Staff your startup with people who love the pace, rhythm and unpredictable nature of starting and growing a company. It’s really not for everyone.
When you have people who just don’t get what it’s like to work in a startup environment, there will be a lot of complaining, a lot of bloated processes (that become outdated as quickly as they are created), and a general dis-comfort with how quickly things (large and small) change or how fast the workload can increase without warning.
Here’s what we all typically say when we are working at a startup…
- “I can’t keep my head above water”
- “I’m drowning in work”
- “I am drinking through the firehose everyday”
- “Every day there is another new fire drill”
- “It’s relentless”
- “I am so overloaded”
- “There is so much to do”
- “Everyday there is a new fire to put out”
- “I keep getting pulled in a million different directions”
- “As soon as I solve one problem another one pops up”
- “As soon as I figure one thing out, we shift strategies and I have to start all over”
You know these phases. You know they are said with a deep weariness and a hint of “I don’t really know if I can handle this much longer” undertone.
I don’t say these things anymore. I try to coach my team to not say these things anymore. And I try not to hire people who use these refrains about their startup experiences.
Because I’ve decided you either love it or you don’t. If you don’t love it you should find a different work environment. And if you do love it, then you need to lean into it, embrace it and stop stating the obvious in a negative way.
I really love the chaos of startup life. I love that everyday is different. I love that the workload is ridiculous. I love shifting on a dime to execute a new strategy or try a new tactic. But I have learned that not everyone does. And that’s OK.
If you love it, love it fully, stop complaining and hinting around about how hard it is. It is what it is, and this is what we signed up for. Love the workload. Love the chaos. Love the pace. Love that everything is constantly changing. That’s a choice you need to make if you are going to work at a startup.