An open letter to the worried parent of a startup employee

Imagine this, your child just graduated from college, a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. You’re ecstatic, they’re the first of your family to go to a four-year university, and you can’t wait for them to work for a large corporation and make tons of money.

Two weeks later, you get a call: “Hey Mom, I just accepted this amazing offer–my first job, I am so excited!” You’re over the moon and ask about the amazing opportunity, ready to brag to your friends on Facebook. Then they tell you, “It’s this amazing startup, I am the first sales hire, can you believe it?!”.

You sure can’t. A startup?! The first sales hire?! Your head is spinning, you have no idea what that means and certainly have no idea how to spin it to your friends to make them jealous. A few months go by, and you’ve asked your kid about 1,000,000 times when they are getting a new job.

Fed up, your successfully-employed child finally sends you this email:

Hey Mom,

Listen, I’ve heard your complaints, but, hopefully, this list will get you to stop asking “when are you getting a new job?” (And maybe you can forward this to your snotty friends so you can finally brag . . .)

Why I work for a startup:

My voice matters

When you join an early stage startup, your actions, ideas and opinions will shape how the company grows. As the first sales hire, I am personally building out our sales strategy, playing a large role in hiring sales team members, and constantly communicating with our C-Level executives.

Leadership Skills/Growth

I get to speak at company meetings and share insights into the sales team’s growth, sharing my ideas and working together as a team to market our product with integrity.

Right from the start, I have been developing so many leadership skills that will help me grow in my career. My friends who work for big companies said it’ll take them a minimum of 5 years to get into leadership! By joining an early stage company, I’m able to explore different career paths and take on projects that I never thought would interest me.

Understanding the Entire Business

There is no “stay in your lane” attitude here. Every week, I receive detailed updates from the entire company, so I always have insight into what they’re working on. When I first joined, our founders gave an overview of how to raise capital for a startup and what it takes to be an entrepreneur. I never learned that in undergrad. Who knows, maybe I’ll found my own startup someday. (If only for the bragging rights!) I could go on and on about the different business functions I’ve learned about in just a few short months, but I think you get the picture.

I get your hangups–the risk is not always worth the reward. But when you find the right people with the right ideas, oh boy, is it worth it. Working for a startup is basically like dog years. Working for a startup for one year gives you more experience than working at some companies for seven. Anyways, I’ll see you for dinner on Sunday. I expect to see a Facebook post praising your amazing kid soon.


Your Successful Child

Long story short, working for a startup isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but in my opinion, it’s one of the best early-career choices someone can make. Working for a company that relies on fundraising for the first few years can be scary. There are a lot of unknowns that occur at first, and you have to be ok being uncomfortable (and most definitely be ok wearing lots of hats). But in the end, you will have learned so much about yourself, what you’re capable of, and what a successful business is like from the inside out.

Interested in working for a startup but don’t know where to . . . start? Check out our job listings!