Are you a fresh graduate looking to start your career in a startup? Or are you an experienced professional considering a stint in the startup space? At the least you might be a college student interested in working for one at some point.
You must be very excited about your future with these super cool places “where magic happens”. After all, few things are as hot these days as startups. Removed from the monotony of traditional businesses the new startups are places to learn, grow and constantly innovate.
Or are they?
Many startup employees say otherwise. Some go to the extent of regretting their decision to join a startup in the first place. These are the people who have been there, done that. But their perspective seems quite contrary to the popular belief about startups being the perfect places to work.
Why are these employees distraught?
Well, startups are great in the beginning and they do help you learn a lot. But the problem starts in the later stages when the funding starts drying up. The truth about VC money is that it’s great until it isn’t. When funding dwindles, cost cutting measures are taken. The result? Layoffs, delayed payment of employee wages, reduced salaries and longer working hours.
This has been the case with many of the desi startups including ola, snapdeal, flipkart and zomato. Their valuations have fallen calling for several restructuring measures that have hurt employees.
Unrealistic expectations are another problem, with employees often required to work on Sundays! Such work schedules leave little room for work-life balance, a reason why startups aren’t great for married people.
The lack of certainty about VC funding means you never know how long your job will last. For many, it’s like working with an axe held to their neck.
All this results in a lot of stress and employees are slowly making their exit from startups to return to traditional ventures. So, startup enthusiasts, you need a reality check! Startups maybe golden for founders. But clearly they are less so for employees.
Startup founders, on the other hand, have a tough task at hand. They must try to make the work environment more amicable to retain their best and brightest. If the company has to succeed it needs its workforce.
Startups are clearly starting to lose their allure. The fall in valuations and employee migrations say so. The bubble has been inflating for a few years now. Are we witnessing the beginning of an imminent bust?
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.