10 Signs You're Not Cut Out To Work At A Startup - InformationWeek

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2/2/2016
07:06 AM
Dawn Kawamoto
Dawn Kawamoto
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10 Signs You're Not Cut Out To Work At A Startup

Working at a startup can sound alluring -- building a business from scratch, sharing a passion with a tight team to create the next big thing, and potentially reaping millions of dollars with a successful IPO. But not everyone is cut out for startup culture -- are you?
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(Image: Geber86/iStockphoto)

(Image: Geber86/iStockphoto)

Venture capitalists spent $58.8 billion on US startups last year, making it the second highest amount in the last 20 years, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers and National Venture Capital Association report. With that much money being kicked around, it's not surprising that the allure of working at a startup is even stronger for software engineers, developers, and other professionals in technology.

"We're located in the (San Francisco) Bay Area and primarily work with startups. I would say that 90% of the engineers we talk to are interested in working at startups," said Cody Voellinger, founder of tech recruiting firm RockIT Recruiting. "Even people who have cushy jobs and stock options want to talk with us because they want to have a pulse on things. They know where they are now is not where they want to be for the long-term."

[See Top 10 Tech IPOs of 2015.]

But will they be a good fit for startups? Wanting to work at a startup is one thing, but having the right attitude, culture fit, and personality is another.

"Engineers like to solve challenges and that is the environment they will constantly face. But startups have limited time and resources, so it makes it a challenge to do more with less, Voellinger observed.

All in all, he estimates that for every 100 people he interviews for a startup position, 75% have the right attitude to work at a startup. "Occasionally, people don't understand what it means and see stars in their eyes from all the success stories," noted Voellinger.

Do you think you have the right mix of personality, attitude, and perspective to work at a startup? Here are 10 warning signs to assess if you would be a good fit.

Do you have what it takes to survive and thrive at a startup? Did we leave any warnings signs out? Let us know in the comments.

Does your company offer the most rewarding place to work in IT? Do you know of an organization that stands out from the pack when it comes to how IT workers are treated? Make your voice heard. Submit your entry now for InformationWeek's People's Choice Award. Full details and a submission form can be found here.

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

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jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
2/9/2016 | 1:57:09 PM
Re: Shoot first, ask questions later
That has a lot to do with the culture of your organization. Unfortunately, perception is reality. If something thinks you're not working on that walk, then that can become the general opinion.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
2/9/2016 | 1:50:01 PM
Re: Shoot first, ask questions later
@jagibbons - "Walls and a door only hamper collaboration if you choose to let them."  Couldn't have said it better myself.

People need to reframe what it means to "work" and what that looks like.  Where I "work," I am in a very traditional, conservative field, and people think working means you are at your desk.  And if you aren't at your desk or in your office, you're not "working."  What if I'm "thinking" - which is, after all, what all information workers do these days.  Do I have to be at my desk to work?  Can't I go take a walk and think through a problem?  Most people don't think so...as a matter of fact, some of my best ideas/solutions come to me in the shower!
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
2/8/2016 | 12:44:35 PM
Re: Shoot first, ask questions later
Right there with on the open format of so many offices. I like some separation. Walls and a door only hamper collaboration if you choose to let them. On a side note, I'very often wondered how much of that style came from startups with no money for fixtures.
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
2/4/2016 | 6:17:00 PM
Really?
Who does not need a regular paycheck? Maybe those who run half a dozen side businesses or happen to strike it lucky and got rich, but most of us do not fall into that category.

Speed instead of perfection is becoming painfully obvious. The state of software quality was never so bad as it is right now and it will get much worse.

Neither issues are great, but maybe the young uns do not care because there ought to be always another free app to download.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
2/4/2016 | 4:31:22 AM
working with StartUp companies
""We're located in the (San Francisco) Bay Area and primarily work with startups. I would say that 90% of the engineers we talk to are interested in working at startups," said Cody Voellinger, founder of tech recruiting firmRockIT Recruiting. "Even people who have cushy jobs and stock options want to talk with us because they want to have a pulse on things. They know where they are now is not where they want to be for the long-term.""

Dawn, working with a start up is good and at the same time involves lots of challenges too. This is mainly because of the uncertainty about sustainability & challenges from market segment. Now a day's majority of startup companies are backed up with VC & Aingel finding; so they don't have to worry much about working capital for initial stages.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
2/2/2016 | 2:12:20 PM
Shoot first, ask questions later
I've always been a bit of a maverek in my professional life - questioning why things are being done a certain way and bucking the status quo - which is funny because I've always ended up working for really traditional and conservative companies...that's just how it worked out.  But I flourished under a boss who had a "ask for forgiveness instead of permission" attitude so I've thought of jumping on a startup bandwagon a few times before.  We have several who are currently expanding space in the same building as my current firm.  What kills it for me every time:  "the open office layout."   I like walls.  And doors.  And dislike constant chatter and interruptions.  I think there's a time and place for it, but I don't think it's all day long...dealbreaker for me.
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