So here’s something it’s taken me a while to figure out: There are no vacations as a startup founder. Or even weekends. Or even 6 hour stretches without somehow checking in or working.
I know that sounds sortof obvious to all the other founders out there but I think I underestimated how much a startup takes over your mind even if your actions suggest you’re engaged in something like making pancakes or getting groceries or taking an afternoon at the beach.
And I’m not saying this to play into the work 20 hours a day myth. I say this because unlike most other jobs where if you take a couple of days you have a team or inertia to cover for you, in an early stage startup if you don’t do something, nothing gets done.
And even one day of nothing being done makes huge ripples into the future of your venture.
So the result is that you end up working for some portion of every single day. Without an iota of exaggeration.
It’s an entirely different cadence than what most are accustomed to so it’s easy to assume that I don’t know how to create boundaries between work and the rest of my life. And sure some of that is true because you do truly become consumed by the thing.
But what you may not see is taking time during the day to run errands so that I can be around late at night when our engineer is cranking on the database.
The point is, even when I may say, “Oh we’re taking a couple of days to go to X” or “We’re planning a trip to Y”… the reality for my family is that I will be running off at different times in the day to work.
That’s just the deal.
So just one more thing to really know if you’re considering a similar leap. It’s certainly something I didn’t fully appreciate.
You will work every single day until you somehow, against the odds, become large enough that you can maybe take a day where you only check in a couple times, on your phone.
It’s the schedule you’re signing up for – like ER docs do shifts or like bartenders work nights or real estate agents have their weekends eaten up.
But even these other jobs can put in for a holiday request.
So know in a start-up, truly, there are no vacations.