5 Pros and Cons of Working at a Startup

By Lorena Roberts on March 6, 2018

As a recent college graduate, I understand the struggle of trying to find a job. It’s a tough market out there for some of us. Regardless of your degree, finding a place where you feel that you “fit in” with coworkers, “click” with your boss, and are generally comfortable is a truly tough adventure. As more and more college students begin to stray from accepting their first job offer, which they’re likely overqualified for, they’re instead heading to work for startup companies. What are the benefits of working at a startup, and what’s not so great about it? Well, here are five pros and cons of working at a startup that you should consider before you take the job:

startup business, working for a startup

via Pexels.com


1. Flexibility

Working at a startup usually means you have more freedom than employees of the corporate world. Startups are typically much more willing to work with your schedule — which is especially important if you have a family. If you need to leave early on Wednesdays to take your little girl to dance class, they’re more likely to be understanding of that.

2. Build your resume.

Working at a startup can quickly make your resume shine among other applicants. When you apply for jobs later on, having the experience of working at a startup will greatly improve your chances of getting the job. You’ll stand out from the other options for the job. You’ll have a much wider variety of experiences to discuss in an interview.

3. Move quickly up the ladder

Because startup companies typically start small, you’ll be one of a few employees. If you take advantage of this opportunity and prove yourself, you’ll be able to move quickly up the ladder of management.

4. Larger impact

Startup companies greatly rely on the ideas and work ethic of their employees. More so than corporate employees. So while you will have the opportunity to move up the chain of command, you’ll also have the opportunity to make a greater impact on the community.

5. Learn from the best

Working at a startup means you’ll be around people who are constantly trying to be the best – trying to push harder. You’ll be around creative minds with ideas that are one of a kind. As a startup employee, you’ll be exposed to much more than corporate employees.

via Pexels.com


1. Long hours

Working at a startup requires a ton of work. You might find yourself working more hours than you really bargained for in the beginning, simply because there’s more work to do than anyone expected. This could get worse as you become more and more productive and your team begins assigning you more and more work.

2. Uncertainty

Corporate jobs typically make you feel as though you have some kind of job security. You were hired to take care of a number of things, and as long as you’re accomplishing those tasks, you’re safe to keep your job for the next year. But when you work at a startup, there’s a greater chance you won’t have a job year after year. It all depends on how successful the team is as a whole. That uncertainty can cause great discomfort and would definitely be a downside to working at a startup.

3. Less pay

Because startups are just that: a startup, you’ll likely earn much less than your corporate counterparts. You’ll either have to pick up some contract work on the side or your partner will have to up their work hours as well in order to continue to make ends meet. Taking home less pay is a big downside to working at a startup.

4. Lack of infrastructure

Without having the resources necessary to ensure a strong infrastructure, working at a startup means you might be working in minimal conditions — or even from home. This might be considered a pro for some, but for others, not having a place to work, or not having the resources you need is a pretty large drawback to working at a startup.

5. Youth and immaturity

Oftentimes, startup companies are full of young people, those who have just graduated from college. If you’re also a recent grad, maybe this is great news. But if you aren’t, get ready to work with a lot of people who aren’t prepared to be in the workforce and have never been a part of a professional team, creating ideas.

Many people would find working at a startup a positive possibility, while others might be more skeptical. Regardless of what side of the fence you’re on, analyzing the sides to working for a startup is a good move. You need to know what you’re getting yourself into. Don’t accept a position with a startup unless you’ve considered these five pros and cons.

Lorena graduated from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville last December with a BA in Honors Psychology. She has been accepted to Lehigh University's PhD School Psychology program beginning this August. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her Whippet mix, Gio, at the dog park and binge watching Netflix with endless cups of Hot Cocoa.

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