Entrepreneurship is not just a fancy word, it’s a lifestyle, more of a constant fight with oneself. Working and surviving in a startup culture is even harder. I am working in a startup and still alive. I am proud of that.
A year ago, I was completing my engineering and just wanted to do something different than what my batch mates were doing. So I ditched initial campus placement offers in large Indian IT firms, and joined a startup. Why did I do that? Honestly, even I did not know then. But now, after a year of working at two startups, I have started realizing that my decision was not impulsive. Rather, it was a result of my love towards the passion which I always ignored and which was growing in my subconscious mind for a long time.
Life is all about decisions, Right ones probably matter
When I meet my peers, they fill me in with stories of their lavish corporate life and how everything is so awesome. You know how it is, world class infra and fancy offices, cafeterias, gym and all sort of entertainment sources these companies deploy for keeping their employees happy.
On-time salaries (irrespective of profits and losses the company is making), incentives, work culture, BRAND name, my friends do not miss a chance to boast about their respective companies, indirectly hitting on me as if I have committed a crime by not joining their league.
Embarrassment does not stop here; family and relatives just add their own flavour to it. Such a waste of studying engineering, they say, why don’t you join “ xxxxx” like rest of your cousins and friends? We will find you a job if you are not getting one. If your company’s name sounds strange or unheard to them, then my friend you are not in a good job.
These are the times when I seriously ponder on my thoughts, that if I have failed to live up to the expectations of my dear ones. Then I think about myself, how I dreamt of changing the world in college days, how I wanted to create something which has value and my name, and then I say F**k off.
So here is a list based on my personal experience, what’s it like being in a startup:
Employee or Founder, It’s Up To You
Though I am an employee and not a founder, the passion of doing what I love makes me feel if its my own venture. Saying, my employer or boss whatever you call it, has nurtured the company with its blood and sweat will not be a metaphor and all start-up founders out there will agree with me.
Cut It Short BRO, We Avoid Managers.
Unlike a MNC where it takes years before one gets acquainted to the CEO and senior management of the company, in a startup founders and senior level guys are your first point of contact as the team is small and share common values and goals.
You Are Not an Employee
No one is an employee or an employer when it comes to a startup, it’s just a team. A team which no matter what happens stays together, in good and in bad times. The one who leaves amid the downfalls is not confident about the idea, which once appealed to him/her.
Money is For Mortals
There are times when your salary gets delayed, so delayed that it confuses like hell. Am I getting it in 10 days advance for the coming month or for the last month? And then you start living with the assumption that money is for mortals.
No Escape from Work, Big Boss is Watching
In a big corporate where there is a long hierarchical chain of employees, CEO, COO, Senior VP, VP, Senior Manager and bla bla bla…in most cases no one gives a shit on what you are doing until you are meeting your daily and monthly targets. Its different in a startup, the founder keeps a sharp eye on every of his teammates, he not only wants you to complete fixed targets but expects a lot more than that.
He has a great faith in your potential and wants you to feel the same passion and ambition for the company as he/she do. You certainly want to prove that his belief in you is not wrong.
Profiles Don’t Matter
Profiles are for multinationals and corporate firms, in a startup they are just conjunction of words. For instance, a guy in a startup with the profile of “sales head” will be handling marketing, accounts, HR and a lot more.
Holidays, what’s that?
I love holidays, everyone does. Specially days like 15th August, 26th January, Rakhi, Eid, Diwali, Holi and other many regional festivals feels like a delight in the mid of tired, workaholic week. Startups too love holidays, just they use it to make strategies, plans and roadmaps. For them, its just another day which sadly cannot be used to work on daily routine tasks but so what lets use it to work on strengths and weaknesses, maintain the pending accounts, identify the new clients, the list goes on.
Running a startup or working in one is not thing for ordinary people. From my personal experience, I can assure to all those who are playing any role in the startup ecosystem, you guys are blessed, you are different from the league, the league of ordinary people, ordinary people who take birth, pass their time on the planet and die (Ok that’s bit too much, but you get what I am trying to improvise).
So while the country celebrates its 67th Independence, I am sure some of you folks might be working for a product launch tomorrow…Keep it up!