Five common myths about working at a start-up in 2018

1 – The pay is low

One of the biggest misconceptions of life working at a startup is that you’ll have to accept lower pay. Especially related to Fintech’s, banks have promoted an image of lower pay and a lower quality of life if you were to leave their giant corporation. The truth is quite the contrary.

In general, smaller companies are not subject to the difficulties imposed by company politics which the banking titans are notorious for. As a result, there is no need to create roles for “box-ticking”. If you work in a large organization, you’ll know for sure what we’re talking about here. Teams, even whole departments, are created in banks to satisfy the agenda of executives who are completely out of touch with how the business works on the ground level.

This doesn’t happen in (most) start-ups and scale-ups, simply because there’s no room for people who are not directly making a measurable impact on the growth of the company. A significant benefit of this means there is more capital available to pay their employees extremely well.

Startup - the pay is low

2 – Your job isn’t secure

We can bet there’s plenty of objections you’ve heard about job security before deciding to join a startup. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones.

“The company has only been active for a few years, it could go bankrupt at any time, and you could lose your job”.

A fair point and something you should think about before making the jump. Although, it’s important to remember that because a company has been active for less than five years, it does not automatically make your job less secure than if you were elsewhere.

A few things to consider to help you validate the longevity of the company. Take a look at their annual financial statements, are they making a profit? If not, can you see they are working towards it, and their financial positioning is improving year-on-year? This is a good sign that should give you confidence in the long-term future of your potential employer.

“You don’t have the protection of national union agencies, in case you are fired.”

Maybe not. But if your main concern (even before you start) is being fired – you should reflect on why you believe this may be a scenario you’re likely to face. In a corporate Goliath, you are just a number. Nothing more. If there is a need for cost cutting in the business and your department is in the crosshairs – no matter how prolific your union agency is, there is nothing they can do to stop it.

In general, if you’re hard-working, passionate, skilled and take ownership, you will succeed in employment. What’s more, your commitment and hard work are considerably more likely to be noticed and valued in a smaller organization.

“If you stay in your job for another few years, you’ll probably get a promotion.”

The corporate ladder is an exceptionally long climb. And while it’s true that you may move up one rank in a few years’ time, are you striving for that because you want that job or because you want to move up the imaginary success ladder?

It’s easy to forget to place value on you and your career before anything else. What if the start-up you’re working for changes from a €10M valuation to a €1B valuation in the next five years? It happens, and you can have an instrumental impact on making that a reality because you’ll work in a smaller team.

Startup - job security

3 – Everyone is under 25

With all the stories of teenage entrepreneurs founding global companies, there is a common misconception that all the staff are babies. This also raises the question of how qualified they can be if they have a lack of experience.

Age is never a determining factor on the skills of a person — what trumps all is their attitude, ability to learn, experience and natural talents. At Bondora, our team ranges from mid-20’s to 50’s.

startup - everyone is under 25

4 – No personal development programs

Probably not, in the traditional sense. Banks are well-known for having long and mundane development programs which provide no tangible impact on the practical skills needed for present or future career progress. They can often be outdated, theoretical and repetitive.

Instead, you have the opportunity to be thrown in at the deep end with a start-up. Since most offices are open plan, you’ll sit near departments completely unrelated to your field of expertise and as a result, have the option to collaborate with them on projects. In an environment where you’re constantly learning, you can apply these practical skills to your role and perhaps move into a different position that suits your strengths.

startup - work long hours

5 – You work long hours

Work-life balance is a buzzword thrown around effortlessly in the corporate world. “Make sure you come in no earlier than 9 am and leave no later than 5 pm”, “Take your vacation periodically to make sure you don’t burn out”, “Don’t do any work at home”. What if you could make your own decisions about how you manage your time?

Most start-ups wouldn’t blink an eye if you said you were working from home for a week. Once employees are given the freedom to manage their own time, including their working hours, job satisfaction goes through the roof. As long as you can take responsibility for your duties and tasks at hand, you’ll have no problems with this. Of course, this relies on hiring the right people in the first place. Otherwise, no one would do any work.

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