One Size Doesn't Fit All

Published: Dec 18, 2015

In order to love your job, you have to love ALL of the components of the job, and not JUST the job itself.

highfiveLet me explain: In order for a job to be perfectly suited for you, it has to be perfectly suited in many ways. You have to have a wonderful boss in a wonderful company with the ideal culture for you. Your schedule has to be exactly what you'd like it to be and you have to have the exact amount of work/life balance that you desire. And, your job must be situated in an appropriately sized company as this can also affect your happiness. Many recruiters believe that there is, in fact, a major difference between smaller entrepreneurial companies and larger, more established companies.

This difference cannot be ignored when trying to match a candidate to an open position.
Let's look at small companies first. Many small companies provide opportunities to take on more responsibilities within your job, because there are not as many employees who are qualified to do those tasks. Sometimes you take on projects that you have absolutely no idea how to complete, but because you are smart, you are asked to do them anyway. Small company employees may work longer hours because they are in their start-up and fast-paced phase, which means deadlines are abundant. Small companies may offer lower salaries but may be flexible enough to offer promotions and raises, throughout the year, for excellent performance. Larger companies offer long-term career paths since there are usually plenty of steps between you and the CEO. Navigating the career ladder may be tricky though, because your peers tend to be vying for similar roles. Large companies typically offer generous benefits including healthcare, tuition reimbursement, and flexible, substantial paid time off plans. Some even offer daycare or adoption assistance.

Until recently, large companies also offered a sense of stability and permanence, although these days, the only thing that is permanent is your network. If you want to make the transition from large company experience to a smaller, entrepreneurial company, it's up to you to explain to a recruiter or hiring manager why your big company experience is relevant. Come to the interview armed with details about the relevant accomplishments that you have that can match the pace or the operational details needed by a smaller company. Explain that your big company experience can help the start-up or non-profit grow, because you can teach them how larger, more successful companies accomplish certain processes. If working at a small company is a top priority for you, volunteer for a non-profit organization while you're searching to show that you can handle fast-paced entrepreneurial responsibilities with few resources. This will give you a good taste of what it's really like in comparison to working in a big company. Then you can make a better decision as to which size company you prefer. If you're trying to go in the other direction, from small company to large, you should have an easier time. However, the recruiters will want to hear reasons other than, "I want great benefits" or "I want stability". 

Be prepared to explain why you will not feel stifled when you are only permitted to work on your own specific assignments because everything else is"someone else's job".

Absolutely Abby's Advice: Making the decision on whether to be a big fish in a small bowl or a small fish in a big one is critical to your job satisfaction. No job will be 100% perfect for you. However, if you strive to get as close to perfection as possible, without settling when times seem difficult, you will find happiness even if there are small imperfections along the way. And when you love your job, the imperfections are not nearly as bad as you might have thought they once were.

Blog by "Absolutely" Abby Kohut. See more from Abby on her site:

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