I was on a Facebook thread about a twenty-something engineer who’s seemingly had sour grapes about joining a startup that didn’t immediately make him fabulously wealthy, nor “exec material”. He therefore advises engineers that startups are a waste of talent and energy.
I respectfully disagree.
To me, there is only one reason to join a startup: To do the best work of your career.
A startup is a high potential business where every team member can make a tremendous impact. It’s about having flexibility, initiative, trust, and opportunity—and working with people focused on doing something spectacular together.
Here’s a list of bad reasons to join a startup:
1) Because your peer group/friends/family think it’s cool
Don’t chase what other people want. It’s human nature but it’s also really stupid.
2) Because you hate big companies/bosses/structure/fill_in_the_blank
If you’re running away from something, you lack trajectory. You’re odds of getting what you want in escape–rather than in pursuit–are way lower than they should be.
3) Because you want a financial lottery ticket
All startups fall on hard times. If you’re in it for only the money, you’ll likely give up too soon and lose everything.
Everyone has different priorities, and different reasons for joining whichever company they choose. I propose that if you choose the right reason–to do the best work of your career–doors will open for you in unimaginable ways.