I left my job in Jan 2021 to join a startup, I got this common question from friends and colleagues that Why I left an established company to join a startup. This article is an attempt to answer those questions.
I am a 2019 pass out, B.Tech from a well-reputed college of India (not the best :p). Placed in one of the reputed org with a role of choice, professional life started on a happy note for me.
As a fresher, I expected a lot of challenges to come my way and was geared up to make my way through them. In fact, this was one of the things I was looking forward to, and to be honest I was not disappointed. I was the first member of a new team. We were expected to work on a tech stack that was unfamiliar to me. The domain the team was expected to work in was alien too.
Being the first member of the team, I used to have a lot of conversations with my managers and other people with experience (experienced in other teams, set to become a part of this fresh team). These discussions were taught me a lot of new terms, and then google gave me the definition of these terms and hence educated me. There were a lot of challenges and I was loving it.
A year and a half passed away, the team settled and challenges started dwindling. A system was now in place, there were norms, there were less experimentation and more execution. The work was however good, with new projects coming with challenges of their own. But I always craved for something more. I always wanted more insight into the project and more ownership of what I was doing. To be honest, the organization, tried giving a lot of insights and business motivation behind the projects, but it is the numbers game that became the hindrance. In an organization so large, there always will be a bit of abstraction. There always will be a pipeline that you have to follow without knowing when, how, and why was it created.
It was about this time in Nov 2020, that I came to know about a startup that was looking forward to making its first hire. I inquired about it and was able to get on a call with the founders of that startup. The call happened, and boy, I could feel the energy the founders had. I liked the idea, resonated with their frequencies, and was ready to fill the shoes they wanted to offer. There were some assignments, some technical discussions, and I was offered to be the first employee of that startup.
This is where a dilemma started, questions started lingering back of my mind, Does it make sense to leave a perfect job, an awesome team, and a supportive manager to join a startup? Does it make sense to take this risk in the middle of the pandemic?
I tried talking to a lot of colleagues and seniors about this and with each call the dilemma intensified. Amidst all this confusion, there were two terms that gained significance RISK and GAIN. It all boiled down to how much gain I can get out of this startup and how much risk I need to endure. It was then simple reasoning, if the gains outweigh the risks, it is a deal to crack.
- What if the work is not as good as I am thinking?
- Will the startup be able to pay me in time?
- Can the startup sustain?
- Will there be anyone I can learn from?
- Work at odd hours.
Being a bachelor, just 16-17 months into the industry, and backed up by a decent college helped me normalize the risks. I was able to tell myself, Life won’t end if any of these risks turn out to be true. There will be other companies, there will be other opportunities.
- A very steep learning curve.
- Independence to try new things.
- Insight into business requirements.
- A lot of exposure.
Each of these gains excited me. These were the things I always wanted to be a part of, and at the stage, this startup was in Nov 2020, it offered me all these things in abundance. One more point that motivated me to join this startup was a simple question, If not now then when?
From this point, responsibilities are only going to increase, energy is only going to decrease. This appeared to me as once in a lifetime opportunity and I took a leap of faith and grabbed it.
Fast Forward to April 2021
It now has been four months since I am working for this startup. Life has been nothing short of crazy. I am planning things, translating them to technical specifications, coding them, deploying them, testing them. And all this is happening at a very fast pace. We are 5 people on the team now, and when we sit together, there is some energy. You can feel the buzz, the motivation. There are no rules, no regulations just a set of requirements, and a plethora of code and this adrenaline rush is why I left an established company to join a startup