A Startup or a Big Company: Which Is Right for Your Career?

A Startup or a Big Company Which Is Right for Your Career

Your all-inclusive guide to navigating this decision.

Today, mapping your career path is not as straightforward as going to college and then finding a job at a big company. Startups and corporations are both viable career options, but there are some key differences that you should consider before making your decision.

Working at a startup

In general, working at a startup can be more exciting and fast-paced than working at a big corporation. Startup employees often have a lot of ownership and responsibility for their work, which can be rewarding. Working at a startup often entails wearing multiple hats. That means your experience at a startup might even prepare you to run your own business one day. 

Also, the environment of the workplace tends to be more laid-back, as modern offices boast comfortable spaces, such as game rooms, breakout rooms and the like. According to the co-Founder of Spotlight Parking, an on-demand valet app, Simon-Pierre, “There are less rules [in a startup], but that means there is more room for creative and entrepreneurial spirits to express themselves.”

Working at a startup has a few drawbacks, though. It can be difficult to get a startup off the ground and if it fails, your job disappears with it. According to Failory, 90% of startups fail, so be prepared for the uncertainty that accompanies working at a startup. What’s more? Per Business Development Specialist at Camino Information Services, Sarah McMullin, “Pay isn’t generally as good early on, benefits are limited until there are more employees, and the work life balance can be tenuous.” Also, the work environment is not always as idealistic as startup marketing campaigns make it seem. Plus, many startups don’t offer their employees health insurance or many paid or sick leaves. 

Working at a big corporation

Job security, health insurance and other benefits are the main perks of working at a big corporation. You also gain more responsibility over time and progress up the corporate ladder. Working at a big corporation is often less exciting than working at a startup, but you will probably experience less stress. That way, you will be able to create a healthy work-life balance. You also get to work alongside extremely knowledgeable professionals, making it a noteworthy learning experience.

Most big corporations have “career paths” that they expect you to follow. You might feel like your creativity is stifled or feel left behind if you fail to meet their standards. Also, your career advancement in a big corporation will be very slow. That’s because corporations consider stability to be more important than growth.

Though a startup might be the more exciting choice, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each option before making your decision. Consider what matters to you and which environment can better help you achieve your goals. Are you someone who thrives in a flexible and creative environment or a systematic one? Do you prefer being the jack of all trades or master of one? Depending on your answer, you can figure out which is better for your professional life.

No one can tell you which option is right for your career—only you can make that decision. So, take your time and ask yourself the right questions to figure out which path is best for you. And if you are still confused, speak to people who have experience in both worlds to get their opinion.

Header Image by Freepik


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Alinda Gupta
I am a professional journalist and gourmand with an inexplicable love for caffeine. I admire old architecture and find comfort in fiction books. I am also an A1-level certified French speaker—bonne journée!


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