Beyond the Fun: Great Opportunities to Grow Your Career at a Startup

By January 15, 2015Career Advice, Culture

Working at a startup isn’t just about the perks (we already know those are awesome!). It’s also about growing your career and really mastering your craft which can definitely be a difficult feat! There are many benefits to working at a startup that some people don’t even realize until you get your foot in the door. So, what is it really like?

We believe in many different things in the Viking world, but one aspect remains very true; the days may be difficult at times, but the perks make it worth the hard work. We’re not necessarily speaking about the catered lunches, the staff outings, or feasts (that was a humble brag for those who didn’t notice) – I’m speaking directly to the reward of your career and the people you are surrounded with. It may not be true of every startup, but when you’re hired as a Viking there are many benefits involved such as; the opportunity for (fast) career advancement, working in a ‘flat’ organization, and the added benefit of having work/life balance. Aside from having fun at work, those three things mentioned are some of the great perks that working in the Viking world offers.

Career Advancement

You have two options when you walk through the doors every single morning, you can either sink or swim and that is entirely up to you. The benefit of a startup is that there is very little, if any, micro-management. This can be terrifying for some people, especially those coming directly out of school or those who previously worked for big organizations, because often in those situations you are constantly told what to do and how to do it. Startups operate differently. Speaking from experience, I am often given a task (or many) and it is up to me to get it done. My boss will not constantly hound me for updates, but it is definitely expected that when we sit down for a meeting that I will have progress to show. Can that be hard at times? Definitely! But it allows you to see where your strengths lie and whether or not you can handle the pressure of a startup.

The benefit here is that if you do ‘swim’, it will be noticed and rewarded. Career advancement can happen very quickly in the Viking world, but you just have to make sure that you are ready for all the hard work in between!

Flat Organization

Working in a flat organization means that title really doesn’t matter, and basically everyone has direct contact with upper management or the co-founders. It isn’t often that people are able to have constant communication and feedback from their CEO, or sometimes even their managers, but at Big Viking Games things work differently. This connects directly to the idea mentioned in career advancement, but the big distinction of working in a flat organization compared to something else is the increase of communication between yourself and your manager/CEO, and the ability to make a huge impact no matter what your title says.

At a startup you have the ability to make mistakes, ask questions, and then attempt a new way to solve the problem at hand. There’s often more leeway and flexibility and a faster response time – in other words, you tend to be more adaptable to the constant changes that often happen at smaller organizations, and trust me when I say that things do move quickly.

Work/Life Optimization

Most of the time when you enter a new job, people overlook the perceived ‘tiny’ detail of having work/life optimization. You’re often told it exists, but then you start your new job and you’re left working 15 hour days with no breaks, wondering what the hell happened when you get home and your cat hasn’t been fed for three days (okay, maybe a bit dramatic, but you get the point). At Big Viking Games, a lot is expected of you, but that hard work comes with many benefits and you might not notice it right away, but work/life optimization makes you a happier employee, and happy employees are often the most productive. We don’t believe in running people down to the point of exhaustion, because at the end of the day it is no benefit to you, or the organization.

That being said, we pride ourselves in work/life optimization. We understand the need to be away and the need to have time to yourself to think about something other than work. We are not saying that you won’t have long days, but what we are saying is that things will balance out, whether that be in time off, or later start times. Anything that works specifically for you.

Closing Thoughts

Now we understand that startups sometimes have the perception of not being the most secure places to work, but at a mid-stage startup like ours things work differently. Big Viking Games has been in the business very successfully for three years now and we continue to grow year after year. In fact, this year we’re looking to add over 30 new Vikings! We’re also in a very unique place given the fact that we’ve never taken on any investors, and so are self funded. This means we don’t have to answer to investors and can take the time needed to do things right. In short, things are very secure here!

There is no right/wrong way to approach your career – some people love the 9-5 of going to work, punching out, and calling it a day, while others enjoy the adventure of a startup where new challenges are thrown at you everyday and you’re given the opportunity to grow in whichever way you see fit. It all comes down to your preference, but it’s always great to know what is out there and what options you have when it comes to what you spend 70% of your time doing. So, if working at a startup seems like something you could see yourself doing, then check us out because we’re always looking to expand!