A debate on Corporate vs Startup jobs isn’t about them. It is about you. Where do you see yourself fitting in more? Where do you see yourself growing more? Learning more? Failing better?

 

I started my career in a few start ups in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, consulting firm, huge corporates, where everything was about process and teams. Did that for 15 years, before jumping over to Out Sourcing for the last 6 years. The concept of “structure” that I learnt at consulting/outsourcing, helped me tremendously as a person, and I feel that I can work and adapt at any work environments.

 

For the last 2 years, I work as an Head of Product role, this time at a small start up. I learnt the power of processes, planning, methodical execution which were carried over from working for Corporate world. And also how playing Head at a “company” (lot can be said) can crush your soul, if you are not that person.

 

So after 6 years, at OutSourcing. Leaving the financial stability, prestige, power that came with working for US company role. The journey wasn’t any easier, but it was enriching. I could see how my 15 years of corporate role had shaped me as a leader.

 

Công ty lớn Start Up
A corporate job is likely to give you financial stability. The probability of the next paycheck is higher.

 

If money is a necessity, then the choice works for you. If salary becomes an addiction, then the choice works against you.

A startup job will throw you into an ocean of ambiguity. Where you will have to navigate most of the journey yourself.

 

If ambiguity doesn’t intimidate you, then the choice works for you. If ambiguity weakens you, then the choice works against you.

A corporate job shows you the power of process and systems. Of planning in advance towards an outcome far out.

 

If you wish to aim and shoot, then the choice works for you. If you to shoot and then check if you hit the aim, then the choice works against you.

A startup job’s flat hierarchy gives you access to the leadership. You witness them up-close.

 

If the comprehension gap between them and you isn’t wide, then the choice works for you. If its wide and you fail to understand most of what they do, then the choice works against you.

A corporate job shows the power of teams. How the microcosm of your work adds up to a collective outcome.

 

If you love to see huge indirect outcome of your work, the choice works for you. If you love to see micro direct outcome of your work, the choice works against you.

A startup job tends to fail fast. Feedback loops are short and you get to see the impact of your work quickly.

 

If you tend to reflect on all of your failures, the choice works for you. If you tend to move on quickly from your failures, the choice works against you.

A corporate job requires you to communicate effectively, in order to convince people to deploy resources.

 

If you believe persuasion is just as important as capability, the choice works for you. If you believe your work should speak for itself, the choice works against you.

A startup job offer a very small probability of a very big life-changing financial outcome.

 

If taking risks comes naturally to you, the choice may work for you. If taking risks isn’t you, the choice may work against you.

A corporate job more often than not comes with brand recognition. You do not have to explain where you work.

 

If the brand adds to your credentials, the choices works for you. If you are doing it for social validation, the choice works against you.

A startup job nurtures you as a generalist. You handle multiple roles at the same time, while learning about them on the job.

 

If you wish to build a generalist profile, the choice works for you. If you wish to specialize, the choice may not work for you.

A corporate job will discuss, debate before taking decisions. The damage of a decision gone bad is far greater.

 

If you love taking decisions by analysis and conversation, the choice works for you. If you love taking decisions by your gut, the choice works against you.

A startup job will offer you professional growth that is thrilling. You will be given a mandate far bigger, far earlier than expected.

 

If you prefer given a role and then growing into it, the choice works for you. If you prefer growing into a role, the choice works against you.

A corporate job will train you adequately for your role. It will offer tools, skills, mentoring and feedback, at every step.

 

If you prefer structured learning, the choice works for you. If you prefer learning via trial and error on the job, the choice works against you.

A startup job will come with transparent communication. You’ll know how the company is doing, how you are doing, more often than you would wish to know.

 

If transparency appeals to you, the choice works for you. If radical candor is hard to digest, the choice works against you.

What a corporate job or a startup job does to you, is a function of who you are at that point of time in life. There is no right or wrong. You define that. For yourself.  Those in a startup job, laughing at those in a corporate job, are laughing at the same people that they themselves will soon become.  Those in a corporate job, laughing at those in a startup job, are laughing at the same people they wish they could have become.

 

You do not become cool laughing at others. You become cool by being yourself!

 

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