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To join a startup or not? Here are 5 questions you need to answer first

Whether you’re an undergraduate looking for your first job or a seasoned working professional seeking new job prospects, joining the startup community guarantees an exciting opportunity with great reward – albeit not without great risk as well.  For all the exclusive perks and freedom that startups grant their employees, comes a constant fear of a sudden shutdown.

Taking the plunge into the world of startups is a daunting decision to make. It is a world where the conventional rules do not apply, where norms of corporate culture are non-existent. Yet, it is precisely this that makes a venture with a startup so much more exciting.

Want to join a startup but not unsure about how you’ll fit in? Ask yourself these 5 questions first.

  1. What kind of working hours are you comfortable with?

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You must be thinking this is a rather inane question to ask – after all, who wouldn’t love shorter working hours? If you’re gunning for a spot with a startup however, the 8 hour workday is all but a non-existent myth.

Unlike the rigid consistencies and the often taken-for-granted features of conventional office work, life with a startup will demand a lot more time (and possibly a lot more energy) from you. In the startup rat race, maximum productivity is key. For startups to operate just as efficiently as, or even more than an established company, it is only logical that employees will have to work longer hours to meet the same challenges typical firms face. Be prepared to start your work day early and knock off late, or even camp in the office overnight.

If 8 hours of work is already less than tolerable for you, perhaps the startup life isn’t exactly your best option.

2. Are you a team player, or prefer the solitude of the office cubicle?

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What comes across as a polarizing introvert-extrovert question is actually a very pertinent question any potential startup employee needs to consider. Startups are close-knit teams which require constant communication, placing heavy emphasis on teamwork. As reflected by the plentitude of team-building opportunities, startups often do away with office cubicles in favor of more open office spaces.

While a wall-less office space may mean more chances to interact and work more efficiently with your colleagues, this lack of privacy and personal space may be a tad uncomfortable for some. If a private workspace is critical to you, perhaps you should reconsider your startup plunge.

3. What is the idea behind the startup and how long can it last?

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The greatest fear for startup founders and employees alike is the sustainability of the idea that keeps the startup going. Is the business idea truly innovative and able to weather the turbulence of business cycles, or is it merely a passing fad, over-hyped by ambitious minds?

Before joining a startup, be aware of the idea that drives it’s growth and keep abreast of trends in the market it’s in. If what a startup is doing contradicts how the market’s trends and movements, then it is a clear sign of dangerous group think at work. Stay away from these dysfunctional startups.

4. Are you comfortable with constant routine or constant change?

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The adage “the only constant is change” rings especially true for startups. Whether it’s being transferred to another department, or tasked with additional duties outside your stated job scope, or having to move from workspace to workspace, the startup life is one of rapid flux. Conventional routine does not apply; radical change does, and when it comes it’ll come swiftly without warning.

That said, joining a startup requires you to be constantly on your feet and ever eager to embrace the new. The ability to adapt to a new environment quickly is a skill greatly desired. If staying within the safe boundaries of mundane routines is what you seek, the startup life definitely isn’t for you.

5. What do you want to take away from joining a startup?

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Joining, or even intending to be part of, a startup basically runs awry from all logic – why work for a small and unknown company with a high risk of failure for a lower allowance when you could intern with an established corporation or well-known enterprise? You’ve already decided to take the plunge, but do you know what the endgame is?

Regardless of internship, or full-time commitment, you need to be absolutely clear what you want to gain from your stint. Do not hop on the startup bandwagon simply because of the hype – that sort of early enthusiasm quickly fizzles away if you have no idea what your ultimate goal is.

With few office restrictions, cool amenities and the opportunity to be part of a like-minded family, it’s little wonder that startups are so popular nowadays. But behind this facade of happiness lies a world confronted by constant challenges and beset by perpetual turbulence. The startup life will be tough and unforgiving, but with the right mindset and outlook, the promise of great reward – and a home away from home – is sure to be yours.

This article is contributed by online cashback site

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