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What you've always wanted to know about working at a start-up

What you've always wanted to know about working at a start-up

Start-ups seem to be all the rage and working for a big company seems like something old fashioned. Who hasn’t heard about all the start-ups in Silicon Valley. Recently, our friend and old study buddy Jonathyan Maas started working for Powerupcloud.  Prior to that he also had some experience with working for large companies. As I am working for a big company myself, I was curious to know about the differences in work dynamics and office vibes. Off course, you get to be nosy with me as I share my findings!

About work life balance and earning big bucks

How’s the salary with a start-up compared to a big company?

JM: “That is definitely not as bad as most think. In my case I have a better salary compared to my previous job, which happened to be at a pretty large IT consultancy firm. I just spoke to a friend that works at a scale up and a lot of his colleagues live in the centre of Amsterdam, which is not exactly the most affordable place to live. At the same time, he told me that his first salary offer (which is the same he earned at a big multinational) got accepted at the scale up right away. That made him feel like he missed out on an opportunity.”

About the conditions that are not related to your salary

How are the conditions of employment?

JM: “At the core you do want to have a start-up that is as LEAN as possible – especially when you haven’t had any investment rounds yet. At the same time, you want the start-up to be agile, which can only be achieved with optimal conditions. This also applies to company costs and secondary benefits. A lease car and big educational budget aren’t included in the regular package. At the same time, anything is possible, it just depends on the agreements you make during the hiring process. For me, I have a lot of relationship management to maintain, which means the company does compensate for my car.

The way you got to see it is as follows: When no external cash has been invested in the start-up yet, then it won’t be Disneyland on the work floor for a while. Keep in mind that everything done now is done in the name of growth. Basic expenses are covered, but no free dry cleaning for your suit and no slides to the canteen. A compensation is that whenever growth takes place, you are on that rocket ship to Mars to tag along.

About the work activities

To what extent does your job description fit reality?

JM: “This is an easy question to answer. A job description is nothing more than just a description, and you will do whatever is necessary to be done. As far as how much of my work fits the description and what doesn’t? I have no clue. For example, I have designed flyers that we send as one-pagers to clients. I understand I have outstanding design skills (AHEM, or not), but that would not fit the regular job description for Business Development.”

About company culture and decision making

How are the company culture and dynamics and what are the differences with a large company?

JM: “Crazy. The co-founder I work with directly is a true energy ball, which would not be your first impression when talking to him. A hundred-hour work week isn’t uncommon and everybody works hard. In my experience, five o’clock is five o’clock at big companies, six at most. At start-ups, the work just has to get done whenever is required. I do have to say that this is also the case at the larger consultancy firms. It is a big deal everyone works with the same energy and is working to a common goal, instead of just working towards the end of the day.

In addition, it is important to understand the WHY of a company and it is a great motivator to want to be part of that. To us, our WHY is to apply state of the art technology like Cloud and Big Data to make companies faster, robust, smarter and more cost efficient.”

**Note by Liona: At #CAREERLIONS we also try to convey our WHY according to Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle that he elaborates on in his book Start with WHY.

About relationships with co-workers

Do you have a lot of colleagues to collaborate with?

JM: “We started out as a start-up two years ago and in that time, we’ve grown from a team with eight people to ninety employees. We have representation in four countries – of which The Netherlands was recently added. Therefore, I have long distance relationships with my co-workers. In the beginning, it was something to get used to. Instead of face to face meetings, our most important mode of communication is video conferencing. However, it grows on you pretty fast. In the Netherlands, we work with a small team. This enables us to think and act fast, resulting in quick decision making. When working at a large company, I have experienced the contrary for sure.”

So, working for a start-up definitely is an adventure. A huge thanks to @john_mase for scratching this itch for us. Powerupcloud is a technology consultancy with expertise in among others cloud, big data, and artificial intelligence. Feeling curious about Powerupcloud? Let them know on their page! What were your considerations when deciding to work for a big or small company?

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