Long Story Short:

  • There is no roadmap for the perfect career path. One person’s dream job may be another’s worst nightmare.
  • People often give advice based on what worked for them, but you don’t have to follow their rules. 
  • Whatever phase of life you’re in, there’s never been a better time to join a startup and give your career the potential for explosive growth. 
  • We’re here to help you understand what the startup life by breaking down what they said vs. what you should know.

What they said: Establish yourself in the corporate world, before joining a startup. 

What you should know: While their heart was in the right place, whoever said this was wrong. Adding the name of a major brand or corporation to your resume sounds cool. But it can take a lifetime to “establish” yourself at one of these companies. There is a reason why people say one year at the startup is like three years at any other company. Working at a startup means wearing many different hats. You’ll be asked to learn and develop a variety of skills on the job, which can expedite your experience level and help build confidence in your abilities and result in explosive career growth. 

What they said: Find a good job and stay there for your entire career.

What you should know: I don’t know who needs to hear this, but finding that mythical job where you make great money and working there until you hit the lottery, retire or die is not realistic. Even if it was possible, why would you want to do that? Changing jobs keeps you on your toes, helps you develop valuable professional skills and relationships and, most importantly, puts you in control of your career. Think of working at a startup as a launchpad for your career. There are always opportunities for individuals with unique perspectives who are able to build bridges, learn, listen and lead.

What they said: Keep working hard and the people at the top will notice you. 

What you should know: This isn’t completely wrong, but it’s also not completely true. If you’re lucky, your hard work is recognized by your supervisor, and if they’re good at their job, they’ll share it with their manager who will tell their boss and so on, but like any game of telephone, the message is eventually lost. Working at an early stage company means you’ll likely sit within earshot of the founder, CEO, COO or other members of the leadership team, and they’ll know your work, and you by name. 

What they said: Are you sure you want to join a startup? It sounds risky.

What you should know: If the Covid-19 pandemic taught us anything, is that life is too short to not take some risk and we’re all one global pandemic away from economic insecurity. Startups fail, and so do established corporations. Startups create tight-knit communities. If you’re known for producing great work, opportunities will follow. 

What they said: You’re not the right age to join a startup. 

What you should know: There is no age limit on talent. In fact, your experience may make you a perfect fit for a startup’s leadership team and help set the stage for your next opportunity. Not to mention the financial incentive of earning shares in an early-stage company with high-growth potential. 

What they said: You have to move to Silicon Valley, New York City or a big city to join a startup.

What you should know: Whoever told you this hasn’t taken a look around Buffalo or Forge’s job board lately. Some of the country’s fastest-growing startup and tech companies like ACV Auctions, Squire, HiOperator and more are building teams in the Queen City, and you don’t need to be an engineer, coder, or into tech to join! Don’t believe us? Check out the latest openings. 

Ready to stop listening to the hype and check out the startup world for yourself? Create your free Forge Buffalo account and upload your resume so the startups on our site can find you. Looking to stay in the know about events where you can connect with startups in the 716? Keep an eye on Forge Buffalo’s community calendar.  Sign up for Forge Buffalo’s email newsletter and follow Forge Buffalo on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn!