Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Sizing Up a Start Up: Decoding the New Frontier of Career Opportunities

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Sizing Up a Start Up: Decoding the New Frontier of Career Opportunities

Article excerpt

Sizing Up a Start Up: Decoding the New Frontier of Career Opportunities, by Daniel S. Rippy. 2000. Cambridge MA: Perseus Publishing. 275 Pages. Paper. $16.00.

Daniel S. Rippy's Sizing Up a Start-Up was written for the professional considering a career with a start-up technology company in the Twenty First Century's new economy of fast-paced business life cycles.

Sizing Up a Start-Up begins with a foreword written by entrepreneur Matt Kursh, who, at the time of writing, was CEO of eShop and General Manager of Microsoft's MSN.com. The introduction starts with a profile of a potential reader-someone who may not be a technical genius but who is educated, possesses professional skills and curiosity, and is considering whether a job with a start-up is the right career move to make. The introduction also clearly lays out the book's purpose, "...to provide you with the tools you need to be optimally prepared to assess and make a decision about joining a start-up company." This purpose is carried out in 14 chapters, beginning with a case example of a tech start- up that is woven throughout the book to make various points. This case example is followed by an introduction to the stages of a tech start-up (called "New Economy Tech Start-Up (NETS) Stage Factors") These include Birth, Organizational Infancy, Organizational Adolescence, and Adulthood. The next four chapters present a standard set of information for each of the four NETS Stages: how to recognize whether a start-up company is at a particular NETS Stage and what indicates a move from one stage to the next; indicators of success; and the potential implications for the reader's career at each stage.

Rippy then provides a straightforward self-assessment to determine career risk tolerance, which provides a numerical score to indicate the earliest NETS Stage at which a reader should consider a career with a start-up company.

Chapter 8 discusses the basics of tech start-up financing and its implications for career choices, including tradeoffs between career and financial risks and rewards based on a start-up's financing history. With this foundation, the following two chapters provide an evaluation framework and questions to ask during an interview to determine fit between a start-up's stage and financial positions and a reader's career goals and risk tolerance. Rippy then provides a thorough list of various compensation options, as start-ups often pay less than more established companies, but can also be more flexible with benefits.

The final three chapters look ahead to strategies for individual success, for continuous evaluation of fit with a particular company, and for setting short- and long-term expectations of the long and winding road of careers in the new economy. …

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