Size Matters: How to Decide Between a Large Corporation and a Startup (Or anything in between)

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“A low-angle shot of several skyscrapers in a city” by Sean Pollock on Unsplash

hen choosing a company to work for, you have to consider multiple factors. A job, similar to an intimate relationship, has to fulfill your needs in order for you to obtain satisfaction within the workplace. Though some factors may rank higher in priority than others, collectively all factors are extremely important in regards to your overall quality of life.

Think about it this way: There are 168 hours in a week. A traditional 9–5 work schedule translates to 40 hours per week, meaning that 25% of our your time is spent at work each week. For other professions, such as those who are Doctors or Lawyers, that number could be significantly higher, reaching closer to 80+ hours per week which translates to about 50% of your time each week.

Given these numbers, I think it’s safe to say (and most people would agree) that our happiness at work heavily influences our general level of happiness.

So, how do you decide on a company that will align with the kind of schedule that you’re looking for?

First, you have to realize that certain professions don’t necessarily run on a fixed schedule every day. If you’re a freelancer, then you’re most likely working through the night and on the weekends. Or take Startups for example, employees typically have to wear many hats in their roles and take on a bit more of a workload than those who are in a larger-sized company.

Second, understand that it’s always difficult to decide on exactly which job you should take because you’re essentially committing yourself to one company and you don’t want to waste yours or your company’s precious time with getting trained, learning the business, etc. if you’re going to end up leaving anyways.

The way that I’d answer this is by focusing on one particular factor to make your life easier. And the factor that I would go with is company size (because size matters).

From personal experience, I’ve always put more weight on the pride and prestige aspect as a deciding factor. Even looking back to when I was choosing which University I should go to, I already knew that I wanted to attend a large University with a strong reputation — a University that was well-known amongst the general public. Ultimately, I received my Bachelor of Science degree from a University which graduated over 12,000 undergraduate students in my graduating class.

Similarly, as I was applying to jobs post-grad, I sought to apply to large, well-established corporations who were known for their openness towards hiring recent graduates such as my wide-eyed self.

After working at two large corporations for the past several years, I took a leap of faith in the opposite direction and landed a job at a Startup company.

I had no idea what to expect. I read countless numbers of success stories as well as and failure stories about Startups. I asked for advice from friends and colleagues, but ultimately, I knew I had to go through the experience for myself in order to fully get the gist of it.

Having only been with my current company for a few months, I naturally compared certain aspects against my past companies. But at the end of the day, I realized, it isn’t apples to apples.

Every experience is different and every company culture is different. Instead of looking from the outside-in, I’d say that it’s a much more effective to look from the inside-out and understand exactly what kind of environment you want to be in, what you want out of a company, and what you have to offer a company. If it comes down to it, take out your yellow legal pad and write out that handy list of pros and cons and ask yourself these questions:

  • Does reputation matter to you?
  • Does social culture matter to you?
  • Do work-related extracurricular activities matter to you?
  • What kind of company structure are you looking for?
  • Would you rather work in a close-knit space with less employees or a larger space amongst hundreds or thousands of employees?
  • Do you enjoy handling multiple responsibilities as opposed to focusing on one specific trade?
  • Are you interested in seeing a company being built from the ground up?
  • Do you mind working late hours?
  • To what degree do you separate work life from your personal life?

Like any big life decision, choosing your career is something that many of us do not take lightly. Try to ask yourselves these questions and be honest with yourself when answering them so that you are clear with knowing exactly what you want.

Because life is too short to not go after the things that we want.

*This article was originally published by Lindsey Lazarte on LinkedIn

Written by

Part-time Writer & Full-time Digital Advertising Expert in Queens, New York. Avid runner & Plant Mom. I write about writing and life.

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