Local vs. National: Making The Best Career Choice For Your Needs

The Shop Local movement has become popular throughout the country, with more people choosing to patronize their local farmer’s market, Mom and Pop restaurants, and one-of-a-kind boutiques. Consumers like supporting local industries because it keeps revenue in their community, and often means higher-quality products and services. However, when it comes to working for an organization, which is better: Local or Corporate?

As someone who has worked for both local and national organizations, I can tell you that both have advantages, and both have drawbacks. There will always be variations by organization, and where you will find the greatest satisfaction depends on what you’re looking for. Here are what I feel are some of the benefits and negative aspects about national and local organizations.

When you work for a national or international organization, you will probably run into more people who have heard of your company. This is good for name recognition because you can talk to people from almost anywhere and chances are good that they know who you are talking about. However, depending on the organization, you might find that while more people know OF your company, not as many know ABOUT your company. Even though fewer people will have heard of your local group, the people who have heard about you will know more details about who you are and what you do. In fact, they may even know other people who work at your company, or they know where your office is. They will have a deeper, more personal connection to your organization because of their greater familiarity with the company. This is why people are more likely to trust a local organization rather than a national or international company.

If you like to travel, working for a national or international group may be for you. Depending on the position, you may be expected to attend trainings, conferences, or conventions around the country or the world. But, if you like to stay home, a local organization is probably is better fit for you. Especially if you have a family, being home on a regular basis may be important to you, and you may not want to be gone for half to three-quarters of the month.

National and international industries usually have more resources, and often if one branch office fails, it will not mean the end of the organization as a whole. However, some organizations tend to be more volatile because of their dependence on the national or international economy. You may have a safeguard against market fluctuations at the right local company because they may not be hit as hard by downturns in the economy. National organizations also have a higher tendency to “cycle” employees in and out of the company, and turnover is usually higher because there is a lack of personal relationships between management and employees. If job security is a priority for you, you might prefer a local organization where turnover is lower and you have better relationships with your superiors. Staying local means that you probably have a greater vested interest in contributing to the success of your organization, and you will receive more recognition for your successes. Furthermore, job positions at local companies usually will have you perform a wider variety of tasks, which will aid in your professional development by making you more well-rounded.

National and international organizations may offer more job opportunities, and if you move around a lot, this may be advantageous because it gives you more options. This offers no guarantees, however, as there will be more competition for job openings, and you might get lost in the shuffle. There is greater diversity, which is great for appreciating and understanding other cultures and regions. On the other hand, this can also lead to challenges in communication. National organizations tend to offer better benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans, but going back to job security, these don’t matter if you aren’t able to keep your job. In this case, you are better off with a more stable local job that allows you to purchase your own insurance and plan for your own retirement.

These are not hard-and-fast rules. Every organization is different, and there are always exceptions. Your goals are a crucial factor that will determine which company is best for you. The important thing is that you find an organization that you can trust and make your decision based on your career needs and wants.

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