Small company or corporation – pros and cons

This post is also available in: French Polish

It is a beautiful, sunny morning. Invigorated by a mug of freshly ground aromatic coffee from an exclusive espresso machine, you sit down at your favourite desk in the open space, knowing full well that this place is not easy to come by, but after all, you ironed your shirt last night on purpose, so as to arrive at the office 15 minutes earlier today and overtake your competitors in the race for the coveted pole position. Luckily, the swivel chair is shaped just the way you like it, so without any additional distractions, you log in to your account, classically starting your day by browsing your e-mail inbox. You open one of the messages, concerning the third quarter data on the use of budgets by individual IT teams, and suddenly, looking into one of the thousands of windows in your company’s office building, you think: “What am I actually doing here? After all, I have never seen the man who writes to me, I have never even heard his voice, and anyway, what do all these numbers mean…”. The cause-and-effect carousel of thoughts ends with a conclusion: “What is the point of all this? “What sense does it actually make? Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life? To be a cog in a huge machine, one of the mass-produced, easily replaceable parts? I can do better than that! I want my actions to have a real impact on future projects!”…

A long introduction, but we bet that the vast majority of you have already experienced the above described moment of doubt in your life. Everything has its benefits and drawbacks and it is hard not to agree with that. What is more, the way we classify individual factors is a subjective matter, conditioned, among others, by our character or life situation. Therefore, below we will not try to unambiguously characterize each of the proposed variables, but only try to collect in one place facts and opinions about working in a small company or corporation, leaving the evaluation to you – our readers. Ready? Here we go!

Facts/opinions about working in a small company:

  1. Working in an intimate team definitely encourages closer bonds between its members, facilitating communication and behavioural freedom and reducing the rigidity of prevailing rules and norms.
  2. A small team promotes multi-tasking and interchangeability of duties.
  3. A wide range of responsibilities is associated with limited repetition of tasks and provides opportunities for faster development.
  4. Information flow and decision-making processes are usually faster and smoother.
  5. The promotion path and salary level, as well as the possibility of a pay rise, may be very limited, as well as possible non-wage bonuses.
  6. Difficult to define/variable stability of employment, related to the preference of most employers for so-called “junk contracts”.
  7. The superior is the “alpha and omega” in widely understood company decision-making.
  8. Identifying oneself with the company does not take much time, is quite easy to assimilate, and it rewards a way of thinking in which we “work for the common good”, giving meaning to the duties we perform.
  9. The frequent lack of a working time frame in the schedule of the day results in an impeded ability to plan the rest of the day.
  10. The requirement for greater mobility and flexibility is an indispensable part of the activities undertaken in the various projects.

Facts/opinions about working in a corporation:

  1. The sense of stability associated with the employment contract as the default mode of employment.
  2. Marginalization of the importance of work and responsibilities.
  3. Strictly defined scope of duties and responsibility for a concrete stage of task completion.
  4. Repetition and similarity of activities performed in the position.
  5. A high hierarchical ladder allowing one to set goals which in turn fuel motivation and the likelihood of promotion and (often substantial) pay rise.
  6. Anonymity within the company’s extensive structures.
  7. Bureaucratic approach to processes.
  8. Strongly structured norms and corporate etiquette, which are difficult to identify with.
  9. Prestige of the CV related to the position of the employer in the employment market.
  10. Pressure related to the “rat race” characteristic of corporations, threatening the early professional burnout popular in these times.

The list of arguments is long and probably could be boldly extended, but, above all, we have to remember that regardless of where we decide to improve and develop our professional competences, we have to set our priorities and answer the question “what will be best for us?”. Each place of employment will have its stronger and weaker points, so the key to success is to choose the kind of company in which our private balance of profits and losses is able to reach the highest possible value.

This post is also available in: French Polish

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