Why you should work for small companies?


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Why you should work for small companies?

Postby iim_2010 » Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:01 pm

Current economic situation notwithstanding, there is still an overabundance of choice available to a qualified professional today when it comes to finding a job. A search on Naukri / Monster will 'throw up' thousands of results on your query. But can the same be said to be true of a career? Is it easy to find a satisfying, long-term career that easily? If anything, the plethora of choice only worsens the matter. After a candidate has decided the sector and the domain of his/her career, which by itself is a bewildering task, the more difficult question arises – which company? Should I choose a large MNC with a well-established brand name, or a smaller, friendly workplace that offers a lot of excitement? As you can guess from the title, I’m in favor of the later breed of employers. Let’s go over the reasons one by one...

1. Maintain your identity – In a large corporate setup of several thousand employees, it is but natural to feel 'lost' or inconsequential for an employee, especially if he/she is just starting a career. Your special talents, aspirations, needs may go unnoticed. For example, no matter how much you love experimenting with the new technologies, you may find yourself delving into obscure mainframe code for several months. On the other hand, in a smaller environment your capabilities are quickly recognized, appreciated and put to use. To some extent, your role can easily be tailored to suit you, rather than the other way around. However, the small company has to be 'big-enough' to provide you this choice. Choose a company where at least 5 projects are going on, preferably on different technologies or domains / client-verticals.

2. Faster growth – Small companies often bag new orders and achieve revenue growth at much faster rate than larger companies in a similar business. That’s a fact. If one looks at the revenue / profit growth of any company that’s a large conglomerate now, unmistakably, one would observe that the growth was the steepest during its youth. Naturally, this growth translates into faster career advancement of their employees. As the scope and volume of business activities widens, an employee soon finds himself managing more complex tasks and/or handling bigger teams and responsibilities. For example, a software engineer may soon find himself/herself managing a customer implementation, which in a large corporate, is a bastion of senior implementation managers. Similarly, a test engineer may soon become a QA Lead and handle a team of several test engineers. But what happens when things are not hunky-dory? With the newspapers being inundated with bad news about the US economy and the job market, would joining a small company really be an advisable move? While it’s true that smaller companies are more vulnerable to an economic downturn, people often have an excessive, unwarranted fear in their minds about smaller companies and lesser job security that they allegedly offer. Firstly, in today’s world, the notion of job security sounds really antiquated. A large corporate is as likely to lay people off, as is its smaller counterpart. It is foolish for an underperformer to expect to be on the payrolls for long. Secondly, barring the US /EU markets, the world growth rate isn't too bad. If you choose a company that has a well-diversified customer base, you have nothing to fear about.

3. Better pay – It’s a proven and well-established fact that smaller companies generate more business per employee, which again translates into a better pay package. Your actions have greater impact on the organization’s business and the feeling is very encouraging. The extra reward comes with higher responsibility and tougher challenges. But why not take up the proverbial thorny road? Sure the ride is going to be bumpy, but in the end you’d have learnt and achieved a lot more. However, not all small companies may be in a position to be the pay-masters due to several reasons. In some cases, such companies offer stock options to their employees, whereby the employees get a part of the ownership (stock) of the company every month. In this case, in my humble opinion, the candidate should seriously consider such opportunity. Companies like Microsoft, Google, AOL and our own Infosys have a history of making several millionaire-employees thorough their ESOP plans.

4. Be an all rounder – Open your mind to the multifarious activities that go on in your organization... outside your small desk/ cubicle. While in large MNCs, there are designated departments (or compartments?) handling a single kind of business activity, in smaller companies you can get the taste of everything. It's not uncommon to find a senior developer communicating to a client's representative, or installing a database server, thus getting an all around perspective of the organization's business.

5. Good company – It's a myth that the best talent is found only in the top companies of the world. Due to higher business per employee, small companies are extra-careful when it comes to hiring, and have a meticulous recruitment process. While a large corporate may simply schedule a walk-in event and hire thousands, many of the smaller companies focus more on their home-grown talent acquisition methods and hire only the truly knowledgeable folks. What it means for the employee is the company of skilled colleagues and an enjoyable, vibrant workplace. If the organization has an open work culture, which often is the case with small organizations, it gets even better. An employee, regardless of his /her level of experience can freely interact and be mentored by the top-brass. Thus, in the company of skilled individuals and under the guidance of experienced, highly qualified supervisors, your career is bound to soar.

Why you should work for smaller companies?

Postby admin » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:24 pm

For each of the points mentioned above, there can be equally strong counter viewpoint (Newton's law?). At some work places, the employee may get a bit too much individual attention, and there's a thin line between invasion of privacy and friendliness at workplace. Unprofessional requests such as "If you are not doing anything this weekend, could you come to the office and take care of ... ?" may not be uncommon.

Growth may be fast, but is likely to get capped at a certain stage. And, the smaller the company the sooner this is likely to happen. The point about the 'pay' depends on each individual case and perceptions.

Being an 'all-rounder' can also be labeled as being a jack-of-all, especially in the job marketplace where very specific skills are sought. Job descriptions can get very vague and poorly defined. This certainly gives rise to misconceptions and affects work satisfaction.

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