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5 Things to Expect When Working at a Start-up

At first glance, being employed at a start-up sounds like a dream come true for every young, energetic, I’m-ready-to-change-the-world-type individual. From the cutting-edge open concept office, to the video game machines, to the cool, relaxed, seemingly politics-free environment, there’s a sort of Hollywood glamour attached to this brand of tech-savvy, future-forward organisation. Yet in reality, working at a start-up comes with some very real-world expectations. Here are just 5 to get you, well, started up.

Change is the Only Constant

At the core of the start-up is the ability – and agility – to change, and quickly. In any, and every way. Because most start-ups are just finding their way in terms of approach, processes and structure, individuals who are able to adapt to unpredictable circumstances are more likely to thrive. Things can change in an instant, and if you’re game for that, you might just be the person they’re looking for – for now.

All In, All the Time

You don’t join a start-up; you jump in, headfirst. You’re expected to begin contributing right away, with little or no training, guidance or even introduction – and in ways you may not have “signed up for”. Those who like being in the thick of the action and contributing right from the get-go will love this aspect of start-ups; it means you need to be ready, willing and able to make an impact in whatever way is required, at a moment’s notice.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Like everything in a start-up, there’s no guarantee that whatever perks and benefits are available now, will still be there tomorrow. As start-ups grow, they may begin giving up certain luxuries – bye-bye unlimited gourmet coffee, handcrafted pastries, indoor jacuzzi! – so that they can focus on essentials. Which might be a good thing; instead of a quiet room nobody uses, you might just be getting a proper bonus, that is, if you can stick with it.

Learn, Unlearn, Relearn

Start-ups are essentially playgrounds for new ideas and innovations, so you may literally be learning something new every day – or unlearning it, as new perspectives are unearthed. You will be expected to be on top of things and get them done on the fly, even without any prior experience, so be ready for feedback and criticism – lots of it. Observing, absorbing and staying open to new stimuli is all part of the job, and you will be all the better for it.

Join the Cult(ure)

While it may sound counter-intuitive, the ability to fit in is essential to start-ups. Not in terms of conforming to particular rules or norms, but in terms of culture; individuals need to buy into the vision, philosophy and purpose of a start-up to effectively have a place in it. Because most start-up teams are small, the dynamics and relationships are crucial - there’s room for disagreement, but not dissent; and space for challenges, but not conflict.

Not quite sure if you’ll actually fit into a start-up? The best way to find out is to communicate directly with someone in the know – in this case, likely the owner of the start-up itself. KABEL, the new human-centric job-matching app lets you do exactly that, even arming you with Smart Interview Questions to discover if your vision and passion is in tune with that of a potential employer. Try it yourself here and see if you’re down for it.

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