I’ve worked in companies of all sizes, from being employee number 4 in an early stage startup to one of many in a medium-size agency in rapid-growth mode, all the way up to nation-wide organisations with thousands of staff. I loved my time at all of them but I also realised early on in my career what I liked (and didn’t) about each.
Now there’s definitely a strong case to be made for working in a large corporation as opposed to a startup, especially at the start of your career. Job security, holiday and training programmes are just a few of the perks that employees can benefit from, and that’s not even counting the large pool of people to learn from.
But it’s easy to feel like a tiny fish in a huge ocean. It’s very easy to get pigeonholed into your job and work on your little piece, but it can also be extremely difficult to make any changes or implement your ideas, at least not without jumping through hoops of bureaucracy put in place to keep everything running as smoothly and as efficiently as possible.
Sometimes this effort can be a driver for you but for those eager to progress and learn as fast as possible or to make a name for themselves it can be hugely frustrating. The legacy systems in place at these organisations aren’t designed for innovation and that’s one of the reasons why we see the giant corporations of the world rapidly acquiring startups when in theory they could recreate the products in months if not weeks.
For those looking to make a difference, forfeiting their 1% annual pay rise or their company car, and joining a startup is the best step to take. As in a company that literally runs on coffee and hard work you can really take charge and own what you do.
The emergence of co-working spaces like Huckletree or the seven Google Campuses around the world alongside platforms like Product Hunt and Angel List mean that there is an abundance of ways to find new and exciting companies to join with often low experience requirements where your passion, determination and drive can mean just as much as a college degree.
In a job where my role can morph from product design to project management, investment updates, user feedback and much more the reward is being able to see real progress being made every day and there is no better place to touch and learn about every component of a company than one whose competition and survival in a rapidly changing battlefield relies on your ability to do so.
Disclosure: James works as an Ambassador at Google’s Campus London office, however, he was not asked or paid by them to write about or mention them in this piece.
With special thanks to Abadesi Osunsade, Sarah Drinkwater and Vicky Rayson.