Should You Take a Job With a Startup or Big Company

Startups invoke images of employees playing foosball during brainstorming meetings, riding through hallways on scooters, and drinking endless PBRs from the kitchen fridge. Whether it’s the truth or not, startup culture has a certain appeal to plenty of job seekers. But when it comes to job security, a run of the mill corporation will most likely offer better benefits and more structure.

There are certainly a number of perks that come with taking a job at a startup, especially if it takes off. If you get in at the ground floor you will be able to rise up the ranks as the company grows. And if the startup succeeds, you will most likely hold a significant stake in the company, which will pay off for the lower salary you will have to take.

However, are these potential pay offs worth the risk of taking a job at a startup? Here are a few things to consider when debating whether to take a job with a startup or a big company.

It’s hard to predict if a startup is viable

Established corporations have a ton of data to fall back on and you can easily research a big company to get a feel for how well it’s doing and it’s trajectory. You will also be able to find reviews from other employees to get an idea of whether or not it’s a good fit for you and if the company has a good future. Startups aren’t so easy to research and you can’t read the minds of the public to know whether or not you are taking a job with the next Facebook or Twitter.

However, if a startup is offering you a job in something you are passionate about, even if it fails, it will be a great way to craft your resume with the skills you want for future job opportunities. But if you’re just thinking of taking the job for the sake of the free lunch and flexible hours, it might not be the best choice. Plus, you might be surprised to find a number of big companies offer these types of “startup perks” such as working from home, flex time, on site gym facilities, and more.

Here are some questions from FastCompany to ask yourself to better determine the potential success of a startup.

Startups require a lot of dedication

Any job you take will require you to work hard if you want to succeed, but at a startup you may be required to do more than you were anticipating. Since startups generally have smaller teams, there aren’t as many people to help out on new projects or to troubleshoot when problems arise. At a startup you might have to go far outside your job description or work late hours since you are a critical part in the company’s potential success. Eric Johnson wrote about his experience at a startup in an article for Forbes, and states that while he gained experience from his four years at a startup, he isn’t sure he’d be able to do it again.

At a big company, you can still go above and beyond, but there are more people to help you get projects done and there will already be structured procedures in place. If you need more structure and a predictable schedule, a big company will probably be able to offer you that more than a startup. But if you’re passionate about what you do, and don’t mind putting in the extra hours and doing whatever it takes to succeed, a startup might be right for you.

Successful startups become large companies

If you take a job with a startup, you will want to see it grow and succeed so you can keep your job. However, the more success a startup finds, the faster it becomes a large company. And with that growth, you will see many of the startup perks start to disintegrate. In the end, you might end up working for the large company initially set out to avoid.

Three out of four startups fail

Taking a job with a startup can be a huge risk, especially considering the startup fail rate is three out of every four, according to the Wall Street Journal. Even 25 to 30 percent of venture backed business fail, according to the National Venture Capital Association. The truth is – behind the free lunches and scooters – successful startups take a lot of hard work and passion from not only the founder, but the employees.

Ultimately, deciding whether or not to work for a startup will depend on your experience and personal goals. For one person, startup culture might be a great fit, while another might thrive better at a big company. The key is to do your research on both avenues and figure out if a startup or a big company suits your career goals best.

Back

What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • I'd recommend Gary Tietz implicitly to anyone currently looking for quality positions in the hospitality industry.
    I'm finally going back to work for a company that I can take pride in being employed with, for a position that I've been truly interested in, and Gary Tietz has been crucial in helping me in this process.  Gary has only tried to place me in positions that would truly be a good fit for me, and only with reputable companies that I would be comfortable in going to work for.  He has been great to work with, and has not only been very responsive and communicative, but has also provided great insight and information for each particular position that I've interviewed for.  I would certainly work with Gary again in the future!
    Thank You!
    James Chisholm
    I'd recommend Gary Tietz implicitly to anyone currently looking for quality positions in the hospitality industry
  • I had a wonderful experience working with Jodi Baer 

    She really took care of me and kept me up to date throughout the process.  I always felt Jodi was available for me and able to assist me.  I would highly recommended her to friends and associates who are in related fields.
    Thank you again,
    Christopher D'Amico
    I had a wonderful experience working with Jodi Baer
  • Frank Rondeau created an Excellent Customer Service Experience!

    On paper the clients and my requirements were not a match.  Frank’s ability to create a match by identifying unrealized commonalities was remarkable.  I recommend working with Frank as a value proposition for all parties.

    Thank you,

    Fred Felton

    Frank Rondeau created an Excellent Customer Service Experience!
  • Thank you Eric Coultoff very much for helping land me a great job!

    After the year of 2020, like so many others, the job that I worked so hard for had come to a halt. I had been looking for a similar job since to no avail. I am very glad I contacted Patrice & Associates for help.  Eric Coultoff really wanted to help find the right job for me. He even helped improve my resume.  He was in constant contact letting me know the process of it all and gave me multiple updates.  Within a week I received an interview and Eric helped me prepare for it.  I am now employed due to that interview and I thank Patrice & Associates, specifically!     Thank you, Michael Fossaceca Thank you Eric Coultoff very much for helping land me a great job!
  • Mr. Piroozmand really cares and took the time to coach me through the process. 

    Hamoon Piroozmand is hands down the best recruiter that I have ever worked with thus far in my career.  Hamoon did a really great job of making sure that the fit was right between the company I got hired with and myself by getting to know me and what I wanted out of the next company.  His passion for his work really shined when I was going through the interview process.  Hamoon was always responsive as well.  I was also interviewing with other companies at the time, outside of the recruiting that Hamoon did, and applied the techniques that I had discussed with Hamoon, I got final offers on all interviews.  I took the offer that Hamoon presented me with, even though the other concepts paid more because I trust the fit.  Overall, Hamoon will ask you to do things that other recruiters will ask you to do, but there was accountability and follow up throughout the whole process and if you're serious about getting the job, follow his plan.  It works!
    Sincerely,
    Kristin Barrett
    Mr. Piroozmand really cares and took the time to coach me through the process.