Ladies & Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

Chazz Pratt
Occasional Contributor

Ladies and Gentlemen Start Your Engines 11.25.13.jpg


Working for a Start-Up company can be fun! The scene reminds me of how one of my Sergeants once described his role: “…like a blank canvas where you supply the paint and brushes, but I paint the picture!”


Launching a new company can be like that. Everything is new, the plans have been made, and you get to be a part of creating a whole new company.


Most Start-Ups can be described like this:


  • No standard operating procedures have been developed yet.
  • You have no track record or “street cred” yet.
  • The number of years you’ve been in business is too small to brag about.
  • Your collective experience (i.e. the number of years the leadership has been working anywhere) supports your potential for success.
  • A cool, innovative product that fits into a specific niche.
  • A better way of doing things that breaks with the status quo.
  • Sexy, hip, and worth paying attention to.


So, what does this mean for the Veteran looking for a new career?


Start-Ups mean OPPORTUNITY! And, I mean ground-floor opportunity for those willing to take a huge risk in many cases!


But, what specific traits do Veterans have that might fit well into a Start-Up company?


  • Start-Ups take a lot of time commitment with long hours. Veterans don’t punch a clock!
  • Start-Ups require a lot of risk-taking tolerance. Sounds like a Veteran can handle that!
  • Start-Ups force you to deal with fear of the unknown. And all the Veterans said, “No problem!
  • Start-Ups offer jobs with little pay at the beginning with potential big reward if successful.
  • Start-Ups exist as relatively flat organizations – more horizontal than vertical. Your Chain of Command is reachable and not located several echelons above reality, so to speak.


I invite you to take some time and think about whether or not a Start-Up work environment is right for you. Here’s a set of links that might help you discover some potential career opportunities in a Start-Up:




Killer Startups:




Forbes Magazine:


500 Startups:


So, whether you plan to work for a Start-Up or create one, let’s hear your thoughts on this topic!

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