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BornToCode

Working for a startup.

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I am kind of in a dilemma right now. I have been working in the graphics industry ranging from games to projectors for the past 10 years. I recently received a job offer for a Senior graphics role in a start up company, at the same time i also received another job offer working in the medical field on a 3d cad like software. The medical one uses Javascript and WebGL. The other one as we all know is C++/DirectX11. I also have two kids, so stability/work life balance is very important, but at the same time i know i would enjoy the graphics role more. But in the back of my mind i know that the graphics role which is for the game company probably not gonna last a long time.So what would you guys recommend in that case.

Edited by BornToCode

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Seems to me like you're hesitating between choosing a job that does good to you by providing you a steady environment and income without promise of exciting work and a stressful setup that would most likely come in line with your passions.

There's a motto going around that says 'love what you do and you won't have to work a single day in your life' (or something roughly similar) which I tend to agree with, but I'm also familiar with the kids & wife scenario where going for the startup is a lot more risky.

 

I guess the real question is, how much will working at a job you're likely not going to like much affect your 'spare time' vs how much will working at a job you absolutely love will allow you to keep the morale when you're compensating for the 'lows' that come with?

 

If you're to pick the 'boring job' thinking it provides you a stress less environment, but the impact on your morale is dire, and the time you spend with your kids is tainted with the frown of just how much you hate that job, then don't pick that. Likewise, if you you're to pick the 'hot job' but can't cope with the stress and keep yelling at your children everytime the startup can't pay on time and the bills are bouncing all over the place, then don't pick that.

 

If you know yourself well, you know what's best for you.

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Personally, I'd question why a startup thinks they need to (seemingly) create a graphics engine from scratch.  If they have millions in investment, several other industry veterans, and a multi year timetable then it is probably alright and will be around for a few years at least.  But if they are looking to hit half a dozen platforms including mobile and are going to need a Kickstarter round to get the game out that is a company destined to bust before the game is done.

 

Which job is closer? The game job might be great but if you got an hour+ commute to work every morning even a great job starts to turn sour when you think about all the time you are wasting getting to and from work.

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The medical job is right next to my house. About 2 miles away. The game company is about 30 miles a day.@Orymus3. That is exactly the problem, i am kind of like if i take the cad one, it will be stable but very boring work, but i will have more stability there. On the other hand the game company one sounds awesome, but i had bad experience in the past working for bigger game company and assume that working for a start up is probably worse. I do not want to find myself working everyday like 9 to 10pm where i am not spending time with my kids and wife.

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Distance is a factor in your decision grid.
Pay is a factor.
Risk, insecurity is a factor.
Enjoyability is a factor.
Collect your factors in your decision grid and add them up.

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I do not want to find myself working everyday like 9 to 10pm where i am not spending time with my kids and wife.

 

I know of very few (if any) startups that didn't require the team to go the extra mile (constantly) to succeed for the early years. If this is going against the life you're trying to build for yourself, this may be outweighing the thrill of being part of a game dev environment.

As Tom pointed out, putting everything in equilibrium in a decision grid should help you identify which way is the most appealing to you or the less daunting.

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I'd choose the CAD job if it pays higher. Living close to work, especially with kids, is becoming more of a necessity. You will have things like schools and groceries.

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There's a motto going around that says 'love what you do and you won't have to work a single day in your life' (or something roughly similar) which I tend to agree with, but I'm also familiar with the kids & wife scenario where going for the startup is a lot more risky.

 

This is true but, speaking from experience, if doing what you love means that you have to do a long commute, work long hours, don't get paid as much, don't see your wife and kids as much and offers you less security then doing a job in what you love could cause you not to enjoy it anymore.

Edited by Buster2000

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1) I am kind of in a dilemma right now.

2) I have been working in the graphics industry ranging from games to projectors for the past 10 years.

3) I recently received a job offer for a Senior graphics role in a start up company

4) at the same time i also received another job offer working in the medical field on a 3d cad like software.

5) The medical one uses Javascript and WebGL. The other one as we all know is C++/DirectX11.

6) I also have two kids,

7) so stability/work life balance is very important,

8) but at the same time i know i would enjoy the graphics role more.

9) But in the back of my mind i know that the graphics role which is for the game company probably not gonna last a long time.

10) So what would you guys recommend in that case.

 

As the co-founder and CEO of a startup I have a different perspective.  The decisioning process is similar, but the risks are even greater.

 

I took the time to break up your post to get to the heart of the issue.  This is not prescriptive and the answers for me are not the answers for you.

 

However, this is how I would approach each of these items.

 

1)  That's life.  It happens.  Roll with the changes and be flattered you have options.

2) Ok, good background.  Employment should never be an issue unless you're in Antartica.

3) Excellent.  They must think a lot of you and have a need for your services.  Questions to ask:  Have they been funded?  How much?  What is the vision for the business?  Do you participate in equity, ownership, etc.?  Is there an end game beyond a product development roadmap?  You get the idea.

4) Excellent.  Great to have two options.  The salary should be higher than the startup, especially if you get equity compensation.  Is there bonus options, other upside, opportunities to learn. (by the way, you will probably learn more at the start up).  Stability means dependable compensation and benefits.  However, just like in the startup, you can still be out of a job if they kill a project or if a product doesn't work out.  What assurances do you have that they will keep you on and there is reduced termination risk?

5) Not an issue.  You can work with either.  You haven't said that you can't or can.  If you need to learn, I'm guessing you will.

6) Kids and family are part of life.  It is a consideration, not a limiting factor.  You are your kids hero, they will still love you and you will be their role model.  You are teaching them about life.  What advice would you give them?

7) Just because you work in a startup doesn't mean you can't have work/life balance.  It depends on the stage, the staffing, your role, funding, etc.  It's up to you to create the work/life balance.  How - you shut it off at a specific time by creating boundaries.  Stop working at 5pm or 6pm, working from home, working late at night when needed.  You do what you need to do to create balance.  Is it always possible? NO.  Not even when working for an established company.  And sometimes, they expect more and appreciate you less.

8) Good to know.  Loving what you do is important.

9) If you have already convinced yourself it isn't going to work, then it probably isn't.  By the way, that's why you typically get paid more from an exit, if you get equity (of course the stars need to align) to compensate for the additional risk.

10) Why are you asking a bunch of people in a forum, and for that matter, why am I answering you.  Because you don't know any where else to go where people will understand.  Trust me.  Very few people understand.  When I get the chance to talk to another founder, I take it.

 

In summary - two thoughts.  1)  Trust yourself.  You know what to do.

 

2)  Even a boat that never leaves the harbor eventually rots.

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