Startups are exciting, but some established companies offer serious perks. Which company culture is right for you? Find out by examining these pros and cons.
Whether you’ve searched online or have gotten into long discussions in your personal network, you know that deciding what kind of workplace is right for you is a big decision.
But why? The truth is that there are no easy answers. Whether you’re attracted to a big, established company or a scrappy startup, there are positives and negatives linked to both options.
To figure out which company culture is best for you, we first have to look at the strengths and weaknesses of working for both a big corporation or a new startup.
In one corner we have big corporations such as Google, the hulking gorillas of techtopia offering free food, massages and yoga classes. In the opposite corner are the cocky and insufferable startups, filled with bright-eyed founders and enough passion to fuel a space launch to Mars.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Begin!
Working for a big corporation
Let’s start with why you should work at established, big corporations. It’s tempting to say, “Because duh! Name recognition is everything!” but that won’t do right now.
You need more concrete answers and a solid foundation for what will possibly add up to the better part of your career. Let’s look at Google as one of the best examples of a successful and desirable big corporation. Here’s three of the best reasons people who work at Google swear it’s the best place to work on earth.
- Career growth. Because the company is so huge, the potential for career growth is massive. But that’s not all: developing your career is a breeze with all the resources available to Googlers.
- Perks! These include free food, laundry services, yoga classes, etc. In fact, the perks are so numerous, once you start working at the Googleplex, you’ll wonder how you ever survived at another company.
- Bragging rights. Once you work at Google, getting into any other company after that becomes easier. It’s all about your network — and the name on your resume.
But… there’s a dark side to working at Google. Yes, really. Here are three reasons to reconsider your your Googleplex dreams:
- Competition. Too many gifted people working side by side makes for an insane competitive environment. You may be gifted and focused, but so is everyone else you’ll work with. It’s like competing in the company-sponsored genius olympics.
- Redundancy. Ever wondered what all those genius guys at Google are doing? Some of them are doing some pretty lame and routine jobs despite all their talent. That’s the problem with a company that has a culture of hiring only the most gifted for all their positions.
- Preference toward engineers. If you aren’t a gifted engineer, then Google may not be the place for you. Built on a culture of engineering excellence, it’s harder for other skills to get noticed or celebrated.
Working for a startup
But enough about the Big G. Let’s talk a bit about the ubiquitous startup. Sexy as hell and constantly in the news, working at a beta startup is all the rage. Let’s look at the good, the bad and the ugly of working at a startup.
First the good:
- Clout. As one of the first employees, you get to interact with everyone and have your voice heard. You’ll feel like you are truly an integral part of the team.
- Stock options. Since most startups hardly have enough money to pay market rate salaries, you may be offered stock options to work at the company. If it’s the next Facebook in the works, you may end up a millionaire in a very short time.
- Meaningful work. As an essential part of the team, you’ll be immersing yourself in some of the most meaningful and rewarding work you’ve ever done.
Then the bad and downright ugly:
- Uncertainty. The startup may run out of money. Whether it’s private funding or debt, sources may abandon ship and leave the startup high and dry. On the other hand, the company could run out customers. If the market for the product or services proves insufficient to keep the company growing, your job will hit a dead end.
- No perks. That’s right, no free food, no fancy classes pr services. Many startups can only afford the basic stuff you need to get the job done.
- Sketchy leadership. A startup runs on the goodwill and leadership of the founders, not a board of directors and an entire seasoned C-suite. Any poor decisions they make could hurt the entire company, including you.
The important thing to ask yourself is what you want from your workplace. (Click here to tweet this advice.) Are you looking for stability and long-term career growth? That big company with the perks is a better option. Looking for excitement and the chance to be a part of something that could be awesome? Then you’re a startup person. Either way, whatever side of coin you choose, you’ll have to be comfortable with both the pros and cons.
Sara Lewis was born and bred in Columbus, Ohio and received her BA from OSU. In her free time she volunteers as a career counselor and love baking (and eating) chocolate brownies.