Why Quit Your First Startup Job?
After graduating from StartUp Institute’s bootcamp, I knew I wanted to work at a great startup or if the startup wasn’t great, I was going to get it there. I know how much potential I have, so that wasn’t going to be the problem. The struggle was and is finding the right startup with the right culture. I know two weeks is a short-time to decide whether you should quit or not, but that isn’t any different from dating. Meeting someone for the first time, sitting down for dinner and chatting about life for a few hours, you sure will know a great deal about them. Then, you can decide whether to go on another date or not?
Similarly, with any job, you see what is good and what is bad. I started my first startup job on January 12th, 2015 with the hopes that I would be with them for more than a year, creating and building their marketing team from scratch. This was going to be a huge challenge for me and I was going to kill it, but something went wrong. Something went really wrong and I knew it the first day. Actually, scratch that! I knew it when I interviewed that something was wrong, but I ignored it. I am here to guide you in the right direction and not to make the mistakes I made.
Here are four reasons why you should quit your new job:
1. Trust your GUT. It’s that simple! When I walked into the founder’s office for my interview, he didn’t even introduce himself and started talking about the job. He had heard great things about me from his cousin, who so graciously had put in a good word for me. So, I thought maybe that’s why no introduction necessary or maybe! That’s how founders and entrepreneurs are. Or maybe! He was also on the first interview call with the other lady and had heard everything I had to say.
My advice to you is to really observe your surroundings when interviewing. Ask tough questions and give smart anwers. Don’t leave the interview not asking everything you wanted to ask because at the end you are doing yourself injustice by not clarifying what they have to offer you. Interviewing is not just about the employers learning about you, but also why you think you are great for their company and what they can offer you. Can they give you competitive salary, professional development, free snacks, great working envrionment or a commuter pass? What can they give you towards your professional and personal development?
2. Emotional and Physical Breakdown. I was giving my 150% at my new job. I was expected to do a full marketing departments’ work every day and give updates every few hours or to be completely honest, every single hour! I was getting pulled in all directions from all the disorganized departments. After my first week, I woke up exhausted. I was drained and burned out working late nights doing research for things I didn’t know about and simply couldn’t figure out in the time allotted to me. All project deadlines were unreasonable and my boss’s attitude was horrible. This all resulted in me waking up on a Saturday morning and crying nonstop until I couldn’t anymore. Now, whether it was the pressure + stress + late nights + being scared of my boss + not meeting deadlines + hating traveling for 1.5 hours, it all resulted in my breakdown.
My advice to you is please, please set reasonable expectations for yourself. To clarify how much you can do and are willing to do. Tell them about your other obligations and confirm they are okay with it. Ask them about any confusions or misunderstandings. Speak up! If you are hired to be a product manager, then you shouldn’t be doing a marketing manager’s job. Right? We know startups want you to be able to wear many hats, but jumping from one thing to another isn’t productive and nothing ever gets done correctly.
3. No Structure. Many startups don’t have a structure and they are proud of this. Now I think it is completely unreasonable to not have any sort of structure or organization. In the beginning, it might be quite chaotic to create that organization but it can be done. Things can be tracked and saved in Microsoft office documents or through the famous google drive. Everything can be saved and everything can be tracked if you just give it a few minutes.
My advice to you is create that structure for yourself, little by little. I tried to do it with this particular startup but I knew working with my boss would always be the same. He was not going to change his leadership ways because one person couldn’t adapt to his awful attitude. In your case, you may have a great boss but just doesn’t know what organization means and you can help with that. Create that structure for yourself and your company.
4. Horrible Leadership. If your boss is coming into your office every hour for an update on things you haven’t even started working on, something is definitely wrong with that. He is simply mad and has no idea how to handle stress. If your boss is dragging half of the office employees into his office for a “customer reviews” update when half of the people in the office are not even customer service, that’s a huge red flag. And when that boss prints out all customer service reviews from yelp and makes each and every person in his office read those reviews to make an EMPHASIS on the priority project i.e customer service reviews, you know he is shitting his pants and doesn’t have anything better to do than stress out.
So, my advice to you is know the leadership and hierarchy well. Know exactly who you will be working with and before signing a contract or confirming your hire with them, for God’s sake and for my sake, do a two week trial for yourself. What is better than assuring yourself that you end up in the right place? Sometimes you know just by meeting your interviewers or walking through the office door. Other times you are indifferent, you haven’t yet seen the red flag or the door that says “Get the F out ASAP!”
I urge you all to look for that door, that red door with the “Get the F out of here” sign. And I hope you have the courage to get out as fast as I did. I hope your circumstances are the same or even better than mine. I have a great support system, so I was able to make this happen quickly but if you can’t, at least you know you are in the wrong working environment and need to get out soon. Read more at “The Muse.”