So what's it like going from corporate life to startup life after 13 years

I’ve been wanting to write something about this for a while but it’s been super busy as startup life can be.  So this is it. 

I left a large media company last November after deciding to test the waters(not because I disliked the company but felt like it was the right time to make a change).  After looking back, it was the best decision I made for my career and my mindset.

Why did I leave?  I think I had grown too comfortable at the last company.  I was still learning new technologies and using them on a daily basis but I felt like I was on auto-pilot(kinda like a robot).  When I left the corporate world and jumped back into startup life it was like someone took the shock paddles to my chest.  I felt a new responsibility to make this work and I couldn’t just do what I had done before to make things work(kinda like trying to appease a newborn during those first 3-4 weeks when you bring them back from the hospital).  I had to adapt and learn quickly.

So is startup life perfect?  No, it’s not.  But if you like coming in every day and having a different fire to put out then you’ll thrive.  There is no way you can auto-pilot at a startup.  These fires can also impact your family life.  Fires don’t care if you are at your son’s football game or not.  You may have to run back to your car and make a quick code change which your spouse or kids may not like.  It doesn’t happen too often but it is a reality when you have 3 back end developers that run the show and “the app” is your responsibility.  If it goes down you may be looking for a new job and you will impact everyone in the company.  No pressure.

That doesn’t sound that great.  Why would you want to do that? Well I love what I do.  I love it when I see people using the parts of the app that I coded and I see every day how it impacts peoples lives.  I can’t say that about any other apps at any other company I’ve worked at.  Oh yeah, I’ve also learned a new skill or two as well.  All joking aside,  I’ve learned more about architecting and scaling out an application in the last 8 months than in the last 20 years of my career.  You just don’t get those skills at most corporations unless you work at Facebook, Google, Twitter, or some other large social media company.

So are there any perks?  Yes.  This startup provides free lunches and unlimited coffee, drinks, and snacks to its employees.  It also provides standing desks and the latest high end apple laptops.  It also provides you with an opportunity to make a huge impact at the company.

So leave your corporate life and make the move to startup life.  The water is warm.