Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

I’ve been working in a startup in London for the past few months, and last week we learned that the company is scaling back on staff dramatically. Unfortunately, our product hasn’t been quite the hit that the management expected and costs need to be cut, as funding is running out quite rapidly.

Taking the cuts into account, we have about five months to turn things around before we run out of cash. Morale in the company has obviously taken a nosedive since this happened, and staff seem to be leaning on the pessimistic side of things. The management doesn’t appear to have faced up to why our uptake has been so poor, and their plans to correct the situation all seem to hinge around veering wildly from our original product offering. This could be read as an admission of sorts that the product is either substandard or is merely a solution looking for a problem.

I know that startups often pivot dramatically in the early stages of their life, and it’s clear something needs to change. But, I’m afraid that their proposals are so starkly at odds with what the original product was intended to do, that we’ll just end up with a frankenstein product nobody wants.

While it’s good that we got advanced notice of the company being in difficulties, it’s quite a prolonged period of uncertainty to have hanging over you while you shelve your own personal plans. I was planning to hang on for 2-3 months and see if the situation improves. If it hasn’t, I’ll start looking for new employment. However, I’m curious to know what others think I should do? Any feedback would be appreciated.

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Comments

  1. Talk to those in charge of product development, and learn how they’re going about getting feedback and how ultimately the product will take shape as their final stab before cash runs out. If you have confidence in this method/manager execution and feel it’s in tune with what the market wants, then maybe hang in there and do your part and more with the company cash poor, but if you don’t have confidence in the overall effort or people leading it then maybe moving on is best.

  2. You’re in a great spot to learn. I’d stick around another few months and take notes. This will be of great value for your next one.

  3. Listen, if you don’t have absolute faith in the upper management’s ability to assess and remedy the problem, you gotta go. I mean it. I’ve ridden this ride before, and as bad as you think it is, it’s worse than you’re being told. There is no glory being a good sailor on a sinking boat. You don’t have to flip over your desk and walk out, but you should be actively planning your survival strategy RIGHT. NOW.

    That said, don’t burn any bridges– your next gig, or your next next gig, is going to come out of somebody you know at this job. Saying “Hey, I gotta jet.” is fine as long as you’re honest and fair with people.

  4. Always always always have a plan B!

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