In China, there’s a concept called the “iron rice bowl.” It refers to an occupation with guaranteed job security, steady income, and benefits. It’s similar to the English concept of “job for life.” There are definitely benefits to working for an established corporation. However, there are things that you can learn from working for a startup that can’t be learned in such a stable environment.
Working for a startup is one of the best ways to learn management skills–fast. If your goal is to learn the art of running a business from the ground up, then a startup is the ideal boot camp.
Here are four reasons why everyone should work for a startup at least once.
1. Startups handle upheaval better
Is working for a new company easy? Not at all. There is a measure of instability, some chaos, many times uncertainty; so much could go wrong at any point. These are all conditions that make startups a great teaching ground. The level of flux leaves no room for complacency. Employees learn how to handle adversity. They learn to think on their feet to keep the company going.
2. It encourages innovation
If you work for a startup, you will become well acquainted with stress. You will have a good working knowledge of pressure. You will learn what it means to try and fail, to take risks, and make decisions on the fly. If done correctly, you will also find yourself becoming self-sufficient, adaptable, and resilient. You will quickly get solid experience of running a business. In short, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of what it means to be an entrepreneur. Should you ever need to become one yourself, the transition will be easier if you have previously cut your teeth by working at a startup.
3. C-Level exposure
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When working with a startup, you’re able to rub shoulders with everyone at the company. This is an opportunity you won’t have as an employee at a large corporation being run by invisible C-suite executives. You’ll have daily contact with your company’s founders. You will be involved, and in a good position to accumulate a wealth of knowledge from them.
4. Recognition for your hard work
Startups are smaller, so you’ll be less likely to get lost in the crowd. Especially if they’re underfunded, startups are notorious for being short-staffed. Team members are called upon to fill different roles. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The training that is up for grabs under conditions like this cannot be understated. Your work will be more meaningful, appreciated, and recognized than it would be at a large organization. Nothing boosts confidence more than knowing your contribution has made a positive difference.
Clearly, the days of the “iron rice bowl” are waning. With the rapid pace of change and upheaval, it’s a good idea to learn to think on your feet and develop the adaptability and resilience that come from being self-sufficient. There’s no better way to learn these qualities than by working for a startup.