Home

What are the differences between career development at a startup vs an enterprise?

I'm thankful for the time I had at Salesforce because there was an articulate matrix of what it meant to be at each level. When you were coaching somebody through their career advancement, you could talk about the delta between where they were and what was expected at the next level. It's a lot easier to set expectations and calibrate across the company because it's so clear at the organizational level.  In startups, the calibrations are off on all the dimensions. The executive team often has a very unrealistic expectation of the person they've hired to do the role, given the level that they have that person at. The person being hired also has certain expectations of the role based on their time at other companies. For example, I know what VP means from my time at Salesforce, but startups often want someone who will be a VP and janitor. At a startup, they're looking for a weird spectrum of skills, because they want you to do a lot of cleaning up while also setting the strategy. So you can’t calibrate as easily in a fast-moving startup because there's nothing to calibrate against. There are no clear expectations. It seems feasible for somebody at the IC level in a startup to become a VP, because if they're just handing out titles one day, you might luck out.

Anonymous Author
I'm thankful for the time I had at Salesforce because there was an articulate matrix of what it meant to be at each level. When you were coaching somebody through their career advancement, you could talk about the delta between where they were and what was expected at the next level. It's a lot easier to set expectations and calibrate across the company because it's so clear at the organizational level.  In startups, the calibrations are off on all the dimensions. The executive team often has a very unrealistic expectation of the person they've hired to do the role, given the level that they have that person at. The person being hired also has certain expectations of the role based on their time at other companies. For example, I know what VP means from my time at Salesforce, but startups often want someone who will be a VP and janitor. At a startup, they're looking for a weird spectrum of skills, because they want you to do a lot of cleaning up while also setting the strategy. So you can’t calibrate as easily in a fast-moving startup because there's nothing to calibrate against. There are no clear expectations. It seems feasible for somebody at the IC level in a startup to become a VP, because if they're just handing out titles one day, you might luck out.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
At a startup there are always 10 different things to do, which means you have plenty of opportunities to challenge your direct reports. We want to encourage them to grow in their career, so we challenge them to take on the next level of their function. They take over some of their leader’s burdens and we see if they're actually capable of handling that responsibility. You have to enable them, of course; give them the tools to do things right or enable them through additional help. Having to reach out to other teams to learn and innovate also gives them a great opportunity to network. The next step for them is to innovate on their own.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
There is nothing like career growth in Startups. In fact, a career growth seeking person should not join a startup. Startups have career catapult or great learnings. Nothing in between. Startups are here to unsettle the settled, disrupt something, bring something novel to the world. Being in a startup is like being on a mission. When you are on a mission, you don't worry about your growth, eyes are only on the end goal. If a startup succeeds, your career catapults. If it fails, you get nothing but great learning for life. If one values learning, then joining a startup is a no loss proposition.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
Starting a career with Startup is always beneficial, because in startup you can learn new technology in short time of period. Also you can manage work pressure with your personal life.
1 upvotes