While a startup may seem ideal for those who love creative thinking and flexible hours, what about the ability to move into management positions or structured training?
On the other hand, corporate jobs may seem ideal for those who want a stable path and guaranteed perks; what about the ability to take risks and have initiative?
Consider these next questions to help guide your decision making process and sorting out your own preferences.
What is your final destination?
As a newcomer, you may start with an intern role or other entry-level position, but you probably won’t be too limited from experiencing other business functions since startups tend to have smaller and more dynamic teams. People wear whatever hats they need to to get the job done. It’s a great start if you don’t really know what your career will look like, as you will have a chance to experiment in different positions and gain a multitude of experience.
The position you are hired for is, no shocker, the job you are going to do. If you have a specific position and job you want, it’s fairly simple to map out how to get there through a defined company job hierarchy. This is great for those who are very determined in getting to a specific job and know the path to it. However, keep in mind that workplace hierarchy is a very real thing, and in high-powered industries including but not limited to investment banking, management consulting and software engineering, you may often work late and miss out on personal time for the objective of getting deliverables to your superior.
TAKEAWAY: Think about where you see yourself in 5 years, and if you prefer rapid professional growth or exploring your options fully along the way.
What are your resources and what can you influence?
Your qualifications, education, and skills are all important when applying, but for startups, they might lean more towards your potential and initiative to see your future in the company. If you feel like your best asset is your drive at the moment, startups might be the best place to start. From joining a startup, your resources will shift to being primarily connection and network-based, through developing relationships with your coworkers and with contacts you make through your startup work. In terms of influence, you are very likely to see the effects of your work immediately. This ability to catalyze change and action will give you the opportunity to likely see firsthand the good (or bad) effects your actions have on the company.
If you are ready to go back to school, earn that higher degree, attend additional training, and more, the corporate route might be the way to go. In a corporate company they tend to be stricter on what you already have accomplished since they are trying to fit you into their already set structure and goals. Influence-wise, a psychological barrier that many need to overcome is the idea of feeling like “cog in the machine”; it can be easy to feel like you aren’t being as impactful. Even though you definitely are working, coming to terms with that feeling is important.
TAKEAWAY: Think about what resources and connections you need to get to where you want to be. The promotion structure of startups and corporate can be quite different, how do you want to fit into a company’s bigger picture?
What environment is best for you?
This has been alluded to many times in the previous points, but it boils down to what you thrive in. Even though you may want the startup culture, if you know yourself and know that you need more guidance and set tasks, and are focused on achievement and growth opportunities, it may be better to go corporate. However, if you strongly have a preference, don’t let yourself be bogged down by expectations or limitations of each side. Ultimately, if you form connections with your coworkers, bring a growth mindset, and try your hardest, you can make it in either structure.
TAKEAWAY: Think about your day to day role within the company, do you want to have lots of freedom or are you still hoping for some stability and structure?
So, which way are you leaning? Feel free to let us know below. React with a ? for team startup or a ? for team corporate.