I’ve worked for a wide variety of companies over the years, including a number of tech startups, and I’m trying to wrap my brain around why people love working for them. Ratings on Glassdoor.com are often 5 stars and people I have worked with have consistently been like “I love working here”. But when you objectively look at the compensation, hours, culture and other factors, often based on the comments of those same employees, they sound like horrible places to work.
From various postings on Glassdoor.com and my own observations and experience:
Startups are typically run by a relatively inexperienced inner circle of management who maintain absolute control over the company.
Hours are obscenely long, often requiring late nights, weekends, holidays and long marathon stretches of no sleep.
They are typically extremely critical cultures, demanding people constantly “exceed expectations” whatever that means.
Most aren’t particularly well run or well managed.
Compensation is nothing special, at least not compared to larger companies employing similar individuals.
Honestly, it seems almost like a cult / abuse victim / Stockholm syndrome mentality. These companies hire bright kids, constantly telling them how bright everyone working there is for working there. Abuse them with long hours, absurd deadlines and “flat organizations” with not much upward advancement. Constantly harass anyone who complains or falls out of line by telling them they are not “meeting expectations” and that they need to work harder. And yet the employees “love” working there? What is it they love? Wearing T-shirts to work and playing fooseball in the break room?