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I used to love startups but now I think they're the most toxic workplaces

7 months ago

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Seems like all the startup hype of friendly collaboration has morphed into cringy job descriptions that look like scams. I think startups are the MLM of our era.


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    firefruze

    Yeah when a place boasts ‘startup like environment’ that flags for me low salary, high pressure, and maybe snacks.

    7 months ago

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      Sir_Cyanide

      The thing that worries me about this is a lot of folk will read that as meaning its a very casual, laid-back environment where they get to have some degree of say on what happens. They usually do advertise it as their first employees being the "founders" of the company, when in reality you're just the first child of a parent who doesn't know how to handle their kids yet and will make a lot of mistakes.

      7 months ago

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    Much-Search-4074

    I was involved in an Amazon / FBA tech startup, and it was fun at first but highly toxic. Extremely high pressure job, you were expected to do the roll of 5 people, and meet insane quotas. However, their boasting point was free gym and play room with a cheesy arcade. In the end they were having trouble paying people and the micromanagement and business decisions they were making was unbearable. Even the CEO was having his company meetings with a bottle of whiskey at his side. Not my kind of environment, left for better pastures.

    7 months ago

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      coco_2077

      I'll never understand an arcade at work being a perk. If I want to play games I do it at home, if I'm tired of working at work I want to relax & eat not stand at a game.

      7 months ago

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    TheVaza

    I've dealt with this and I've worked for some good start-ups, but I've noticed that due to the nature of the job market a lot of people choose to start their own businesses, however that doesn't mean that they Know how to run a business or how to treat people. I've recently dealt with someone who was so focused on their 'brand' but refused my professional advice that he was given at least two times before me and paid shit for artists expecting some grand product (website design with animations, graphics and illustrations all for only 150$)... It got to a point where if they didn't plan to pay me I wasn't going to talk to them anymore, it is clear how ignorant they were about commissioning artists for the most important part of their product. That is only an example of what I've seen. Lots of people think that their product would be revolutionary or that they'll become the next Facebook or Google when in reality it was most likely already done and is better. It also has to do with needing to lay down the groundwork before bringing on people to work on said product.

    7 months ago

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      VessentialV

      100% - turnover is high and God forbid you don't work on the tech side of the operation. They treat their customer facing roles like trash even though they are the face of the company. It was the most absurd workplace I've ever had. I went through a week of on-site training btw they flew people in just to pay them minimum wage. By the time I quit I was doing an entirely different role with more tasks and zero wage reneg. They want you to be loyal to the mission, however forget that we are still employees. I never had stock options just a 1099.

      7 months ago

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    lenswipe

    Attention all rockstars, are you the code ninja we need? We think this could be an awesome partnership. We all start after work until midnight and get no work done because of the foosball tables and beanbags.

    7 months ago

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      TechNinestein

      This is way too accurate 😂

      7 months ago

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    [deleted]

    [deleted]

    7 months ago

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      ddh85

      But no healthcare. That only activates after a full year of employment.

      7 months ago

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    daisuki_janai_desu

    I would never in a million years work for a small company again. If they are not an international corp, I'm not even bothering to apply. Every small business I have every worked for has been a gigantic clusterfuck of disorganization and nepotism.

    7 months ago

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    Cj02728293

    I totally agree for most startups. The rule of thumb I have the more they try to lure you in, the more toxic the environment is. Good profitable startups with good people attract people. Therefore, they don’t need to beg for people. Startups are good in theory, but usually they are flawed in production. That’s just my opinion though, I’ve never personally worked for a startup. This is just what I’ve heard from others :)

    7 months ago

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    jennyfrommyblock

    I’ve worked at a couple of startups and for 2/3 of them, I couldn’t agree more. Absolutely toxic environment, expected to do 5+ jobs at any time, underpaid, overworked, and treated like I was expendable. Never again. The one I worked at that was good was for someone I knew, so my perception is probably skewed but the owner really cared and it seemed like everyone had clearly defined roles, which is unusual at a small start-up. I still won’t ever go back to one unless I’m really desperate, and even then I don’t know if I would.

    7 months ago

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    partaylikearussian

    Worked for one. “GUYS! £1 lunches!! Free gym membership!! A beer or two on Fridays!!” * No sick pay. You will agree to a sliding salary that can vary from £18-28k p/a (this was in debt collections - assigned cases where the people have no intention on paying? Too bad. Bad luck. Salary slashed from 25k to 18k because you aren’t collecting). Breathe wrong? Fired. Sick? Fired. 2 mins late? Fired. One bad appraisal? Fired. Not part of the clique? Fired. Not joining in company events? Fired. Company had a 55% staff turnover rate. But, guys!! £1 lunches!!

    7 months ago

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    Josejondoe

    Start up are shit. Worked at 3. 2 of them great team and bosses? But my god the pay. Unnecessary "freebies" which could actually convert into our salaries. I rather have more salary lesser interaction with colleagues than more interaction. You spend 8 to 12 hours 5 days a week with them and weekend over slack/google to do your work and you want me to further bond after hours? Hell I got friends and family. And worst like mentioned above, once you are the oddball who start to reject this outing you kinda get ostracize.

    7 months ago

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    Band1c0t

    I think depends on the the place, but 1 thing for sure with startup is the stability is incredibily low, so if you want to purse career or want to work longer in the company, dont work in startup.

    7 months ago

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    dreadmaidenkey

    It seems a common theme is weird luxury items vs valuing and correctly paying employees. I've hated working for small businesses, two that I've worked for shut down permanently and the third is seemingly on its way. All three had weird luxury items but no real appreciation for their employees.

    7 months ago

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    Only_Here_To_Browse

    I did a startup for a few months. I would work 9-5 and eat lunch while working (I don’t think this is legal.) I usually always had to stay an extra hour or two to tie up some loose end. There was always that atmosphere where everyone was trying to be cool by dressing down, enjoying the free coffee, being that “team player” by working weekends and late nights. Of course there was that promise of “equity.” The chances of some random startup becoming the next Facebook in their field is practically zero. It was not for me.

    7 months ago

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    kaifkapi

    As someone who works at a startup now...yes, so much yes. There's no structure to the business, so you basically do whatever the boss wants and get paid whatever the boss thinks you should make. Don't bother trying to get a raise...they've planned the budget out to 2022 and advancing your career is not in there anywhere. This isn't even talking about the people, who do/say whatever they want (including "I want the person we hire for (new role) to be a girl. I can control girls easier." and etc). I may be negatively biased but I am never, ever getting a job at a startup ever again. Once this dang pandemic is over I'm OUT.

    7 months ago

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    ElectricOne55

    I work in IT not software dev. I found any small businesses are bad as well, because they often only hire people that they know and the interviews are very weird. The pay is often less at any small business as well. I think small businesses/startups/MLMs are very similar. It's so hard to get hired by a big company unless you have crazy amounts of experience though, and the big companies are weighed down big big corporate bureacracies that make it hard to get hired. So, it's hard to pick which is worse.

    7 months ago

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    techleopard

    I always hated that word, "startup." It felt like an effort to make new businesses sound unique and unicorn-special -- *oh no, this isn't a new business, this is a STARTUP. We're going to be BIG!* And yes, I absolutely feel that they are toxic. Just a way to convince people to work in the most self-destructive way possible with no life-balance -- but it's okay, because in 5 years you're going to have a 2-day work week and be flush with cash!

    7 months ago

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    FiguringItOut--

    Depends on the company. Love my current job at a startup, but it’s well established and a good portion of the general public has heard of us. (Were 3 years old.) I’ve worked for toxic, no-name startups too. I think it’s a bit hit or miss

    7 months ago

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    Lvvvvvv

    Pay is shit. I wanted to work at a startup and have been doing it for 3 months, but I might start searching..

    7 months ago

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    JohnEmerson11

    Absolutely agree

    7 months ago

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    WhirlpoolGalaxy_2021

    I worked at a "startup" inside an established big corporate company. What I remember is us being starved of resources, ridiculous deadlines and attempts to run in all directions and plethora of buzzwords like "fail fast" and "corporate interlocks". I think "startup" may have become like "agile", most people have long forgotten the original purpose and spirit and just mangling it and now it basically means trying to get 2 people to do the work of 10, all while management demonstrates to executives on how clever and deserving of promotion they are.

    7 months ago

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    x10lovesyou

    I’ve worked for two start ups and they sucked for all of the reasons listed above. Being laid off from the last one was such a blessing. After that, when I was job hunting, I actually avoided smaller companies - couldn’t deal with it again. I agree all company sizes come with certain pros and cons but, after the experiences I had at both, it’s a pass for me.

    7 months ago

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    brewtete3

    As an engineer, I would never work for one. I need to learn from senior staff (experts at their field) and at a place with organization and a degree of good management. I am not possibly wasting years learning crap to have a company on my resume that no one ever heard about. All that "family" garbage grinds my gears. I don't want my co-workers to be my family. In fact, I think it's a terrible idea to have them as friends, even. I want a transactional relationship with my employer.

    7 months ago

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    shockedpikachu123

    Ugh ffs yes! I wish someone warned me. They are trying to build a chemistry department at my startup job and everyone fucking left and it’s just me and I just started. Don’t get sucked into the free vacation policy . It means you’ll be overworked . I loved how they gave me incentive to recruit people but after seeing that I wouldn’t want any talent I know to be in such an unorganized chaotic environment

    7 months ago

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    dinosaursandmammoths

    Yep. I worked at a small start up before where they offered perks like free meals, snacks, activities, etc. but it was a demanding role. I was involved in 4 different roles and that wasnt enough. I was expected to be reading study material at home (which I didnt so that was one of the reasons I was terminated

    7 months ago

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    LinkOn_NY

    Are startups that bad? I wanted to work at one to increase my skill set (multiple hats things) but hearing the horror stories might have to reconsider.......

    7 months ago

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      manondessources

      They're not necessarily and universally bad. However, a lot of startups pride themselves on "fun" work environments instead of the more meaningful (and difficult to implement) things that make a good workplace, like effective HR and management and generous pay and benefits. Also, while "wearing many hats" can build your resume and skill set, it can easily become a situation where you take on way more work than is reasonable for your role and pay. Again, this isn't to say that you would definitely have a bad experience. Startups just tend to be riskier in terms of workplace culture and company financials.

      7 months ago

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    beaudebonair

    I noticed in my experience a few of those startups are far from the professional side and handle things in uncouth mannerisms at times that have shocked me. But I suppose that is kind of how it is, but when you see them playing favorites is when it becomes real toxic yes. A lot of expectation is also placed on you in startups rather than some corporate positions would place as well.

    7 months ago

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    campbellm

    I am involved in one now and it's fine; I have the luxury that the manager knew me already so we had a working relationship, and the startup is an 'internal' one, so funding is not so much a problem. My last position was in a group that THOUGHT there were a startup, but were purchased by a large (70000+ employee) firm, but still acted like they weren't part of the machine. THAT one was toxic.

    7 months ago

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    DarrenEdwards

    I am at 3 years at a start up. The fun time is over. They just forced us to use the vacation time up that they never let us use before. Now I am back to work tomorrow at 3/4 pay. Managment is so clueless they have been giving us busy work for the last year and shoehorning us into an agile system as if we weren't the self starting knowledgeable people that built the system in the beginning.

    7 months ago

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    izzyeviel

    I’ve never worked for a startup, but all these comments could all apply to working for a big corp. depressing.

    7 months ago

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      SecureValuable

      I think that's sort of the point. People hear "startup" and think, "Omigosh, I get to hang out in jeans and a hoodie, and between playing foosball, hanging out on bean bags playing video games and eating free organic food, I'll, like, code something and we'll all become millionaires!"

      7 months ago

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    Tender_Figs

    Man, I currently work at a start up, and do all functions of IT plus data engineering, database development, and facilities. Started to wonder if this was the norm and this thread has validated that it is. Personally, I'm riding out COVID for the shitshow to end... and of course, I have equity.

    7 months ago

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    leezahfote

    stay far away from any company that says “we are like family here”

    7 months ago

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    ZodiAcme

    I worked at a tech company for half a decade. They were a major company that had been around for well over 10 years and still liked to consider themselves a “startup.” Generally this mindset was used to pressure workers into giving more of their energy to the company, excusing terrible work life balance, and as an excuse for taking reckless actions.

    7 months ago

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    coach_mish

    Interesting points all around. There are definitely pros and cons of working at a start up. I've been on both sides of the fence (large established companies and start ups); the fit really depends on one's personality. For example, are you a "high risk, high return" person, or do you prefer more safety and stability? Some people like more structured environments with clear black and white structured tasks, while others do better in fluid environments doing many things to keep them on their toes, so it depends. You'll certainly find different levels of toxicity both at large established companies and small environments, so I like to say, pick your poison carefully ;)

    7 months ago

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    braids_and_pigtails

    Wow hearing all of this is jarring. I applied to so many startups. Haven’t heard anything from them. Kind of glad about that now. They listed so many amazing benefits like paying you $1,000 to take a vacation and monthly incentives among other things. Maybe it’s just because my current job is so absolutely horrible (post office) that it sounded like a dream.

    7 months ago

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      sierra55555

      Yeah don't let the sugarcoating fool you. Most of them underpay and overwork their employees. They make it seem like a horizontal & democratic place where you'll have a say. You won't. Wearing tee shirt & jeans to work doesn't make your boss not your boss. Edit: but maybe try it for a few months and see if you like it? I know some people who did. Most of my friends who tried were badly disillusioned after a few months.

      7 months ago

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    auntpama

    Oh My God.... all of this. I thought it was just me that thought this! I feel like I am working for a bunch of high schoolers - the upper management are all friends and talk about their employees behind their backs and treat others better IF they like them. And they have no communication skills, no idea how to treat employees, they make up job titles, and I could go on....

    7 months ago

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