So you’re thinking about working for a startup?

They are becoming as common as mushrooms after a springtime rain, sprouting up in cities across the country. We’re talking about those wanta-be future Google or Facebook-genre tech companies. And, you may be thinking of joining their ranks as a new employee.

That’s okay. These days, it seems like everyone’s jumping on the startup bandwagon. Somewhere along the way, working a corporate job lost its panache to the startup “badge of honor.” This is understandable, especially if you live in a city with a burgeoning tech scene. But, ask yourself this question- “Is it the right move for me?”Consider these five factors before jumping ship to join a startup:


Before deciding which route is best for you, evaluate where you are in your career. If you are just starting out, you might want to take a job in a more mainline industry to sharpen your basic business skills. You can always take your experience and apply it to future endeavors if it doesn’t work out.

If you’ve already paid your dues in the corporate world, a startup may offer an exciting new challenge. Having experience under your belt will be a highly valuable asset— you’ll bring the discipline and leadership that help startups flourish.


Realize HR departments may be skeletal at-best with some tech startups. So, defined roles, career paths may be ubiquitous and undefined. If you want a more structured direction for your career path, a startup tech environment may not be your cup of tea.

If you work better with direction, you may be frustrated with the A.D.D.-like approach of a younger startup’s environment. If however you go in aware of these growing pains, you’ll embrace the challenge.


Most corporations have articulated training and on-boarding procedures to ease you into their operations. Startups typically offer immediate, hands-on opportunities.

While your individual impact may be visible from the beginning, you must learn and adapt fast otherwise you may sink under the pressure. Of course, you may still be expected to hit-the-ground-running no matter where you end up.


You have to accept that the longevity of the company may be dubious at best.  According to a U.C. Berkeley and Stanford University report, 92% of startups failed because of “premature scaling.” In plain terms, they spent too much money hiring and marketing before first establishing a revenue stream or viable business model.

So, if job security is upmost to you, joining a tech startup may not be in your best interest.  You don’t want to end up hired and fired in a matter of months because some bumbling founder sold you a line and ran out of money.

Pay and Benefits

Ask yourself “how important is pay and benefits”? Startups may not offer the same competitive salaries and benefits that corporate jobs do. Don’t get glazed eyes over promises of equity options on future events, or expectations to work for free.

It’s okay to embrace every opportunity as a learning experience. You never know how or when it will benefit your future career. Just approach each job opportunity with realistic expectations.

-from The Key Corporate Services Blog Team