Why do people not like working at a startup?

Startup jobs tend to be low paying, but with higher responsibility, higher maintenance, and higher risk. Most people have no idea about working at a startup. They don’t teach this at school, but they don’t teach this at jobs either.

  1. Most jobs are designed to be easy. A company does not want to give their workers a hard time. Why would they? The easier the better. Work will get done faster and more accurately, with less drama or stress. This goes against the student mindset, which is that of constantly being challenged. This is what most students have entering the job market.
  2. Most jobs are designed to be bubbles. The larger the company, the more rules and protocols will exist specific to how it makes its money, and the more work also. Most positions therefore become repetitive corporate specific tasks where you’re locked to a desk and locked in a department, where everyone else’s business becomes none of your business. Your cubicle is your bubble, and they don’t want you to leave it.
  3. Most jobs are designed, period. Once a business is well established, the work also becomes well established. Roles then become well defined, and from there, skill sets, market pay, budget, and staffing requirements all begin to take concrete shape. Then it’s someone’s job to hire people and maintain these jobs.

There is someone maintaining your job.
To most, this person is either invisible or ubiquitous. It’s the boss, the manager, or Brian down the hall. And this person may also be responsible for monitoring your performance, keeping your bad habits in check, dangling perks, answering any and all of your questions without being annoyed (why would they, they’re being paid to do it), and making sure that you get paid. It may also be their job to be your friend.
Think about the best managers. They get along with everyone, because that’s part of their job. But can’t they also be good people? Of course, but they also need you to think so, and if they’re good at their job, well.
With that in mind, why do people not like working at startups?

  1. The jobs are far from established. You’re hired to get whatever needs to get done by any means necessary in “that area”. They only have a rough idea what your job will look like, and for how long.
  2. The jobs are not easy. And they’re not challenging just because the teacher made some problems hard. The challenges are real. The consequences are real. The responsibilities are real. And if you fail, you really fail.
  3. The jobs may have little to no supervision or managerial oversight. If you’ve come to depend on these things, this is when you will miss them, and your performance will nosedive. And someone will come knocking on your desk (because no one has their own office yet) and what you say will not determine the help you get, but whether you’ll still have a job in 15 minutes. It becomes your job to maintain your job.

These things are clearly annoying, but it’s also just the nature of a startup job. No one is intentionally making life difficult or the bottom-line brutal. But there is not denying that Startups are brutal.

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