Working in a startup (or a small sized company), has been good for my health – strangely though. I always had this view that Startups are very ad-hoc in nature and you end up taking a lot more pressure and responsibilities than you normally would – which negatively affects your health. Surprisingly, this very nature of a startup ends up strengthening you from the inside, which manifests positively on your health.
It is just like a Gym. When you are not going to a Gym, from the outside, it looks like a lot of effort – lifting weights, sweating incessantly, so much pain. But when you are resolute in going to the gym, you actually start enjoying it and surprisingly your body also gears up to take the “abuse”. We end up being healthier and stronger in the long run. Sure you go through a lot of pain to do 10 push-ups, but if you keep at it, after a couple of weeks, you can do 50 every day.
Of course, the underlying truth is – you must change yourself to start loving the ad-hoc nature of the startup. The Break room water cooler is broken and there is no maintenance staff. You are travelling tonight and you are booking your ticket and hotel today. Your sprint planning is done on that White Board in that corner. You need to bring many people into a discussion, so you borrow your engineer’s smartphone, since it is the only phone which can bridge multiple people reliably. You get an awesome customized Business card, but there is no Company ID card (you only have a document that says “To whoever it may concern, Ram works at ABC Company. Signed, CEO”)… Yeah, Deal with it. Or rather, LOVE such things. The less the number of defined processes and structured hierarchy, the more the freedom.
If you look at a Gym and you see only pain, you won’t last even a week there. If you derive pleasure in going through the temporary pain, you will survive. And you will improve.