Posted on January 10, 2012 by


This blog post I wanted dedicate to HR strategy in Start Ups. But then I decided on leaving the strategy and rather look at the people and capture a variance of different views. What does working in a start-up mean? What do to I get and what is expected of me to give?

Why work in a Start-up?

Starting off with Grasshoppers opinion on why to work in a start-up:

According to the author it’s about five points:

  1. Casual Work Environment
  2. Potential Pay-out
  3. Dynamic Community
  4. Fluid Responsibilities
  5. Ability to Create Something New

Now, potential payout doesn’t really appeal to me. The rest surely sounds cool, and from working in a start-up I know it is a great deal of experience and learning. But then I am still studying and learning is basically all I am doing. It is awesome to see your company grow and evolve, getting better and bigger almost by the day. If you work for a huge company, can you say that? As an intern especially: where else than in a start-up do you get the feeling of being an important part of a company that frequently?

Then again: I am a student and the only working experience I have is as an intern / working student in two different start-ups.

Work-Life Balance

Amye Scarvada presents another side to this on thekné:

“No one wants to hear that they’re not your first priority, and in startup-land, to make it work, your priorities have to be on your business. To the outside world, this makes you look like a very passionate, fun person to be around who’s completely on fire about a billion projects. Inside, you’re not really in a space to be able to let anyone else into that world. That’s what’s called ‘being unavailable.“

In the blog post by Chrissy Scivicque, she describes how difficult it is in a start-up to balance life and work. For Amye working full time and being perfectly dedicated to your job, PLUS having a balanced social life is impossible. Thus she decided to put her social life on hold. And works.

Is she happy? Doesn’t say in the post. But she did take responsibility and made a decision, which is great.

But is this really necessary?

Business Insider presents some start-up executives who “have it all”

The gist of the article is that it is possible to be a successful start-up manager AND have a happy family. According to Jon Steinberg, President of BuzzFeed, having a family has made him be more focused and productive since for him 1. Making time is essential and 2. Has a great wife who supports him all the way.

Chantel Waterbury, founder of Chloe + Isabel advises to set boundaries to give 150% to what you are doing at the moment – be it spend time with you family or work, but no mixture of both since you cannot be at two things with your whole heart at once.

Jonah Peretti, founder of BuzzFeed, concludes: “Work, family, sleep: pick two!”
Emily Hickey, CMO for Hashable, presents her equation to personal and work success as follows:

Helpful husband + great marriage + great kid + love your job and company + ENERGY + outside support system (nanny)

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, manages her family with her husband, both prioritizing on their career and family. Their secret is that they mutually make decisions and share responsibilities.

To sum this all up, I’d conclude that nobody makes you decide for anything, but you will always have to bear in mind that it’ll be a challenge and cost a hell of a lot of energy either way. You obviously need to be willing to make sacrifices and live with your decisions.