by Krista Kuhlman, Experiential Marketing Manager at Giveback Sports, LLC.
So, you finally decided to leave your corporate job to enter the startup world where possibilities are endless, but you find yourself questioning your decision. All of the things that once bothered you in your corporate gig – the rules, the structure, the mundane day-to-day tasks – now seem safe and stable. Alexandra Levit, workplace and expert author on the subject, describes this feeling best when she states “When you come from a relatively predictable environment, it’s daunting to not know what’s going to happen from one day to the next. Your direction can change so radically and without warning. You feel like you have to step up your game or perish.” How many of us startup dreamers have felt these emotions?
First and foremost, you need to know you are not alone. The first step in your transition from corporate to startup is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You are entering a completely new environment that may be ever-evolving as growth and success occur. But reminding yourself this leap of faith was inspired by your desire to embrace change and make a higher impact is crucial in times of discomfort.
Next, be flexible and resourceful. Corporate positions come with lots of perks and probably ones you realized you completely took for granted, like an IT department when your computer freezes or the office coffee machine that was always filled. One of the best advantages at a startup is the numerous different hats you get to wear. You will be somewhat forced into learning how to do things on your own and finding new solutions to problems. But when you stop learning, you stop growing. Remaining adaptable to all challenges thrown your way makes it even more rewarding to see your work and efforts make an impact.
Are you able to repeat the mission statement and values of your corporate job? Most people cannot. However, the mission and vision of a startup is seen and felt every day. You are constantly reminded of the purpose of your new organization that generates a passion for success in all employees. Understanding the company’s foundation, fundamental objective, and how your business can make a difference will be your driving force.
Another strategy to help in your transition is to find a mentor of someone who has made a similar transition and can be an ally with comparable experiences. Having a support system that can teach you the startup language and potential obstacles, be there to celebrate your big wins, and pick you up in times of need will make all the difference. Mentors are able to see faults that have been overlooked and widen perspectives when you find yourself missing the forest for the trees.
Lastly, embrace the startup culture! It’s no secret that one of the major perks at a startup is the culture – the relaxed environment, after-work happy hours, flexible work schedules, and other activities that encourage interaction among team members while maintaining the coveted work-life balance. Being surrounded by driven, eager, and spirited employees makes coming to work each day no longer feel like a chore.
There is no argument that the move from a stable corporation to a risky startup is scary. And as cliché as it may be, if you’re not taking risks, there are fewer chances for reward. Do not be afraid to follow your passion and take a chance outside of your comfort zone. It might just be the best decision you ever made.