For people who stay in their family business, or follow in the footsteps of their parents, there’s a common ground for sharing professional wisdom and advice. That’s not to say all advice is good or accurate, it’s just that within the family one can talk about certain professional matters that might not be appropriate to bring up with a friend or mentor. For instance, say you are working for a startup where, like many startups, things are looking good one day and less good the next. Beyond the company potential, as things shift, it isn’t clear your role is right for you anymore. There are so many variables going into this story, and you want someone wiser and older to discuss this with in determining what to do next and when…
There are many people in Silicon Valley who grew up with parents who worked in technology, or who are venture capitalists, or heck, who are both. I bring up the concept of startups to my father and he says “go get rich,” though he doesn’t really think it’s possible. His advice years ago would be to join a big company, now he’s just impressed that I have managed to maintain employment. But who do I turn to for advice? Who can I tell the entire story to and at least discuss the options outside of my own head with some valuable feedback? Eh, no one.
It’s never a black or white decision either. It’s not “do I stay or do I go?” It’s – how long do I stay? Should I ask for more money? Should I get another job offer so I can try to get more money? Should I ask for more stock? Am I underpaid? Heck, am I overpaid? If I do leave, what type of job should I do? Should I go to another startup? How about a large company? Do you think the startup I might go to has potential? What offer should I not refuse? If any? If I do stay, what projects should I take on to grow in my own career? At what point do the signs point to I should leave right now? Will they ever? What is typical mid-stage startup turbulence versus the engine starting to fail? Should I big more outspoken about ideas with the executive team? Should I stay quiet and just keep my head down? When is the right time to speak up? Should I be concerned that people are leaving the company? Are they leaving because they aren’t being paid as “well” as I am in terms of salary or stock? How about getting an MBA? Will that help at all?
Sure, even if I did have a close family member in tech I wouldn’t have ALL the answers, but I’d at least have someone to talk to about all this. But instead I’m left with blogging anonymously and no one to run these ideas by. My career counselor that I hired a few years ago told me to take a very entry-level job at a large tech company versus the startup gig I opted for – had I taken that job I probably would still be making $70k and in the same or a similar role vs now at least having opened doors for bigger and better positions, not to mention a better salary. All I want is some good, seasoned advice from someone who I can confidentially offer up all the data – how my company is doing. How I’m doing. What I’m scared of. Why I should stop being such a damn fickle millennial and just deal with transition and come out on the other end of it all the stronger – right?
I don’t know… I’d like to find some sort of advice… but from whom?