Working in a Small Startup vs. Big Company

I’ve said it many times and will say it again: it’s a great pleasure to be a part of a startup.

People often ask me how I would compare working in a startup with working in a big company, and which I find more attractive. After having worked in corporations, I’ve discovered that there are much more benefits in startups.

Let me draw some highlight and do a quick summary for you.

When working in a startup

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- Every person is very important

In small companies, the importance of each team member is unquestionable. There are no extras: everyone plays a major role. Everybody’s input is valuable. The outcome depends directly on collaboration within the team and individual contributions.

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- Every employee should be very professional

Startups can be all about trying and inventing new things and processes. Still, every team member needs to be an expert in what he or she does. Learning and improvement are significant parts of being a true professional.

- No chance to pass your job to others

In a startup, every person is well aware of their job and responsibilities. What’s more, everyone is dependable on each other. You cannot simply wait till the job will be done. It is essential to contribute to the process and deliver in a timely manner.

- A friendlier atmosphere

Sometimes, a startup feels more like a family rather than a business entity. You will find yourself being friends with your coworkers, celebrating birthdays and watching movies together. The only difference is, here people are gathered around a common goal.

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- Everybody believes in the idea and founder

It is important to have a team of people who believe in what they are working on. They don’t need to follow the founder blindly, but they should share his or her vision of the company’s products and goals.

When working in a big company

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- Sorry Michael, it’s just business!

It often seems like nobody cares about your real efforts in big corporations. You are just an employee, one of the many, someone who can be easily replaced. Because it’s all just about business and numbers.


- A lot of employees feel (or are) useless

You don’t usually feel your importance in a large company. There are times when you have nothing to do because the development has been put on hold or managers have not defined new tasks yet. Or sometimes, when you come up with a great feature or a new efficient plan, it gets not approved at the end because of some bureaucratic issues.

  • Just routine and standard daily tasks

There is usually too little space for experimentation and improvement in corporations. You simply do your daily tasks, and all your work can be summarized in the number of assignments you did over a certain amount of time. Something new means “something risky” and is not much appreciated when the usual scheme works just fine.

- Micromanaging

There is usually no much space for self-expression or creativity. Your work can be closely supervised and require approval on multiple levels before it finally gets accepted. You don’t get to make decisions, and your initiative is not rewarded as much as following the instructions.

Of course, all of these are my personal observations. I understand that your experience might differ from mine. Big corporations can also have lots of advantages in comparison to startups. Besides, not everybody is tailored for a startup life. Some people prefer the feeling of safety and the solid structure of organizations to the constant change. You should define what works best for you and decide whether you’d like to join a startup or work for a large company.

It’s true that working in a startup brings a bit of uncertainty into one’s life. You never know whether the business will turn out successful or not. However, with a great deal of commitment, willingness to collaborate, awareness, and the constant desire to grow and improve, the future looks nothing but bright.