scorecardInvestor Paul Graham explains why it's better to take a job at a startup over a big company — even if it ends up failing
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Investor Paul Graham explains why it's better to take a job at a startup over a big company — even if it ends up failing

Geoff Weiss   

Investor Paul Graham explains why it's better to take a job at a startup over a big company — even if it ends up failing
Careers1 min read
  • Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham said you should work for startups, not big companies.
  • Even when they fail, you'll be surrounded by future founders, he said.

Famed entrepreneur and Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham says it's wise to work for startups over big companies — even if they're more likely to fail.

Working for big companies might be "safer," the investor shared on X, but the connections forged with startup colleagues can cue up future success.

"In ten years they'll be running everything," Graham wrote of startup employees, "even if the startup tanks."

While Graham's position isn't exactly surprising from a cofounder of a famed startup incubator, the two career routes are hotly debated. In terms of salary, there are tradeoffs between generous Big Tech salaries and potentially lucrative startup stock options.

Others have noted the unique pressures of working for startups can lead to mental health issues, with corporate jobs often furnishing a better work-life balance. Long hours are the norm at startups, although they can also be a part of corporate life too, depending on the industry and role.

Still, Graham's advice resonated with users on X. "You need people willing to jump in and build the future, and startups inherently self-select for this," one wrote.

Another argued that working with big companies helped inform their eventual startup journey: "I learned professionalism, humility, and was surrounded by incredible mentors."

Graham often sounds off on career advice on X — including his personal indicator for when an email pitch might have been composed by ChatGPT and evolving attitudes toward remote work.

He did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider ahead of publication.




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