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Over the past 10 years, I have formed opinions on the pros and cons of working at companies and organizations of varying sizes. While there are plenty of guides to the broad qualities of startups or big corporations, I think there is value in capturing these in personal anecdotes. The following is meant to be a reference point for those who are interested in finding a job in the near future. I am undoubtedly a unique person with particular personality, but nevertheless my experience is relatable.
To start, when picking the size of a company, there is on factor that I have found to be the most important: is this company growing, and will its ability to make money continue into the future. This seems obvious, but surprisingly many companies are not growing and their mainstay for making money is often eroding. This is especially true for larger companies, but obviously also true for smaller companies.
Secondly, an important aspect when considering work is whether or not you can see yourself learning. While getting paid exorbitant amounts of money seem fun, and having clout associated to recognizable brands is nice, it all amounts to unbearable boredom if you are not learning. At least for me, this also means I am bound to find other ways to occupy my time, and either decline in my work performance or find something entirely else to do.
Thirdly, make sure you are either getting paid enough to keep you uninterested in looking for another job or considering a offer from another company. When landing on a rate of pay for a job, my largest consideration is whether or not the amount I am being paid will give me confidence that I can stay in one place for at least a year, and possibly two. I have yet to stay in one place for three or more years, so I wont try to lie and say that I would consider otherwise.
With the three points, knowing the chosen company is growing, learning is a constant, and pay is enough to make you take your job seriously, you may wonder what kind of place you should consider. Perhaps its not obvious that the points that I have mentioned above do not write off the options of working at a non-profit, startup, family owned business, or any other businesses that may implicitly be associated to slow growth and limited pay. In fact, the total opposite can be true.
Also to note, I did not mention above that it is important to be passionate about the work you are doing. I can confidently say that if you are passionate about some topics that your work is centered on, you may also be a very boring person. I don’t mean the problems as a whole that your company solve are boring, but it would quite odd if you are excited about spreadsheets, times of day to post on social media, or unending paperwork. There are more important things in life. Seriousness is a necessity, but passion no. If you do get excited by the aforementioned points, I encourage you to read more novels. Particularly pick up some good sci-fi.
One additional point while I am slightly off topic is a very nice to have: a great manager. This is synonymous more with learning than anything. Having a great manager who you like and stands up for what you need, while also keeping an eye on what is necessary for the company is invaluable. The experiences of working under someone who has your back is the difference between wondering whether or not you have job stability and being able to freely explore new ideas.