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If I was Twenty-Two, I’d Join a Startup

Source | LinkedIn : By Fadi Ghandour

Twenty-two is something of a crossroads. For fresh graduates, it’s the typical age at which you find yourself required to pick out your career path (if you haven’t done so already), and not everyone has a definite career path mapped out by twenty-two. But it’s not a disaster if you find yourself with a degree in hand and no clear idea of what you want to tackle next. This is actually the perfect time to explore the wealth of choices and directions that are available to you. Some might prefer to work for a well-established corporation, one that offers job security, good pay and stable working conditions. Others, like myself, might be looking for something a little more off the beaten path; something a little more creative, more innovative, and more challenging.

When I was twenty-two I took a leap of faith and established my own start-up. My experiences since then, my failures and my successes, have given me some valuable insights, that I would like to share with you. I want to tell you why it’s a good idea for you to consider joining a small start-up, or starting your own.

Part of the attraction of joining a start-up is size. While size matters, bigger is not always better. Small is beautiful, because it gives you the kind of experiences you will never get in a big corporation. Small gives you big chances to learn more, contribute more, and grow in a way that will exceed your expectations. Small companies not only celebrate individual contributions; they are driven by them. When you are a vital part of a smaller team, it enhances your individual impact, increases your responsibility, and allows you to continually add and create value through what you do. When you and your teammates are committed to the same dream, you develop a unique kind of fellowship and camaraderie. You get to work with actual entrepreneurs, real innovators and social rebels who are leveraging technology to make people’s lives easier and more convenient. Instead of sitting at a desk all day, you get to interact with clients, investors, mentors and other entrepreneurs, enriching your knowledge and experience.

All jobs provide the opportunity to learn. What is beautiful about working for a small start-up, however, is the greater freedom you have: the removal of limitations and the embracing of challenges. You learn by doing; you learn through trial and error; and you experiment, innovate and create. Every step forward, every success, makes you hungrier, and drives you further. You have the freedom to seek more knowledge, to take risks, seize opportunities, thrive, and grow. It’s not about thinking outside the box -as more and more innovators believe – it’s recognizing that there is no box.

Corporate jobs not only provide security; they also provide predictable routine. Start-ups, on the other hand, are all about dealing with daily surprises: stressing adaptability, flexibility and resilience. Start-ups move at a very fast pace, with goals achieved on a daily basis; offering the potential for thrilling spikes in growth and impact.

In case it all sounds too good to be true, I have to pause here and caution that there will be times when you will face enormous and difficult challenges. The potential for great success is often accompanied with the potential for great failure. But strangely enough, it is the failures that will teach you the most. To succeed, you will have to embrace failure when it happens, and learn to bounce back stronger than before.

Some will argue that working with a startup means working hard, long hours, for lower pay. I agree, but this is an investment you make in yourself. The range of skills and knowledge you will gain are invaluable. Because of the fluid nature of the challenges startups face, your job will also be fluid, changing and evolving according to the circumstances; giving you the opportunity to expand your skillset and experience by taking on different roles and tasks. As for the low pay, consider stock options, which might be of huge benefit if the startup does well.

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