Think you’re ready to take the big leap to transition to a startup job? Find out the best way to make that not-so-lateral move from your cubicle to a non-traditional work environment. From landing a job to enjoying its perks, we’ve got you covered.

How to Transition to a Startup: Landing the Job

If you’re still trying to make the actual transition from a corporate job to a startup (i.e., you’re still plugging away at your 9-to-5), you’ll want to prove that you’re ready to make the transition.

Many startups can be leery of employees that want to make the leap. This is because employees who have worked in large, corporate environments are often used to being immersed in corporate culture.

Just some of the ways the jobs at a large corporation may differ from those at a startup include:

  • Your job may be extremely compartmentalized (you only work in one specialized area)
  • You have a strict set of rules you follow on a day-to-day basis and are used to following rules because ‘they are procedure’
  • You may not be encouraged to think outside of the box at your 9-to-5 job or offer creative solutions

If you think the change in office culture is the right step for you, you’ll need to convince the hiring manager at a startup that you’re a good fit for a new environment. 

You’ll also want to use your corporate skills to your advantage. Showing how your corporate skills translate into startup strengths is one way to do this. 

Startup Job Culture

The culture at most startups is very different from that of a corporate work environment. Most startups offer a generous amount of flexibility and perks. The tradeoff is that most startups often ask their employees to take on more responsibility.

Perk #1: Abnormal Hours

You’ll notice that employees at startups don’t work the traditional 40-hour workweeks. Chances are, you’ll get to make your own schedule and work when you want to. The downside? You might end up working more hours than you would at a corporation. Yet at a startup, when the work is finished for the day, so are you.

Perk #2: Laidback Culture

You probably won’t need to worry about wearing a suit at a startup. The dress code is more casual and the office is generally more relaxed too. Many startups don’t erect cubicles and instead offer comfy couches and chairs. 

Perk #3: Flexible Work Environment

Many startups also don’t require you to head to an office at all. In fact, many startups don’t even have an office. Work from home, a coffee shop or a coworking space — the choice is yours.

Making the Most of Startup Job Perks

The benefits of working for a startup are immeasurable. Yet, many corporate employees find it difficult to take advantage of these benefits at first. It might feel a little awkward rolling into the office at 10 a.m. or getting a massage on your lunch break. Yet, you’ll want to drop the shy attitude and take advantage of everything your startup has to offer!

That means dressing down (try to match the dress code of other employees. If you’re too dressy, it looks bad; if you’re too casual, it looks bad). 

Take advantage of the onsite amenities, including free food, services, flexible schedules and environments and yes, even the margarita machine.

Employee Turnover at Startups

One of the possible upsides (and downsides) of working for a startup is that employee turnover is quite common. Bouncing around from startup to startup isn’t considered a negative mark on your record anymore.

Don’t love your job? You can easily start applying for a new one without waiting until the one-or-two-year mark.

The downside is that most startups won’t try to woo you to stay. Since turnover is so common, they won’t wait until they have a paper trail to let you go — and they might not try to increase your pay or benefits to convince you not to quit either.