A startup can indeed be an amazing workplace, especially with the euphoria surrounding them, having a high degree of contagion. But, there’s the other side of the coin too. Unique lessons can be learned by future leaders by working for the larger, well established corporate.
So, what to choose? That’s the dilemma most aspiring entrepreneurs’ face.
It all boils down to the classic job search duel between large corporate and a start-up, you must be aware of the basics. While startups are flexible, large companies follow strict hours. You get benefits at large corporate and free food at start-ups (also free concierge services, free travel and best of all – office pets!).
But what we don’t talk about is what’s better for your career in the long run. Give it a thought. As of now, the start-up might offer flexible working hours to you, but does it also offer the ability to move up the ladder, to a senior management position? The perfect place to receive structured job training can be provided by a well – established corporate but if you intend to open up your own business venture in a few years, will you have the much needed creative skills?
Each option comes with benefits and shortcomings. So, if you are still undecided, consider the following to make the best of your career – both in the short and the long run.
Are you still deciding or are you clear about your Dream Career?
Working at a startup, you get a number of roles to play. You will be writing training manuals, managing a team of employees, answering the phone, designing internship flyers (probably) and even interviewing prospective employees (and that’s just the beginning I’ve mentioned!). There will be a small number of people on the team and everyone is expected to pitch in wherever needed. So, if you’re not decided on what you really want in a long term career, this is a great opportunity to learn and test your limits and skills.
Next, we make a move to a big corporate. Here, you need to have a better idea of your talents and what you enjoy doing. You are given a more focused position and don’t need to wear any extra ‘hats’. Overall, these tend to have narrower roles. You manage if you’re a manager. You create reports if you’re a business analyst. In short, if you already know the direction you want to go in or the role you want to take up, this environment can definitely help you grow and hone the skills required for the same. You don’t need to focus on a bunch of additional responsibilities.
What resources are needed by you to reach your goal?
Even after graduating with a specialized degree, you still might not know what you’re doing when you land your first leadership role. At a startup, you might have a boss who doesn’t know much either. Hence, there’s no office mentor and all you can gain is from books and online resources.
At an established corporate, you have a larger number of resources at your disposal. Your bosses will have years of experience tagging along and your co-workers, a wealth of knowledge. There are manuals and guides for everything.
This is where a major difference jumps in – What do you need to succeed, personally? If you wish to take initiative to gain the needed resources, thrive on taking risks and desire to learn from trial and error, you are the kind of a person who reaches eventual career goals without needing the structured resources of a corporate position. On the other hand, if your preference is the readily available vault of experience and knowledge, and need the same to advance to a position expected in a timeframe, a corporate position proves to be more helpful. In the end, everything depends on how you learn and work most effectively.
What is the kind of influence that you crave – and How Quickly?
At the beginning of your career, you’re naïve. Even if you well knowingly enter a company at the bottom, you will soon get frustrated with the lack of influence you’ll have. You won’t have a say in any decision made regarding you or your team. At a startup, you often have more visibility and authority into business decisions.
In general, a lot less influence is characteristic of big corporate offices, compared to a small, budding company. At a startup office, you have much more insight into the inner workings. You also are equipped with the ability to voice your opinion and even have it heard. However, the scene of moving up in terms of position is a lot different. If you have the CEO directly above you, the position never really opens. Hence, you need to expand your roles in different ways and make your path straighter to achieve your eventual career goal.
What sort of an environment will really aid your startup or corporate success?
If we look at the bigger picture, you need to consider a number of factors that are essential to help you work towards your long term and short term goals. Think whether you will do better with a ‘think outside the box’ perspective, which is constantly evolving, or a structured environment, where you have to work towards your goals methodically? Neither is better if we are comparing – it’s is just different. All your choice must depend on is your overall work style, personality, and your unique needs to determine what will be best for you and your career.
Pick up a pen and a paper; jot down your needs, aspirations, goals, and expectations. Balance the pros and cons of a startup against a corporate, in accordance with the same. And finally, make your decision so as to reap maximum benefits and advance towards your goal in the long run! A little brainstorming can help you avoid a career disaster, wasting lots of precious time which will never return.