Why is working at a fast-growing company good for your career?
Working at one of the fastest-growing startups can be challenging—and it can be one of the biggest growth opportunities in your career. We asked tech founders, directors, and career experts in the Powderkeg community for their best insights on working at a fast-growing company. From fast-paced position changes to endless learning opportunities, there are several ideas to consider below that may help you decide to apply for a role in a fast-growing company.
Not only can the tips below serve as ways to help you identify your biggest opportunity for growth examples, but also examples of growth opportunities for employees if you are leading a team. Startups can provide countless opportunities to learn and grow at work and opportunity to grow with the company. We hope the career growth opportunities examples below are helpful guideposts for your startup career.
Here are 11 reasons why working at a fast growing company can be an opportunity to grow professionally and personally:
1. Encourage an “Always Be Learning” Mindset
Working at a fast-growing company provides excellent opportunities for career growth because it requires employees to take on new challenges and responsibilities, learn new skills, and innovate to keep up with the company’s growth trajectory and the competition. The environment leads to an “always be learning” mindset, and this leads to faster promotions, greater recognition, and a more diverse set of experiences that tend to be valuable in future roles.
2. Test Your Gut Instincts
The core to my career success is taking on roles at fast-growing companies. The company needs you to test your gut instincts by being agile and risk-taking. There is no time to ensure you’re right. Therefore, you learn what you’re capable of quickly – which is usually more than you thought possible.
3. Think Like an Owner
Other than the obvious exposure to various tasks and responsibilities, it teaches you how to think like an owner, which is one of the most valuable lessons you can learn. This mindset involves a willingness to adapt and pivot as needed. We often need to adjust our strategies and products based on customer feedback and market changes. You become open to feedback, willing to iterate on ideas, and focused on finding the best path forward for your business.
4. Quickly Expand Your Work-Related Experience
Fast-growing companies mean fast-growing opportunities. When you work with a fast-growing company, there will more than likely be chances for you to move into new and different opportunities within your company.
This allows you to grow right alongside your company, learn new skills, and gain a variety of experiences all from within the relative safety of your company. You may land in a role where you unexpectedly excel or you could gain skills that might translate into greater job opportunities in the future.
There are a myriad of opportunities for betterment when working in a fast-moving company for those willing to seek them out. If you want to expand your knowledge and experience in your field, there may be no better place to do so than a company that is on the rise.
5. Fast Track Your Professional Footprint
By joining a fast-growing company, you leave a footprint that serves as a foundation for the rest of your career. That’s because organizations in growth mode reward doers with discipline, vision, and drive.
And with rapid growth comes great responsibility: start-ups frequently need those who can get both the job done and lay the groundwork for future employees. Sure, it can feel a little “sink or swim” at times, but you’re learning from the ground up: setting budgets, building workflows, and maybe even getting the chance to take a few risks along the way.
Working for a fast-rising organization sets you up with valuable skills that stay with you throughout your career—no matter which path you choose.
6. Achieve More
Working at a fast-growing company is good for your career because it allows you to achieve impressive feats that you may not have been able to at a larger, more established company.
Imagine being able to say you brought a new website with no traffic to 300,000 monthly traffic in a matter of 2 or 3 years. This wouldn’t work if you already join a company with 1,000,000 monthly traffic, a number that is difficult to push further.
When a company is booming, there are often more opportunities to take on additional responsibilities and push yourself professionally. As a result, you can build up your skill set and experience much faster than you would at a slower-moving company.
Being part of a high-growth organization often comes with the added perk of working with some of the brightest minds in your industry. With access to innovative resources and top talent, you’ll be well-positioned to speed up your career growth.
7. Develop a Large Breadth of New Skills
A big issue with working at established, blue chip companies—especially in the realm of tech and internet companies—is that you get pigeonholed.
Companies like Microsoft and IBM are so big that they have employees whose sole job is a singular, siloed function. Roles are highly defined, with little room to push boundaries or gain new experience.
In stark contrast, when you work at a high-growth, fast-moving company, you must wear dozens of hats. There is a ton of crossover in terms of responsibilities and job duties.
Fast-growing companies run lean, so when a fire pops up, there’s no punting it over to another division—it’s on you to figure out and resolve. But this is a good thing! There is no better way to learn than trial by fire, and this environment will give you a massive breadth of new skills.
8. Easier Networking
It is much easier to make important professional contacts at a small, fast-growing company than in an established corporate work environment. Professional networking often brings many of us the job opportunities, career advancement resources, and lifelong friendships we need to succeed.
Sometimes the person who was your manager last week gets promoted to the department head overnight when a company needs highly competent talent in integral positions. Suddenly, the person you were chopping it up with in one-on-one weekly meetings has significant leverage in your department and might help advance your career.
Fast-growing companies are exciting because they are always changing and maturing. The people you can meet are usually talented, interesting, and valuable, so make the most out of those networking opportunities before the organization grows too big for those organic relationships.
9. Receive Greater Promotion Opportunities
Working at a rapidly scaling company enables you to explore outside your assigned responsibilities. These varied experiences work to strengthen your role continuously so that you keep contributing more significant value to the organization, placing you in line for promotion each step of the way.
It’s a much faster way to climb the corporate ladder than working for a decade at a large company. For this reason, joining a hyper-growth company is one of the best growth hacks for your career.
10. Exposure to Challenges and a Plethora of Different Assignments
A fast-growing company is constantly moving into uncharted territory, and they need human resources to help them navigate it. If you’re willing to learn and want to grow in your profession, you could help the company in its expansion ventures.
A fast-growing company is also looking for leaders to lead new teams and make business decisions. Typically, the first place a company will look is in its ranks of trustworthy, dedicated, and loyal individuals. The adage, “if you didn’t want me at my worst, you can’t have me at my best” sums up the concept of loyalty, and there are better opportunities for those who are dedicated and loyal to a company.
In many cases, the position(s) you hold in a fast-growing company will look great on a resume. After all, a “Project Manager” holds significantly more power than a “Team Member” on a resume.
Ana Codallo, CTO, Key Opinion Leaders
11. Unlimited Learning Opportunities Amidst the Chaos
Look into any fast-growing company; invariably, the first impression is chaos. The chaos, of course, is an illusion because under all this apparent mayhem is a working environment achieving tremendous growth through continuous learning and on-the-go breakthroughs.
And that’s also why such an environment is great for your career—it teaches you more than you bargained for and leaves you with crucial lessons that will come in handy throughout your time in the industry.
The more you dive into the details, the more insights you pick up. Whether through experiments gone wrong or the overnight adoption of a new tool or platform, the learning opportunities in a fast-growing company are endless.
Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a blog originally published on Dec 7, 2022.
There are countless advantages and disadvantages of working in a startup. Whether your self-talk lately has been “I want to grow in my career,” or “I would like to grow with the company,” or even “”Should you work for a startup?” we hope these quotes on company success from thought leaders in the Powderkeg community are helpful on your journey.
If you are interested in exploring remote companies in the Powderkeg community, check out our curated list of The Best Tech Companies to Work for Remote Jobs in areas beyond Silicon Valley.
You can browse all of Powderkeg’s Best Tech Companies to Work for, follow them for insights, or request an introduction to plug into your next big opportunity.