POSTED ON

12 Dec 2017

Startup or Corporate - Which Career Choice is Right for You?

When multiple companies want to hire you, it can be challenging to decide which one to work for. More often than not, your selection will consist of two general types of companies: large, established corporations, and small startups looking to expand. Each type has its own innate work culture, and you need to know which one you can thrive in. Below, we've identified the pros and cons of both worlds to make your choice that much easier.

Startup Pros

1. More responsibility

In many startups, the entire workforce is made up of only a handful of people. Because of the size of the team, there'll be more multitasking for everyone involved. The more responsibilities you hold, the more versatile and reliable you become. As the job gets more complex with time and growth, you also become an indispensable part of the team.

2. Your work matters

Startups don't usually have the unlimited resources that conglomerates do. This makes every function crucial, and every employee needs to pull their weight, or the entire enterprise could sink. As such, no matter how little a task may be, it's always going to mean something in a startup.

3. Change happens quickly

Fewer people mean less consultation, and decisions can be made much quicker. Decision-making processes generally go faster in startups, which helps you gain more knowledge and experience in multiple areas of business while also being part of a company where your input makes a lot of difference. On that note, when a startup achieves success, growth often comes at a rapid pace, and you could find yourself high up in the corporate ladder in no time at all.

4. You'll feel more accomplished

When you fall short at your job in a startup, you can potentially cause an 'epic failure' that disrupts all of the company's operations. On the other hand, when you do a good job, and the company does well, you know you contributed greatly to its success, and you'll be prouder of your contributions. Everyone in the company knows that you did well, and you could be better compensated for it.

Startup Cons

1. Heavy workload

Since manpower is limited, expect your responsibilities to eat into your home and family time. Startups need to capitalize on each growth opportunity quickly, and employees may have to work long hours and enjoy fewer holidays and vacations in the process. With fewer opportunities for me-time, you have a bigger chance of experiencing stress and burnout at your job.

2. Lower Job Security

Your job depends heavily on the company's immediate profitability, and there's simply no room for error. Surveys suggest that around 90 percent of startups fail within the first three years. Especially if the company repeatedly fails to bring in new investments or profit, working for a startup could mean you will regularly face the constant fear of getting laid off and seeing a high turnover among colleagues.

3. It can be emotionally draining

Because you have a direct role in the startup's success, you're likely to be more emotionally invested in your job. Should any bad news hit the company, you'll be directly affected. Corporate workplaces have strategies and workarounds in place to insulate the teams from any bad news, but no such protective layers exist at a startup.

Corporate Pros

1. Better structure

Employees of large companies typically have clearly defined roles. They work at a single department, report to a designated manager, and perform very specific tasks. Everything follows a strict schedule, including quotas, reviews, and even paychecks. With things running like clockwork, there's less room for unpredictability.

2. Secure benefits

Large companies almost always have a dedicated human resources department that ensures employees are happy working for the company. Aside from salary, issues concerning taxes, retirement, separation pays, leaves, sick days, compensation, and even insurance can be less cumbersome because HR personnel are trained to handle them. In-house benefits, such as break rooms, cafeterias, free lunches, onsite gym and child care facilities, are also more common in large companies than small ones.

3. Employee development

Large companies are better equipped to invest in employee growth, with multiple administrative departments often collaborating to coach, train, and evaluate employees to expand their knowledge and skill bases and help them take the next step within the company. Many also allow employees to move laterally, which allows them to try different job roles to expand their skillsets or find where they best fit.

4. More Resources

Large companies have far deeper pockets than their fledgling counterparts. This usually means that departments and employees have full access to tools and equipment that make their work easier, from laptops and cell phones, to travel and spending money for meeting with clients, and more. Knowing that you have access to resources necessary to be good at your job can give you the confidence in your ability as an employee.

Corporate Cons

1. It Can Be Difficult to Stand Out

It's quite common for responsibilities to overlap in a corporate setting. With more people working on the same project-some even sharing the same functions-it can be harder to be seen as an individual. You'll have to find ways to distance yourself from the pack to move up in a corporate setting.

2. Career Growth May Be Limited

In large companies, career progression is slow by design. The ladder is a tall one, and there's simply very little room at every step. That said, if you're willing to be patient with countless performance reviews and grow your portfolio of experiences, knowledge and skills at the same time, career advancement is practically inevitable. There are simply more positions in a large company, which means there's always an opportunity for you to get ahead.

3. Red Tape Everywhere

Those seeking flexibility, quick, decisive actions, and a voice in the company can be frustrated by endless rules and red tape. Corporate employees have less autonomy, and it can be harder to get decisions made. Compounding the problem are co-workers who are unafraid to voice their opinion when they feel they're being required to do something isn't their job. Smaller companies generally allow for easier access to decision makers, and employees may find it easier to contribute their ideas.

Decisions, Decisions…

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide whether company size should factor into your career decision. Let this brief look at the pros and cons of working for both a large corporation and small business has helped you chosen the right culture for you.

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