{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "As someone who's currently actively applying I wanted to get some insights on large companies vs startups and what are some of the pros and cons for each and which you prefer. Thanks!", "post_id": "61e75558882dec00387aeb15", "reply_count": 9, "vote_count": 5, "bowl_id": "55375ce690f5eebe1d2a0f88", "bowl_name": "Tech", "feed_type": "crowd" }

As someone who's currently actively applying I wanted to get some insights on large companies vs startups and what are some of the pros and cons for each and which you prefer. Thanks!

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in terms of career, i like the train - subway analogy. working on a big company is like being a train: slower, but on the surface, visible. working for a startup is like the subway: much faster, but underground and not so on the spotlight as the train. regarding work itself, working for a big company is a path to specialization with very clear roles and processes. in startup world, roles are much less defined, with a lot of gaps to be filled by initiative / opportunism and generalists are usually more appreciated as they can take on different stuff as the company’ needs changes (they all inevitably do).

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I think this is the most accurate perspective. I agree that I prefer startups because you get to do lots of things and there's more freedom to grow and experiment

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I’ve worked for both a big global company and a small startup. Startups have a lot of buzz and energy. There’s a lot of enthusiasm and talk about ‘culture’. You have a lot more autonomy in your role, it’s on you to find solutions, etc. There aren’t necessarily ‘experts’ within the company you can go to for training, it’s on you to seek that information elsewhere. All of these things can be great but there is a massive caveat, depending on the founders and the type of startup there might be zero HR and if you find yourself on the wrong side of the founders and no longer a ‘culture fit’, you could be in trouble. Startups can get toxic fast. When I was working at a startup my agreed pay rise was abruptly taken away because one of the buddies of the founder who also worked there, but who I did not report to, felt I didn’t deserve it because I hadn’t been there long enough. It was blatantly illegal, I had written confirmation I was supposed to receive it but they threatened me that they would retaliate if I tried to pursue it. The happy fun culture can evaporate really quickly but it’s good while it lasts. At a big company you’ll likely have more contractual protections that can protect you. I have also really appreciated having direct access to experts in my field to learn from in terms of both technical skills and soft skills, like how manager is supposed to behave. I think a lot of the ‘fake it till you make it’ attitudes of startups can lead to solidifying bad habits that no one ever challenges. Of course, big companies can be slow moving and risk averse with lots of red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy. One day I hope to go back to startups with the experience I have in the corporate environment but I’m going to be much more careful about the dynamics I’m entering into and the HR infrastructure in place.

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I should also add, I’m a woman and I was the only woman in the startup when I joined. 4 of the 7 women who were there while I was there walked out or were fired within a year and half of joining the company. They didn’t suffer this level of attrition with men and women were treated very differently. I’d argue if you’re not demographically similar to the startup you’re joining there can be unique challenges.

I think it kind of depends on where you are in your career. I personally love the energy and dynamic of startups. I feel like it’s a great place to get a lot of experience because the teams are typically smaller so you might have some experiences you wouldn’t otherwise have at larger companies. I think they’re especially helpful if you’re just starting your career because of how well-rounded experience there is.

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I have worked for small companies and startups...the main trade off that comes to mind is lack of financial resources/budgets vs variety and freedom of work. So, you may be free to explore and deep dive in a technology...but it better be free to use in production and don't anticipate staff being assigned to help you along even if it has been eatablished that there is a viable business case for its use.

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I haven't worked at a start-up, but I've worked at several companies that were small (<1000 people when I join). I also worked at large companies (3000+). In my experience, smaller companies are better. There are advantages to working at large companies, including security, slower pace, and opportunities to work with a variety of people, customers, and products. However, they also tend to be very top down (decisions coming from above you) and overly process driven (decisions that should've been an email taking months of meetings). At one large company, I used to joke that the "lawyers and accountants" ran the company, because everything had to be approved by those departments. In smaller companies, there is more opportunity for you to influence strategy, take on more responsibility, and forge your own path. You also aren't bogged down with process. There is a chance to get to know and be known by the company's leadership, which also leads to long term career benefits.

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It depends on what you value more, job security, WLB, salary etc.,

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