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One of the most common job search dilemma many “white collar” professionals face is deciding the size of the kind of organization they want to work for. Depending on how you choose to look at it, an argument can easily be made on whether it’s better to work for a small company or a large one.  Without doubts, large companies seem to perform better in terms of employee salaries, pension plans, and budgets. Their organizational hierarchies is also something to applaud. But apart from these, is there something else missing?

Some small companies might actually offer certain benefits and rewards that are rare in large establishments. But does it really make them better? Considering the huge number of variables to mull over, it is not really possible to say that one company is inherently better than the other because of its size. If you’re thinking about moving to either a small or large organization, you would want to ensure that the company’s purpose syncs with your own convictions. And this applies to any establishment regardless of its size.

Besides your preference, you would also want to understand what it looks like to work in the company every day. You need to pay a lot of attention to all these to make your stay at the company is truly rewarding both for you and the institution.

Swimming in the Big Pond

Working in a big company gives you a lot of new doors in your career. In particular, you will have a greater opportunity for specialization as you move up the ladder. This is possible because of the highly complex organized structure present in large institutions which guides their daily operations. Such a setting provides greater stability which enables you to know what to expect from the onset. In other words, your role and duty in the company will be clearly defined which will allow you to advance your skills and become an expert in a your chosen career.

However, you don’t have to worry about getting glued to a single role. Many large companies have room for both upward and sideways growth. So you might see yourself undertaking different roles in the same area as you move up the ladder.
In addition, the most interesting features of the big leagues would be their attractive salaries and robust benefit packages. And unlike small establishments, there’s also a low risk of a large organization failing due to one bad decision made by top management.

However, it’s not all rosy in the big leagues. Since you’re just one fish in the big pond, the likelihood of getting lost in the crowd is high. As a result, you need to market yourself amidst all the politics under your belt.
Well, you shouldn’t expect less when swimming in a big pond since there’s a lot of water and so many fishes around.

Swimming in a small pond

The most appealing highlight of small organizations is their unified work culture. Having a feeling of being part of something great is easier in a smaller place of work where it is easier to measure everyone’s input and capacities. But working in such institutions also exposes you to a lot of exciting opportunities.

However, it’s still important you connect with the people and culture of the workplace to find out if you can blend in before you take up the limp. This is because the level of job satisfaction derived in small companies is greatly influenced by the workplace culture. Once you’re employed, be prepared to take up tasks and assignments beyond your role or job description.
Since there are fewer people in such organizations to pick up the slack, those available are likely to have a lot on their desk (some of which they are not responsible for). So you should expect to be stretched a little when working in such a place than a bigger establishment.

However, many small establishments also give you the opportunity to be more flexible and entrepreneurial. You may be able to customize your career path and integrate your passions with work. More so, decision making in such organizations is more efficient and turnarounds on projects and plans are usually faster. However, due to cost constraints and low-profit margins, the salary compensation and benefits might not be very generous.

Finally, being in a small pond will make you feel like a bigger fish. Your contributions to the company will really matter and this can give you more satisfaction and a greater sense of purpose.

Which pond should you swim?

Like we pointed out earlier, no company is inherently better than the other because of its size. It all depends on discovering what actually works best for you.

Choose a workplace that matches with your personality, work style and life needs in order to get the most out of the job.
As you progress in your career, your preferences and needs might change. The most important thing is to remain in the water.
Finally, do a lot of research on any company you want to join and choose carefully. Remember you’re going to be there for a while, so you don’t want to get hooked out of the water too soon.