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I recently came across this post by Fast Company that discussed why you should choose a startup over a corporate job. While I do appreciate the points stated in favour of a startup job and I myself have been associated with many myself, I do believe that there are many positives of working for a corporation. In this blog post, I will try to touch on all things that can make a corporate life satisfying for you.
Here, we will talk about working for large organisations, based on my own personal experiences and that of my friends. You do need to keep in mind that your own personal experience can be very different, depending on the organisational culture, your role at the organisation as well as your own personality. Considering my own experiences, I think it can be beneficial for you to see the key benefits of the company that a startup will find hard to match.
By the end of the day, you should follow your passions and go for a job that you like. In reality, each company is different and you will eventually end up working for a company that might be a startup transitioning into a corporate setup of a corporate organisation venturing into something new, giving you a startup experience. In fact, we owe a lot to startups for disrupting the modern markets. We should also remember that most big companies were startups at one stage.
The reasons below will provide you a counter-argument on why you should opt for a corporate job over startups if you had a choice.
You Will Learn To Create Sustained Profitable Growth
While it is extremely hard to grow a company from nothing to a $10 million profit making machine. Being able to sustain a double-digit growth rate each year can be a very attractive learning experience. Even though there are startups like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter that have been hugely successful, most startups end up failing even if they have strong revenue growth. You can blame skipping some basic business fundamentals to this failure. In well-run large companies, you are taught how to build long lasting businesses. You cannot miss this kind of experience if you want to be a successful leader.
Be Able To Disrupt Competition, As Well As Yourself
In the tech industry, if you are complacent, you have your days numbered. If successful large companies are to remain relevant, they need to not only disrupt and leapfrog competition by doing things better, cheaper, faster and differently, but also disrupt their own selves and the existing revenue streams to ensure continued success. If you want to look at self-disruption, you just need to look at Apple. They incorporated music into the iPhone, disrupting the iPod business. They also introduced the iPad, which could potentially disrupt the Mac business. Working in such a disruptive company will provide you with enormous learning opportunities. However, do try to be a change agent, as it will help you rule better.
Master the Massively Scale-Driven Environment
For many people working in a big company, a major driving force to stay is that when a change advocated by them actually takes place, the ripple effects are usually massive. This feeling of gratification is unlike anything that you can experience in a startup. You potentially have the power to materially change the life of people living in an entirely different country with things that you have been working on for over a year. On the other hand, most startups are never able to offer you the same feeling of achievement, as they do not achieve similar scale and reach.
Power of Influence over Authority
Large companies usually have stakeholders and interests. The most effective people at a large organisation are usually those who prefer using influence over authority, and have a strong hold on how to balance them both. Startups have such complexities at a much smaller scale, paving way for an authority model. Being able to lead with authority is an important life skill but is not as big as being able to lead with influence. Anyone aspiring to be a great leader will have to master the art of leading with authority.
Learn to Maintain Operational Discipline
Even though there are many startups with operational discipline, large companies master this art and boast with the very best operational talent. Having personal strengths in strategic and creative areas, you get to learn much more around how you can effectively operate at scale in a multinational company. The learning also continues to grow much more.
More Fun Innovating at Scale
You might be lucky working for a large organisation that maintains a relatively flat and informal structure, even if it is making billions in revenues. The thought of being able to create revenue through innovation at millions and even billions of dollars just makes the entire innovation prospect a whole lot more mouth-watering. It is this drive and hunger for ultimate gratification that can be the sole driving force for you.
Scaling Innovation is Much More Exciting
Google is perhaps a company that has mastered the culture of bottom-up innovation. When companies are able to drive innovation in every area of business from bottom up then you have managed to create an organisation that is going to be long lasting. This is the only way for innovation to truly scale. One idea will build on top of another, ending up in a collection of innovative ideas creating a long lasting impact on the society. Having the opportunity to work in a structure of bottom up innovation is extremely valuable and something to make you feel blissfully happy.
The Power to Create Your Own Ecosystem
Large companies, especially those operating in the software and IT industry, tend to build ecosystems around them. Working in such a model through a large ecosystem of developers, customers and partners ultimately teaches you how to be tempered and thoughtful in rolling out products. More importantly it teaches you that ‘rolling out’ a product is merely a feature. This ability to be tempered in what you are rolling out and also rolling things out regularly as a feature is one of the most valuable lessons only a large organisation’s ecosystem can teach you.
Finally Be Able To Go Beyond Just a One-Trick Pony
With revenues scaling, the law of large number takes complete effect. It gets much more difficult for you to grow your base when the base gets large. You will have to enter almost near adjacencies to the core business if you wish to continue to aggressively scale. Working in a large company, you learn the valuable skill of focusing on a few things while being able to stay in multiple different businesses at the same time. You do not have to remain a one-trick pony and you can effectively have multiple tricks up your sleeves.
Now by no means do I suggest that if you are working in a startup, there is no future for you. What I want you to understand is that contrary to the recently building perception, corporate jobs can be equally satisfying to you personally. Now let us look at how working for a startup is different from a corporate job:
- Less Time Wastage. Working in a startup, you tend to value time much more and waste much less of it in meetings. It makes you more resourceful.
- Goodbye Processes. While you do tend to miss the people you were working for in a corporate job, you do enjoy the freedom from tedious and sometimes, useless processes. Startups usually are more rebellious and do not follow strict processes
- Little Impression, A lot Imprint. In corporate jobs, you waste too much time worrying about how you will come across in meetings or what will your boss think of you. In a startup, people do not care about what you think of them. What matters to them is the level of impact you can have to the success of the company and how you can be the difference.
- The Little Stuff is ‘Little’ Stuff. At a startup, the little work-related issues are insignificant. You might be unhappy with how small the office. However, such issues do not affect the operations of the startup and they continue to work in the same fashion.
- Addictive Levels of Flexibility. Startups allow you to work at much more flexible hours. This flexibility allows you to be as busy as in a corporate job but even more productive. Allowing your team the flexibility provides them with the authority and ownership needed for them to shine.
So there you have it, my 2 cents on how a corporate life can make you happy. It all comes down to your own preference and if you are passionate about what you are doing then I am sure you will be happy no matter where you work. Do you work in a corporate company? Have you left one for a startup? Share your thoughts and opinions with us. Do also check our blog post on The Basics of Forming a Limited Company.