Working at a startup and taking it to the next level can be a rewarding job.
With some luck, you might even be able to build the next Facebook or Google.
But startups are hard--and it could be a brutal experience if you're not prepared for the grind.
We went through some Quora threads to find out all the worst things about working at a startup.
There's so much work but only a few people to do it.
"One thing I learnt very early on is that there's a lot of work to go around and very few people to do it. From something as menial as fixing (lots of) peoples' computers and printers to rushing off to make a corporate presentation (with no background whatsoever) because some sales executive got stuck up somewhere and the entire technical team of the client is waiting. One more thing, no matter how much work you take up, there's always more to follow. At times, it gets really tiring and distracting but then that's what you signed up for. No boundaries, no job descriptions."--Arnab Mitra, Director & Partner at p2power.com
You won't have the time to dive deep into something you're really interested in.
"Startups will have a faster learning pace in terms of setting up stuff and getting things done quick and dirty. But, you will not be able to spend too much time on research or trying to develop your own ideas. There is too much work on the plate, always...Big tech companies, on the other hand, can afford to spare time for research and you will generally be able to find time to experiment with your own ideas."--Anonymous
You're wrong 99% of the time.
"What's it like? Well, 99% of the time you're wrong. Your product is harder to build than you think, fewer people like it - even fewer want to pay for it. That is a big blow to your ego. Most people have an inflated opinion of themselves and their ideas. Reality hurts."--Peter Johnson, runs Develop Oxford, Developer Startups, and DataScience Oxford.
You're probably not going to make a lot of money.
"It's consistent hard work, and it's not really about the money at the end of the day. There may be a thousand other ways to make money, but if you seek a thrill ride with accelerated learning, a startup is what you are looking for."--Jeevan Betigeri, CEO of Fathom Ideaware
"40 hours a week is for sissies. Overtime pay is usually out of the question. Reduced salary due to equity stake (most of the time)."--David Graham, Founder of Coder Camps
Work is very disorganized and the founder can have too much power.
"Processes are next to non-existent - work is very disorganized, sometimes inefficient. Everything relies on the whims of the founder(s) - having launched a successful, well funded start-up boosts self confidence tremendously; no amount of facts and arguments will help you win an argument and you can easily find yourself out the door, or significantly sidelined at least, if you disagree often."--Stefan Kiryazov, founder of lexicum.net
Can you handle the uncertainty?
"The constant uncertainty. You get into work in the morning pumped up about executing a piece of work which you have planned on the commute. But as soon as you get in, the team goes into a huddle and direction is changed. You're given a new task that has to be done yesterday. Not a lot of people can live with this short term uncertainty. I won't even write about the long term uncertainty of survival, and constantly wondering whether you made the right choice by joining a startup."--Mithun Madhusudan, IIT KGP, IIM B, Growth at early stage startup
Can you handle the fear of failing?
"Having too much fun building your dream for tomorrow, you sometimes forget to live today. Trying to convince everyone you are sure about the future, when you silently wonder what the future holds for you."--Tony Kattukaran, CEO of Tagalys
"When the company stops stocking Odwalla in the kitchen, it's a sign of bad times ahead."--Tom Maxwell, software engineer
There's very little guidance and you can easily get lost.
"Having the best ideas in mind but you don't know how to execute them properly."--Christian Teece, aspiring software guru
"Paperwork. Legal and financial paperwork. No one tells you about it when you start on your dream, but that takes up most of your time. And it sucks."--Anonymous
It's a constant roller-coaster ride.
"Startup Life is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs but it's your choice to either scream or enjoy the ride."-- Anıl Üzengi
"If you're somebody who likes structure and specific rules, then startups aren't really the right place to work. Everything is very fluid, including the security of your job."--Norma Mirsky, real-estate broker