Have you ever considered working for a start-up? It’s almost a buzzword nowadays – that’s how much the term “start-up” is tossed around. But what really is a start-up, and why is there so much chatter about working for one? In truth, working for a start-up comes with many exciting opportunities – but like anything else in the working world, it can be a trade-off. As always, the most important thing is discerning if it’s the right fit for you, your career, and where you are in your life.
What is a Start-Up, Anyway?
A start-up is any company that is still getting off the ground – indeed, “starting up”. Around 90% of start-ups are unable to expand past the start-up level, with 10% of these failures occurring within the first year.
Working for a start-up often entails irregular hours, a wide variety of job duties, and a sense of closeness with your team members. You’re expected to show up with a can-do mindset, and to prioritize growing the company above most else. You’re also likely to get interesting development opportunities that may never come your way at a larger company.
Biotech start-ups can be unique in that they allow you to develop a wide range of skills, and build connections to many different pharmaceutical companies. Even if you end up working at a start-up for a shorter stint, you may be able to leverage these skills in an unexpected context later down the line.
Growth Potential When Working for a Start-Up
When you work for a small company, the potential for growth is huge. Should the company succeed, you could profit in a big way. And truthfully, there’s not much that looks better on your resume than having helped catapult a little-known name to success.
But there’s a significant chance your company won’t become the next Facebook – or worse, will have to shut down. So if you do opt to work for a start-up, make sure it’s one that offers great connections, learning opportunities, and chances to prove your skills.
If the business does have to close up shop, you may feel like you’re back at square one. To mitigate this, come up with an action plan for if and when this happens. That way, if it (unfortunately) comes to pass, you won’t feel panicked trying to figure out your next steps.
Joining a start-up may in some ways feel like being vacuum-sucked into the most chaotic, most ambitious group of friends imaginable. Employees tend to be close, and leaders tend to be open to ideas from everyone – as long as it helps the business, it really doesn’t matter what your title is. You may also be asked to do things that don’t fall strictly within your job description – or feel inspired to, because you know exactly what the company needs.
We’re all familiar with the stereotype of the ambitious twenty-something busting their guts in the start-up world. That trope exists for a reason – clearly, said world can be demanding and unpredictable. Of course, you can join a start-up at any age, but if work-life balance is your top priority, the lifestyle may not be the best fit for you.
All that being said, start-up workers often experience higher-than-average job satisfaction. This isn’t surprising – working for a smaller business, you’re far more than just a number. Everyone knows your name and probably at least some of your story. And because the stakes are so high, your contributions are deeply valued.
Is the Start-Up Life for You?
The stress and uncertainty of working for a start-up can be worth it – if you’re willing to shoulder some risk.
Some people feel most comfortable working for a large corporation, where security is high and the path forward is clear. Others may prefer a more unpredictable, chaotic environment with a small but real chance of paying big dividends. Maybe you want something in between – a mid-size company still trying hard to grow, but with an established presence in its field. Different strokes for different folks, as they say!
Yes, you can improve your memory! We’ve all been there. Someone approaches you whose name you don’t remember. You’ve met each other a few times, but your mind goes blank… You manage to get through the interaction with a “hey, you!” and feel too embarrassed to ask for their name again, especially since they know yours. Whether they notice you didn’t remember their name or not, it is difficult to forge a strong relationship with the person if you don’t know their name!
Why does your memory fail you in moments like this? There could be a number of reasons. Research shows that the average American consumes at least 100,000 words and 34 GB of data per day! Given all of the information you consume on a daily basis, your brain cannot possibly store everything in your long term memory. Indeed, common reasons why you can’t remember something could be because it was never encoded into your memory in the first place, or you don’t have any “retrieval cues” to call the memory back into your mind.
Despite these challenges, remembering aspects about a person is essential not just for creating new relationships with people, but also for strengthening existing relationships. Forgetting someone’s name or an important detail can be a sign that you are not interested in the other person, which is the opposite of making a good first impression! Conversely, being able to remember details about your boss’ kids or a client’s favorite hobby goes a long way because it shows you genuinely care about them. What’s more, asking questions about recalling details and asking additional questions about them will cause them to associate positive memories with you, since psychologically, people love to talk about themselves.
Ways to Improve Your Memory
Try these techniques the next time you want to commit important facts to memory:
Repeat it to yourself. According to research, your short term memory only lasts for 20- 30 seconds, unless you try to repeat the information out loud or in your head. You can ask a clarifying question using the person’s name or restate what you just heard to make sure you understood correctly. After the interaction, try to repeat it again mentally to commit it to memory so you can retrieve it later. In fact, experts recommend “overlearning” the things you want to remember through repetition so that your new memory does not interfere with your existing memories.
Write it down. Studies show that your short term memory only holds about seven pieces of information. Since you’re not exactly in control of which seven pieces your brain will remember, a good idea is to write down important details in case you forget later. After a conversation with someone, make a note on your phone, on their business card, or on your laptop’s notepad with their name and any critical data. This is particularly important if you’ve offered to provide them with further information or connect them with someone.
Remove distractions. Don’t multitask when absorbing the new facts. Unless you’re using your phone to take notes about what you want to remember, put it away. If you’re juggling more than one task or multiple inputs, your brain has no choice but to prioritize one thing over the other. Another common distraction occurs when you’re not actively listening to the new information, and you’re thinking about something else or planning your next response. Instead, try to focus your complete attention on listening to the other person, and you’ll be more likely to remember what they say.
Make associations. To help yourself retrieve the memory later, make an association between the person and something easy to remember. This can help trigger the memory of the person and their name or important details. For example, if Sarah mentioned she’s going on a sailing trip, remembering “Sarah sails” will be easier to recall the next time you try to retrieve information about Sarah. Another example is comparing the person to someone famous or someone you’ve met before. If your new acquaintance Matthew has brown hair like your cousin Matthew, making this association may help you recall his name the next time you interact with him.
Remembering details about a person is a meaningful part of establishing a new relationship or strengthening an existing one. By failing to remember someone’s name or a significant aspect of someone’s life, it could be interpreted as you not being interested in them. Solidify important facts in your mind by trying these tips to improve your memory. You will reap the rewards in your relationships!