Working for a start-up is hard work. You work hours that would make an investment banker shudder, for a salary that would make them think you'd missed a good few zeros off the end. There's no protocol -the rules are being made up as you go along, then before you know it you find everything you thought you knew has melted quicker than a strawberry ice-cream in a Saharan sauna. Most things don't go to plan, and progress more often than not takes at least three times longer than you hoped for. This is not your standard nine to five!
There are loads of plus sides to working for a start-up, obviously - that's why all of us at Smarta are here doing it and loving it! (Try an amazing sense of ownership, as much responsibility and decision-making as you desire, share schemes, flexibility, constant creative challenge, lack of red tape, an endless waterfall of new ideas that get implemented in hours rather than months, etc etc etc.)
But, inevitably, you will hit rough patches. People will start getting snippy with each other - heck, sooner or later, you'll start yelling at each other. Frustrations will simmer, toes will get stepped on, and at least one of you will erupt more unpredictably and violently than an Icelandic volcano.
If any of this sounds familiar, fear not. You're totally normal. Working in a start-up team is a bit like being in a family. You know you all love each other deep down - you've been through massive highs and lows already, and you're kind of bonded to one another, more so than you would be in any other type of company. And, like when you have a rant at your parents of siblings, you know it's just frustration being vented, not hatred of any type. You don't mean any disrespect.
That said, you're not tied to your start-up co-workers by blood. You don't have Christmas and long Sunday lunches as opportunities to heal up the cuts caused by spur-of-the-moment angry words. Which is why it's vital that you all make time for each other outside the office as well as inside. It's all too easy at the end of a long week to just want to go home and chill out with your old mates, but sticking around for a few drinks with your co-workers will really help the atmosphere when you get back in on Monday morning. Everyone is in their non-work mode - you're all more relaxed, there's no work stress souring the mood, and you can get on as mates.
You remember why you all wanted to work together in the first place. You see each other as people, not job roles. And you realise that the missed deadline isn't quite as show-stopping as it seemed at 11 am that morning. That you can still all work together, appreciate each other's efforts and company, and work through things. Like being in a family, you realise a bit of arguing is healthy, providing you can all bounce back and start bouncing ideas off each other merrily once the air has been cleared.
The moral of the story is: factor in a night once a week or fortnight when you can all go out together, stick to it, and you'll find your whole team functions like a family of great mates. Which is healthy, productive, and great fun. Just as start-ups should be.