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Why I Work at a Startup

Four years ago, my post-college plans were completely different. After moving across the country, I was going to get a job in banking and begin working my way up the corporate ladder. Life was going to be predictable and satisfying as I followed the popularly predefined path ahead of me.

But alas, I took the path less traveled. Four years later, I’m still in Athens and I’m working at a startup- a far cry from predictable. My informal job title is Air Traffic Controller, and my responsibilities change on a daily basis. I’m LoriAnne Carpenter, Operations Director at Four Athens.

For me, the decision to stray from the aforementioned path was easy. There were many aspects of working for a startup that I found appealing. In addition to arcade-like offices and non-traditional business hours, three distinct advantages really resonated in my mind.

First, there was nothing holding me back. I am young, educated and resilient enough to navigate the somewhat unchartered waters of working at a startup. I have no dependents and therefore several years before I have to worry about stability and security. If there were ever a time in my life that presented the opportunity to be risky and take gambles, it would be now.

Working at a startup also affords the unique opportunity of realizing boundless potential. Unlike new hires at traditional companies, I am not limited to a job description. Sure, my new degree in finance holds some weight, but I have the opportunity and, well, challenge to bring much more to the table. I’m not just allowed, but encouraged to expand my knowledge of web development while also exploring new marketing ideas. I can even fail at trying something new without fear of getting fired. Being a part of a startup means being dynamic. There is always room for improvement and, thus, always an opportunity to be learning.

The last reason, and perhaps the most ambitious one, is the chance to change the world. Like many of my Generation Y peers, I was born with a strong desire to make a difference in this world- to influence beyond my sphere of influence. Working at a startup means I get to wake up everyday excited go to work, because I’m passionate about our mission. It means I’m part of something much more than a job. I’m part of a team that is creating solutions to real problems, and that is truly rewarding.

So, my challenge to you is to reimagine and reconsider what you could do with your career. Do you want to keep building someone else’s dream, or do you want to pursue your own? What’s holding you back? What could you be learning? What difference are you going to make?

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