11 signs that you work at a startup

February 22, 2016
3 min read
Man sleeping on the job

So, you’ve joined a startup. You’ve said goodbye to the trusty old multinational and are riding high on the startup wave. Here’s when you know it.

You think corporates are evil

One of the reasons you chose a startup over a well established firm is your discomfort with the corporate culture, the red tape and of course the idea of being a small fish at a big pond. There’s no looking back. You now hate the same corporates with a vengeance and could swear you didn’t know how you ever worked at one.

But at the same time, you envy their fat pay cheques and perks

Even then, once in a while you’re gripped by jealously at your MNC friends’ regular and sizeable salaries despite clearly working harder than them. You wish you had health insurance, free transport and a subsidised office canteen too.

You regularly work from home. Yours or someone else’s

No glass and concrete tech park this. You most likely work out of the founders’ apartment or a shared working space and the family from the house sometimes drops by and mingles effortlessly with the staff. Either ways, you work in a small, closed environment where everyone knows everyone and there are no cubicles and so you literally think out of your box.


Office lunches are usually like family dinners

There’s no office mess or Sodexo coupons. Lunch is brought, and shared by all, possibly around a small dining table. It’s like being back at the school all over again.

Your boss is your idol by day, and your drinking buddy at night

Startups are like a joint family business where your boss and your colleagues are more like your friends, sharing your aspirations and your drive.  They probably know all about your life, your girlfriend, and your pet hamster, and it’s perfectly normal that sometimes your boss communicates with you on Twitter. Birthdays are perfect occasions for an office party.

You can turn up in office wearing just about anything

You’ve been doing everything from drawing up the media strategy to fixing the coffee machine

You often have work that you don’t want or did not do at your last company. There are some things you don’t even know how to do, but most tasks are a learning experience. Don’t know how AdWords works? There’s a how-to video for that!

The cafe is your office

When bored of your humble office, you actively seek out coffee shops with WiFi as potential working spaces.  You could really work from anywhere. Your boss doesn’t have an issue, as long as your get the job done.

You probably got the startup job through its founder

Or an ex-colleague or a friend over a drinks conversation at a pub spinning off from a “I need to do something better with my life” kind of existential question.

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It was the best day ever when your company made its first $1000

It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t quick. The founder/s put their heart and soul into starting something they believed in, and you worked through every step of that. You felt like a common dream come true the day your startup had its first share of success. It was personal.

No matter how small the company is, you always have this sense of pride that you’re onto something big

So you’ve let go of your corporate perks, the money, the comfort and are working harder than you ever have. Because you have this conviction that you have a real chance to make a dent in the universe. One problem solved at a time.


About the Author: Bart Eshwar is a Googler by day, and a journalist under cover by night. When not coding, he's writing Indian startup stories on OfficeChai.com

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