing benefits, or do you go with the tiny start-up with the heart of gold?
Though your parents might not understand, you should be leaning toward the start-up, despite the low paycheck, because of the invaluable skills you will pick up during the first job of your career. People who work at a start-up rarely regret their decisions, and most are proud of their first jobs for the rest of their lives. Here’s why.
1. They’ve worked every company position
Even if a start-up employee was hired as a marketing assistant, it is more likely than not that he will also work as an accountant, an IT tech, an HR rep, a product tester and so much more.
Start-ups like to keep costs low, which means staff is usually exceedingly tight, and a single employee is likely to do the work of two or three. On the one hand, this means employees have heavy loads; on the other hand, it means employees have first-hand experience with a number of positions, giving them unprecedented insight into the efforts of different departments and allowing them to interface more easily with different teams.
2. They’re all about newer, faster, better
The goal of a start-up is top-end revenue and growth potential, which means a successful new company is fresh, fast, and formidable. A start-up with a hackneyed idea is doomed to fail, and employees soon learn that familiar tried-and-true solutions simply will not do. Innovation and creativity are two qualities most start-up employees have in scores.
3. They’re diverse
Big companies like to stick to the status quo; as a result, staff positions are bloated with the stereotypical American employee: namely, white, middle class, and male. Conversely, start-ups tend to seek talent wherever (and whomever) it is, which means start-up workforces tend to be comprised of a varied mix of races, genders, ages, and experience levels.
Exposure to such diversity weakens toxic biases and encourages unfamiliar viewpoints, which is useful throughout life.
4. They’re smart
Entrepreneurship is a science, and only the brightest minds have the ability to excel in this challenging field. Start-ups tend to produce a multitude of data, and employees must be capable of analyzing that data quickly and correctly.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that start-ups with an Ivy Leaguer on staff tend to perform roughly 220 percent better than other teams. There’s no other way to cut it: start-up workers must be ridiculously smart.
5. They play well with others
Soft skills are those unquantifiable abilities that allow workers to manage their emotions and behave properly in any situation — and start-up employees tend to have them in droves.
Because start-ups rely on communication and cooperation perhaps more than diligence and productivity, emotional intelligence is a skill employees must display before they even get an interview. Honing people skills while working for a start-up can set an employee up for long-term career success.
6. They fight for their lives
Every employee of a start-up knows too well this terrifying statistic: More than 90 percent of start-ups fail. If a start-up fails, its employees are plumb out of work.
Most start-ups are entering into incredibly competitive markets. Thus, every start-up employee is accustomed to paddling hard to keep the ship afloat — or else everyone will get eaten by sharks.
7. They can sell, sell, sell
All businesses sell something — especially start-ups. For start-ups to survive in such a competitive world, they need employees who can sell well.
Start-up workers must be able to master the traditions and trends of marketing early in their employment. Fortunately, most soon learn that being a sales guru is beneficial in more than business; selling is an invaluable skill in nearly every aspect of life.
8. They get tech
An overwhelming majority of today’s start-ups rely entirely on technology — perhaps in development, sales, and more. Thus, to work in a start-up, employees must gain a strong command of modern tech. Being adaptable to new software and hardware is crucial to survival in our digital world; plus, it allows workers to be technologically innovative when faced with any problem.
9. They have a strong community
When an employee can count his coworkers on one hand (and his bosses on one finger) he has little choice but to get friendly with them. It is inevitable that start-up staffs grow close with one another, and usually it grants employees a strong community that extends outside the workplace.
Even when workers move on to a bigger pond, they will likely retain their friendships (and networking contacts) for the rest of their lives.