Many people are faced with this dilemma either while starting their careers or while looking for better opportunities. The answer depends on personal preference. At first sight, an established company obviously seems like the lucrative pick, which it undeniably is, but while pondering further, it is possible to uncover many benefits that a startup work culture dispenses.
So, it pretty much comes down to where you are in your career and where you would like to see yourself in the near future. Of course, one solid answer does not suffice for an argument like this; so let’s delve deeper and compare the dynamics of the two work environments.
Subject Expert vs Wide Expertise
An established company has a huge workforce and its work is also segmented to fit the various teams the company comprises of. Each team has a particular function to focus on; working in such an environment imbibes deeper knowledge in a specific field.
In contrast, a startup consists of fewer employees. However, the volume of work is equal or sometimes even higher compared to big companies. So, in a startup rather than a focused work culture, they incorporate a collaborative work environment.
So, if you’re looking for a way to cement your career in a particular field, it is advisable to go forward with an established company. But, if you’re looking for all-around development in your career, and to inculcate a versatile work ethic, a startup is more suitable.
Guarantee of Growth vs Uncertain prospects
This is the most basic criterion most people judge by. Considering that 9 out of 10 startups fail, it isn’t difficult to gauge the success rate of startups. On the other hand, established companies have a brand image and also accentuate your CV.
However, it would be faulty to conclude that trusting a startup could lead to uncertain prospects. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Most big brands today, like Facebook, WhatsApp, Uber, started as startups. If you consider the potential of the startup you’d be joining and weigh its prospects wisely, you could be a part of an exciting journey, both for yourself and the startup.
On the flip side, owing to the conventions and protocols of experience and seniority, many employees are stuck in the same job roles in big companies too. So, if you can embrace a tint of uncertainty for a wholesome sense of fulfillment, joining a startup is a no-brainer. If not, then go big!
Set & Structured Procedures vs Opportunity to Experiment
Established companies come with a history. They have set procedures and protocols. There is a hierarchy of authority and also some unwritten rules that you are expected to follow. Though these allow some respite by providing a well-defined scope for you inside the organization, it can feel cluttered because of a lack of free will.
On the other hand, a startup usually has a more flexible work environment. There are no rigid regulations and follow a relatively relaxed way of working. In a startup, there are no set standards, so there is enough freedom to take your approach to do things.
If you’re someone who likes to experiment with things than follow a set convention, startup culture is the way for you. However, if you’re confident in your adaptability skills, there must be no worry about joining a big organization.
Experienced Mentors vs Self-mentoring
As part of the set standards we were speaking about, big organizations have a ‘ladder’ system. You have mentors and managers above you. They give you specialized advice and required guidance. They also monitor and assess you.
In a startup, things are too hectic for everyone to be monitoring someone else. So, in a startup, you’re hired when you’re trusted that you can get the job done of your own volition. Though startups inculcate a collaborative work style, they encourage independence and taking initiative. However, it is not like a startup doesn’t give you any mentorship; it can provide you with a rather tightly knit network as it follows a ‘linear’ system, unlike the big companies.
So, if you can skillfully use your communication and social skills to get mentorship and guidance when needed, a startup is not a bad bet. If not, bet your bucks on the big ones.
Great Packages vs Relatively Tighter Budgets
This is another aspect that is favorable for big companies. Bigger organizations even invest in their employees’ career progress. If you’re a part of a big corporation, you’d get to experience much support educationally, career-wise, and financially also.
Benefits like maternity leave, paternity leave, relocation packages, performance bonuses, and good work-life, balance all complement employment in an established organization. Such offers are a luxury to most startups.
However, it is pertinent to note that, these days startups are also offering such incentives to their employees on some level. So, based on your standard of living and lifestyle factors, do make an informed decision.
Part of the Workforce vs Part of the Legacy
Working with a startup is more likely to give you a sense of fulfillment. The difference in the scale of both work environments plays a huge role in reflecting how your contribution has affected the image of the product in the market or with the customers.
Bigger organizations garner more attention but all that is consumed by the brand and the sense of individual contribution can be easily lost. Also, once you join a company that is already established, your attachment to the organization significantly differs from being part of a startup endeavor right from its inception.
This sense of belonging and purpose are major emotional quotients that keep employees rooted in their startups even in face of all the challenges they face as a newbie in the corporate scene.
To top it all off, there is no such thing as an ‘ideal’ workplace. However, consider all these arguments and choose the closest one you think is ideal for you.