Job vs Startup — Which Do I Recommend?
Note to self: Finish this post! Draft/Preview:
My short answer: I recommend getting a “job” over launching a “startup”.
“Russian Roulette” has a 16% chance of failure/death (1 bullet out of 6 chambers), whereas “Startup Roulette” has a 90% chance of failure (5 bullets out of 6 chambers).
My expanded personal advice: — hear me out on the alternative:
- Write down your top 5 favourite/preferred companies to work for
- Find out which of them are publicly listed on the stock market
- Do whatever it takes to get a job at either [this could be another post]
Once you’re in your favourite/preferred company, work there as if it was your own startup! Below are a few guidelines I would strongly recommend:
- Work overtime, like 50-60 hours a week, even if it’s not paid (this is one of the biggest flags you can wave that “I’m the best” within the organisation .. Also, this is still a lot easier than working 60-80 hours a week within a startup, as some startups dont even pay you at all the first few months/years)
- Smash out all the work you’re assigned, then ask your manager if there’s anything else you can do (even if it’s out of the job description — within a startup, you’d be doing anything/everything anyway, think of this as a protected warmup!)
- Reinvest 10-20% of every pay check into buying the company’s stock, and opt for dividend share reinvestment (this will shock/impress your superiors how seriously vested into the organisation you are .. also, they will treat you with far more respect as you are a shareholder, which in essence makes you their boss!)
- Answer work communication around the clock; including nights + weekends + holidays (this will further shock/impress your superiors, as other staff will not do this and it will be another clear ‘competitive advantage’ why you’re the best — within a startup, you’d be doing this anyway, so think of it as yet another protected warmup)
After a few weeks, the entire organisation will know you’re one of the hardest working + highest performing employees. They will certainly *NOT* fire you. That job security has value.
After a few months, you’ll start getting promoted with pay increases. Smart organisations will reciprocate your actions and reward you. Why would they want to lose their best person? They would much rather fire the guy who dodges hours, takes long breaks, avoids tasks “outside their description” — that’s the weakest link, not you (by a longshot!).
After a few years, you’d own $100k+ of company stock, which will be more than 99% of people around you within the organisation. You might even have more company stock than your boss’ boss (depending how big of a company you picked). They will not mess with you. This respect has huge value.
The more promotions you earn, the more you get paid, the more stock you can buy. Within 5-10 years (which is around the time the 10% surviving startups may achieve a successful exit, with the founders netting $1M-$5M stock if they’re lucky), you’d have earned $1M+ in wages and maybe even another $500k+ in shares, especially if they appreciated too.
There are countless stories of people entering public corporations at the bottom and ending up as CEO of multi-billion dollar companies:
- David Abney, CEO of UPS: started at age 19 loading packages into delivery vans.
- Mary Barra, CEO + Chairman of General Motors: started at 18 on the assembly line, checking fender panels and inspecting hoods.
- Bob Iger, CEO + Chairman of Walt Disney: started as a weatherman on a local ABC news station.
- Doug McMillon, CEO + President of Walmart: as a teenager, loaded trucks at a Wal-Mart distribution center.
- Alex Gorsky, CEO + Chairman of Johnsons & Johnson: started at age 28 as a sales representative at Janssen Pharmaceutica, a Johnsons & Johnson subsidiary.
- Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup: started in the sales department at Salomon Brothers, which merged with Citigroup a few years later.
- And countless others: Just Google and you’ll see many interesting stories
Conclusion: Working at your favourite/preferred company, and climbing up the ranks with maximum security and comfort, I would say, is far easier/better than taking the risk of launching a startup (which requires far more commitment, perseverance, risk, energy, etc).
Even if after going through the aforementioned job path, and you decide after 5-10 years you dislike it, you’re in a FAR better position to launch a startup/business than before, as you’ve got tons of valuable experience + substantial personal capital.
Hope this helps 🙂