There are definitely some trade offs when it comes to working in a start up in Ghana. Unfortunately it’s not all rosy positives.
- If you don’t have your wits about you, you might get cheated – During one of my start up experiences, it took me about 10 months to find out that everyone else was receiving monthly travel subsidies in cash. I had never even thought to ask!. At another workplace, I assumed that requesting petty cash was a tedious task, so I missed out on hundreds of cedis worth of reimbursements just because I was clueless. How to not let this be you as the newest start up employee? Try and find out what benefits are on offer by asking whoever employed you, and keep your eyes to the ground during your first few months.
- Not so great working conditions – Start ups in Ghana are usually characterized by small and dirty working spaces (unless you’re at a cool working space such as WorkShed), constant power cuts, and poor lighting. Your office building will probably not be an architectural masterpiece complete with natural light, expensive fake plants, but if you’re not bothered by having basic surroundings, this shouldn’t be a problem (for some reason this sounds like shade but I promise you it’s completely unintended)
- Uncertainty – Will I just show up at work one day and see no one at my company? Will the company ever break even so I can get a raise? These are thoughts that will occur to you more than once if you work at a start up. Unfortunately your salary will probably be delayed a few times as well.
- Moving on might be difficult – If your start up is not well known, it might be difficult to move on when you are ready, so be sure your resume is solid and highlights your achievements and responsibility over the years. Also, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of being a jack of all trades and master of none after working at a start up, so be sure to focus on distinguishing yourself in a select few areas.
Now that you have a balanced view of what it’s like to work at a start up, do you think you would ever work for one? Or if you have worked for a start up before do you think I’ve captured everything? Please let me know in the comments!
By Guest Hacker Regina Quaye
Regina works in Customer Relations for an Agric start up based in Accra. She aspires to own and run her own multinational cosmetics line.