At a glance, the allure of the start-up has to be its flexibility. If you’re hungry for variety, hours to suit your lifestyle and the thrill of an environment that must consistently adapt and innovate to survive, then it sounds like a no-brainer.
But is the corporate world, with its set hours, structure and benefits, so easy to dismiss?
If you want to feel the impact of your work in the marketplace, consider the effects of innovating for a company that has the resources to support it at scale. The ripple effects could be life - and world - changing. Another advantage of larger corporate environments - with a dedicated operations team - is that you won’t have to wear so many ‘hats’ to keep the business afloat – allowing you to focus and hone your area of interest - learning from mentors inside the business, embracing tried and tested methods and, often, benefitting from training schemes.
But for those with an eye on the C-suite, moving up the ranks in the corporate world could take time or become a source of frustration – in some cases, the role you’re shooting for may never open up. You might be forced to expand in other ways to satisfy your ambition, making it a winding path to your ultimate career goal.
There’s no doubt that start-ups present an empowering place to be for people at all stages in their working life. As part of a small team - the members of which are likely to have differing but complementary skillsets - not only could you find yourself leading the charge in your strong suit, but your every move – whether good or bad – will have instant, visible results and offer feedback that you can use to make changes quickly.
Knowing that the entire company is relying on the work you do is not for everyone. For those willing to run with that baton at a pace, the real-world lessons can develop creative thinking, agility and business skills that might otherwise have taken years to progress.
How you want to learn and grow, as an individual, is a big factor in the decision-making here. A corporate job may offer generous pay but will it give you the flexibility to start a side-hustle or get that Master’s degree like you always imagined? While a start-up may offer other rewards in skills acquired, is that incentive enough to beat a structured on-the-job training, proven to boost your value in the job market?
Ultimately, whether it’s labeled ‘start-up’ or ‘corporation’, you work for a company. And your experience will be dictated by the culture, vision and structure of the organization.
What you ultimately decide will be governed by where you best see yourself fitting in… with the established big hitters or the new movers and shakers.
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