by Francesco Agnoletto

Working for startups

Ramblings from personal experience

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The web is full of articles against working for startups. How much less reliable they are and in general worse than a more established company.

The startup experience

Since I started working as a web developer, I always picked jobs at startups. Working for these companies offer many benefits that are often not mentioned.


Many often point out the unreliability of startups. A company that came out a few years ago and often still requires funding can not offer the job safety many wants.
While partially true, many developers I know fall in the same category. As a new developer without experience, you are in the same position as a startup. Why would anyone bet on you if you can’t bet on something that reflects you?
Many “modern” companies started as startups themselves. Facebook was born yesterday, the same as Airbnb. Without developers working there, they would not have turned out as they did.

Remote friendly

Most of the startups I interacted with were very keen on remote work. Being able to expand the pool of possible hires increases their quality.
From personal experience, traditional companies struggle more with remote work.

This is something very important to me as I value being able to choose where to live.

Growth potential

The small number of employees and less rigid organization allow more creative projects.
Some projects that I did in my spare time ended up being used by the startups I was working for. Among others, a price calculator for a startup’s various (confusing) product tiers.
You are also more free to decide on which technologies or features to adopt and experiment with.

This is not a plus for everyone. If you want a more “standard” office job, you might not like the increased responsibility.

Life-work balance

As said above, the increased growth potential can slip into a toxic working mentality. While you might think, the first few times, working weekends and late evenings are ok, it gets ugly pretty fast. No matter if you have or not things to do after your workday is over, you shouldn’t work because you are bored. Find a hobby or something to keep you busy.

I was working 24/7 years ago and it felt good at the moment. I kept doing more until I realized I wasn’t gaining anything. My salary was the same while my responsibilities increased.
You end up hating your job. It’s not a healthy way of living.

I really don’t support the sense of “always available” that can feel like a requirement with startups. It’s not healthy, and distracting/potentially worrying you when you’re out with friends. It is exactly the sort of stuff I would want to avoid on a team I’m involved in.

Aidan, dear friend and colleague

Closing notes

Startups offer a great environment for growth. It is an excellent opportunity for juniors to know different aspects of the industry.
Don’t be afraid to propose and experiment with new ideas, a startup is a perfect place to be creative.
Being overworked is not cool, having a life is way better. It is also a faster way to improve both as a person and a professional.