When it comes to your career, especially in startups, very few things are certain. There is one thing you can count on for sure though. You’ll continue to encounter change, whether it be significant or minor blips, it will happen.

The smart choice is that you figure out how to handle the change and try to learn or leverage the situation. However, it is also likely you may actively resist it because we’re human and resistance to change is often the first response.

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Here are five common changes you can expect to see at work, and how you can deal with them:


Congratulations, you’ve been promoted.

Let’s be honest guys, promotions and job titles are a bit fluid in startups and don’t have the same impact as it does in a large multinational. However, that doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly.

After over-delivering and exceeding all your taregts, your employer is finally rewarding you with a change in title and a small pay bump. This is really exciting, but what do you do now. With fancy titles comes more responsibility.

Well, as you progress through the ranks, you have to change your work style to become more inclusive and you need to learn how to delegate better. Before you scoff at this notion, think about the following:

  • The learning curve for your job becomes steeper as you progress up the ladder, so the time taken to master it can be longer
  • The longer you learn, the higher the possibility you’re not going to be efficient during that time
  • Micro-managing or working in isolation can exacerbate those issues, so you need to delegate

While sleep, exercise and a healthy diet may seem frivilous when you’re young, it is essential for you to maintain your productivity over time. Work is important, but overworking can in fact be detrimental to your job.

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Restructuring the ranks

Changes in startup organisations are so common and restructuring is not unheard of if you’ve worked in more than one startup.

Very few things make employees as anxious as a company reorganization. These can result in layoffs more often than not, whether it is financial difficulty or the so-called ‘trimming the fat’ or correcting an overly aggressive hiring policy.

There are two important things to note here:

  • If you’re not directly affected by the reorganisation, take time to reach out to those who have been and maintain your professional network
  • If you’re part of the layoffs, be proactive and start reaching out to your network and get ahead of the story to let people know you’re available

New leadership

Your boss or relationship with your boss is often the main factor behind your happiness and success at your job. You might have invested time to build a relationship and value his or her direction and mentorship, so a leadership can completely throw everything off the rails and put you back at square one.

This shouldn’t demoralise you and make you feel frustrated. At worst, this is a slight inconvenience that can be corrected by investing time to network with your leadership. You may need to build your relationship again, but this also gives you a chance to correct mistakes you might have made with your first boss and reset your relationship. It is possible to restart everything, but have the benefit of knowledge and experience behind you.

Culture changes in the company

There is often the case of the company moving faster than the employee, so you or someone you know can feel left behind and not recognise the company they’ve part of for years.

In startups this can happen in the first year, because they tend to start without structures and systems in place. As the company scales, those things become necessary, and it can change the company culture.

Not all change is bad and being able to at least acknowledge that is the first step. Secondly, you need to take a step back and see if you want to be part of the new culture and if you do, how can you change to become a productive aspect of the business. Your brain might be averse to change, but with time and a shift in perspective, you can accept it. And if you train yourself to be comfortable with uncertainty, you can take advantage of it and better yourself at the same time.