What comes to mind when you think of working for a startup?
Tech-savvy millennials on a mission to change the world? Ping pong tables and beer kegs in the break room?
Startups have a serious cool factor in our imagination, but startup culture isn’t for everyone. While all startups are different, many share the same pros and cons. Read on to learn about startup culture and whether working for a startup is right for you.
What’s it like to work for startups?
1. You’ll wear a lot of different hats
Because startups tend to be small and scrappy, each employee often wears many hats.
Student Loan Hero editor Rebecca McCracken worked at six startups between 2009 and 2014. At one of those companies, her role required her to work in public relations, marketing, event planning, and content planning. She even set up photo shoots and assisted photographers.
In more established companies these departments tend to be separate, but roles can blend together in a new business. To work in a startup, you have to be willing to step outside of your purview. You may also have to adapt to a lot of change in a short period.
This could be stressful if you prefer consistency in your role, but it can also be an excellent learning experience. By taking on different responsibilities, you’ll develop a variety of marketable skills.
2. You might work long hours
Bloomberg suggests that eight out of 10 new businesses fail within five years. To avoid that statistic, new companies often call for long hours from their employees — but they’re not always upfront about that expectation.
Startups often advertise that they care about the work you produce, not the number of hours you put in. But sometimes this rhetoric is code for an expectation that you’ll put in even more hours than the traditional nine to five.
Startup culture also commonly blurs the line between life and work. With ping pong tables, hammocks, and beer kegs in the office, why would you ever need to go home?
“I had a boss who would call, text, and email me at 2 AM about a work crisis,” McCracken recalls. If work-life balance is important to you, ask about it before you work for startups.
3. Your coworkers may all be recent college grads
Startups — especially those in the tech industry — often hire young employees. Data scientists at Namely found that more than half of employees at startups are in their 20s.
While you might enjoy this young atmosphere, you may also miss the chance for mentorship. Says McCracken, “There’s a lot of learning on the job, but you don’t learn from older people. You don’t necessarily get opportunities to work with seasoned professionals who know what they’re doing.”
4. You might get great perks, but terrible benefits
Some startups offer sweet perks such as game rooms and catered lunches every day. But sometimes these offerings replace more traditional benefits such as health insurance and 401(k)s.
This fact may go hand in hand with the age of employees. When you’re just out of college, you’re more willing to work hard without benefits. This reality, though, can become burdensome as you get older and have more responsibilities.
If the pay is low, you’ll have trouble saving money or paying off student loans without another source of income or support. McCracken says there were times she would have struggled to support herself without outside help. Now that she has a child, she wouldn’t work for startups that didn’t offer benefits.
Some new companies promise to introduce benefits in the future as the company grows. You may have to decide how long you’re willing to wait until that day comes.
5. You might not have a human resources department
Many startups lack the organizational resources of a more established company. Because they’re new and small, they often don’t have established HR departments. You might report directly to the company founder or CEO with any issues or concerns.
According to McCracken, some of the startups she worked in were “the Wild West as far as rules go.” She had to be her own advocate, but she wasn’t always met with understanding from superiors.
If a serious issue comes up, you may find yourself without recourse to solve it if you’re not comfortable bringing it up with your boss. If you experience discrimination, sexual harassment, or a violation of labor laws, you may not get the help you’re entitled to.
6. You could end up rich (or out of a job)
Being part of a new venture is exciting. The company could experience tremendous growth in a short amount of time. If you have stock options, you could strike it rich when the company goes public or gets sold.
On the flip side, the company could fail. After all your hard work, you’d be back on the job hunt. Of the six startups McCracken worked at, two lost funding, one was sold, and one ran into legal issues.
When she went back on the job hunt, she was worried that interviewers would be concerned about her job hopping. She had to explain that she left because the companies closed.
At the same time, she became more comfortable with change. Even though she was out of work, McCracken says, she felt confident she could easily get another job at a startup. If you’re interested in working in startups, you must accept a certain amount of risk.
Is working for a startup right for you?
As with any company, there are advantages and drawbacks to joining a startup. You could get huge rewards or find yourself out of a job. But if you believe in the work, the risk could be well worth it.
Before taking on a job in a startup, learn more about the culture and expectations. Ultimately, whether or not you work for startups all depends on your unique goals and needs.
Are you a new college grad on the job hunt? Learn how to market your skills to new employers.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.30% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 6.30%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.51% – 8.09%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.02% – 6.44%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.21%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|