I currently work at an international startup in Asia that has been around for more than 5 years, and I am currently going on 2 years working there.

The problem is lately, many of the startup's plans are not being done, product development is halted, resource allocation is in disarray, many people are leaving. If anything, from my point of view, it feels like a place where a group of freelancers work to make ends' meet rather than striving to be a professional company.

I talked to the directors about this issue. One of them said all is well, nothing to worry about, we are in good place, etc. Another said that he recognizes my concerns, and he laid down the plan that will be put to place to handle the issue (decreasing people turn-over, focusing on the products etc.).

Both gave different answers, and unfortunately, the latter is currently overseas dealing with our international clients and he will be there for a while longer, therefore he does not have control at the office as much as the former.

I know a startup is difficult at the beginning, but I want to ask everyone in this community for advise, specifically:

  1. Is the condition I explained above normal for startups in its age?
  2. How can it be better?
  3. Should I start sending resumes?

Thank you in advance

  1. It isn't too uncommon if they can continue to receive funding with that level of effort. There needs to be a sense of urgency and/or a general desire to bring the plans into completion by the members. A large part of the issue may be that the director who is stationed in the office doesn't recognize there being a problem. There is also the chance that the plans are in the process of changing, but they can't be revealed yet. Many startups change their plans -- especially when they need to change investors often.

  2. There is no real simple answere here. A startup needs to rely on the input of all of its members, not just the directors, since you are the one who recognizes the issues, you need to address them. If, as one of the directors says, they aren't actually problems, you need an explanation why they are not problems instead of "all is well". Once you have a list of the remaining issues, a plan needs to be made how to deal with each of them individually. If you don't find support from the director in the office, then you should seek support elsewhere, such as the director who is overseas -- while interrupting his work dealing with clients is usually something to be avoided, it is an important enough topic that he should work out with the remaining director, even when he is overseas.

  3. That is really up to you. If you believe in the potential of the company, I would really suggest trying to take initiative in solving the problems. If it is a decent work environment, it may also help solidify your position in the company, allowing you a higher position in it if it succeeds. If you feel like you are also just part of the "group of freelancers work to make ends' meet rather than striving to be a professional company", then you could certainly find more stability elsewhere.

Unless you are wanting to move on to something else, I feel it is too early to give up on this company at this point.


Sounds like your average startup. It's the nature of such companies, so unless you are one of the "main guys" in that company, there's not much you can do about the direction. What you can do, if you choose so, is to do your work as organized and professionally as possible. In a chaotic environment, it will take time to show results, but stick to it and get your nearest colleagues to work in a similar manner.

No need to send resumes, unless the company starts to show financial trouble like paychecks being delayed or multiple clients leaving. Startups can be fun once they get a bit of traction and you get to learn multiple new technologies on the job (if you enjoy that).


Is the condition I explained above normal for startups in its age?

Plenty of startups never get organised properly

How can it be better?

Not your call to make, it's not your company.

Should I start sending resumes?

Only if the company looks like it is going to fail completely or if you want a change. I assume you are still being paid. Many startups are funding mines for the directors, their focus is not in producing a product or service as much as it is in getting funding, the work is secondary. So long as the funding continues the business is doing fine.

A flag for this is people in charge being unavailable all the time, another is if there isn't steady expansion. Either of these can indicate lack of focus and commitment. It's not something that should concern an employee too much as long as the pay goes through without issue.

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