Big pond or small pond?

backyard pond

Image by massdistraction via Flickr

As I settle into my new role, the days continue to race by. In a good way.

I suppose I can now, professionally speaking, tick off “taking a career risk” on this list. I took a few risks on this. Trading a degree of job stability, betting that I would thrive in a smaller environment. Swapping some straight financial benefits for not strictly monetary ones. Giving up an amazing team, but thankfully joining a similarly awesome group of colleagues.

It’s funny how quickly you adjust to an entirely new situation. My old position is now being advertised for, and thinking back just a month ago, it feels like a distant dream.

I once asked my (rather wise) mother whether she thought it was better to work at a large corp, or a smaller, more tightly knit company. Which one would you get more out of?  (I am aware these are not the only two career options in existence, but striking out on your own can be a topic for another day.)  Obviously, it depends on your priorities. But I’m talking generalities here, and Mum’s take was that it’s often better to start out in a big organisation and learn all you can, then take your skills somewhere smaller. Be a cog, learn the basics of the business, then go somewhere where you hopefully can make more of a difference, become better-rounded, enjoy more flexibility. Incidentally, that’s exactly the same sentiment echoed in a business advice column I read not long ago.

Where do you fall on the spectrum – and what have your experiences been?


5 thoughts on “Big pond or small pond?

  • Reply addvodka July 5, 2011 at 02:10

    Right now I’m working in a larger organization, but I think I’d fit in better in a smaller one.

    I find that it may have been better for me to be in a smaller one to start out in. In the larger organization there are several different departments for specialized parts of my career path, whereas in a smaller one, one or two people do all of those things. It would have given me exposure to more of the other departments in a smaller organization.

  • Reply lkrant July 5, 2011 at 04:05

    I started my career in a large (Fortune 500) company. It was good training! After five years I left to work for some small and medium sized companies. It gave me opportunities to lead relatively early in my career. I eventually left the corporate world to strike out on my own. I value my training and experience from the large companies and the opportunity to have more impact in a smaller environment.

  • Reply Melissa July 5, 2011 at 06:23

    I’m on a small team in a big corporation–It gives me the best of both worlds. The main reason I do well here is because my direct manager recognizes my need to take initiative and perform a lot of different types of tasks. If I had to choose large versus small, though, I’d go with small. I know that my experience in this company is not the norm–even other departments within my company don’t have the same creative freedom and flexibility that I currently do.

  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair July 5, 2011 at 06:30

    I work for a really small organization and love it. I get along great with all my co-workers and have TONS of flexibility at my job. I think I’m actually a bit spoiled for being so young in the workforce – so many of my other friends are stuck in the 9-5 routine and I can come into work and leave pretty much whenever I want!

    The one crappy thing about being a part of such a small organization is the no benefits thing. Luckily when we get married I can go on Erics!

  • Reply FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com July 6, 2011 at 05:13

    Your mother’s advice is exactly what I did and it’s worked out great for me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *