Startups or Bigger companies : How to decide?
Whether to join a startup or bigger companies is a dilemma that circles the mind of every working professional, some time or the other. It is one of the most difficult and important decisions we take as young professionals.
Although, before drawing any conclusions, the question you need to ask first is–What is it that you want from a company and your career? Only then can you decide whether a startup or a big corporation can be fulfilling for you in the long run.
This article draws comparisons around the ‘ startups or bigger companies ‘ question.
The Learning Curve
As a young professional in your 20s or 30s, you may be looking for more learning opportunities.
In big companies, your learning is structured. Not you, but your managers mostly decide what needs to be learned and at what time. The process is slow and dependent.
Whereas, in a startup, not only do you get to choose what you can learn, every new skill you bring to the table, regardless of your role, is appreciated. The learning curve is steeper in a startup. You can learn a lot more in less time as compared to a bigger corporation.
Problems to solve
If you are a ‘problem-solver’ by nature, you will thrive in a startup. Every problem that comes in your hands is your responsibility. You will surely get help. But, people won’t solve it for you. This makes you learn a lot more than you can expect in a big corporation.
In a bigger company, there are specialists always ready to help you deal with things. In most cases, problems that require you to commit beyond your skill-set are often not assigned to you. So, the chances of you pushing your caliber is lost. Although, you can always rely on someone for guidance, which helps you prevent blunders at work.
Being supervised at work has its own pros and cons. In most startups, you get to be your own boss. Even while you report to someone, your work is your own worry. People will tell you what to do, the whole process around it is your problem, which is a great learning opportunity.
In bigger companies, if you commit any mistake, you can go to the managers and get their help. They are an intermediate layer between you and higher authorities. So, you mostly don’t face any immediate actions for your errors.
Although, in a startup, your errors are clearly visible. And no one else, but you have to correct them.
Keeping up with changes
Being in a startup means keeping up with many product and business changes every now and then. You might have just written the code for the new home webpage for the company website from scratch, and a new design might have shown up the next day. Work is dynamic and requires inputs almost all the time.
In a bigger company, you mostly know what’s coming next. A big corporation has all its product and business models in place. So, everything is structured and well documented.
Most people tend to join bigger organizations because of the ‘brand image’ these companies bring to their profile. Big corporations set criteria for particular job roles. When you are looking for a job switch and the company on your profile is well-known, it tends to generate more reliability and trust.
Compensations are better at bigger companies, no doubt. With your in-hand salary, you get a lot of other perks including bonuses, insurance, hard cash, etc.
People often tend to compare these with equity they get within the startups. It is not a valid comparison. The ESOPs (employee stock ownership plan) that you might receive in a startup has a particular vesting period. They might make a difference to you only if you stay longer and the company’s value grows while you stay.
Although, hikes are faster in a startup. Your promotions are not based on the amount of time you have spent with the company, but on your performance and need.
Choice of work
In bigger organizations, tasks are assigned to you by your managers. You cannot choose the kind of work you want or the kind of people you wish to work with.
In startups, you have the liberty to choose what and how you want to work. You are not restricted to your designation.
Your feedback might not be even noticed in a bigger company, but you will see it making a difference in a startup instantly if it is valuable.
A big company has a hierarchy. What you think of the product cannot reach the product managers instantly. The decision makers are right at the top, and you can’t mostly interact with them regarding your feedbacks.
Working in a startup can be stressful and exhausting. When you have more responsibilities, you tend to work harder. Some startups might expect you to work beyond office hours, or even on weekends. Although, this might not hold true for most startups.
In bigger companies, things are more at rest. You mostly have all your weekends to yourself. Once you leave the office, you can go around doing things the way you want to. Work-life balance might be better in bigger companies.
Some corporates require you to work, dress, and behave a certain way. This is not the case with startups. The environment in startups tends to be more flexible. Be it timings, dress-up, or conduct, you are free to be who you are.
You can also try and experiment with other roles apart from yours. There are no boundaries to the things you can do in a startup.
Recognition & Motivation
A startup has less number of people, so recognition comes in more clearly. You also see the real-time effects of your work, that imparts motivation to work.
Although, in a bigger organization, there is no way for you to know the direct impact your work is creating, especially as a beginner. It can be discouraging sometimes.
Ultimately, startups or bigger companies are good for you depends largely on your needs and preferences.