Who Should You Work For after Graduating : Big Corporate or Lean Startup?

Posted on September 06, 2016 by Sarah Price



When you leave university after graduation to find that dream job, the choices and opportunities you may be presented with can be quite daunting. You may be torn between choosing a place with a fun, exciting lean start up organisation and the reliable, steady and (potentially) fringe benefit rich big corporate organisation. In order to assess which type of organisation you might be better suited to, it’s important to ask a few key questions.

Are you comfortable with change?
Start-up organisations by their very nature are dynamic, often fast growing organisations, and constant change is an inevitable ingredient. Your role, responsibilities, co-workers and even the structure of the company itself may change, and change rapidly. If you find change a confronting rather than exciting thing, working for a lean start up may not be for you.

Are you comfortable with diversity?
Many start-ups are founded by people from all ages and all walks of life, who have a great idea. You may find that your boss is older, than you younger than you, and may have a very different background and set of experiences. And while many corporate organisations adopt a diversity policy, it may not be built into their DNA. So if you embrace diversity and see its merits, a startup might be right up your alley

Are you a fair judge of, and comfortable with risk?
Given the statistics on failure rates of start-ups, there is always the chance that your job ( or event the company ) may not be around in 6- 12 months. Conversely, most established organisations will be able to guarantee employment with lengthy contracts. So if you’d the prefer job security, a start-up may not be for you

Do you want fringe benefits? Or are you happy with a base salary?
Many start-ups, by their very nature, are lean. This means you may not get many ( or any fringe benefits) outside of your base salary. So you might need to weigh this up against any possible perks a big corporate organisation may

Are you a workaholic?
While a heavy workload is not the exclusive domain of the start-up, the fast paced, high growth atmosphere of the start-up will mean you will be working hard and no doubt fast.

Can you think on your feet?
The fast paced and constantly changing environment of a start-up will inevitably require you  to think on your feet.  And constantly.

Do you like routine and set working hours or do you prefer more fluidity?
Many start-ups live and breathe flexible hours, some even allowing you to have complete freedom over when and even where you work. This doesn’t mean necessarily 4 day weekends, it can mean wild peaks and troughs of schedules.  If you prefer a more regulated,  “ 9- 5” kind of work chedule, this may not be for you.

At the end of the day, wherever you end up working, you will inevitably be spending a significant amount of time with that company. So make sure there is a fit between your own values and that of the organisation, and that it fits within your life. Don’t try and make your life fit around the organisation.


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