The corporate and startup lifestyle are poles apart and choosing a career between the two can get challenging. One has the perks of a corporate giant and the other offers the freedom of true risk-taking and entrepreneurship. Although after making the choice, many start second-guessing their decision and regret they didn’t opt for the other. It’s as they say, “the grass is always greener on the other side”.
There are a number of latest start-ups in India such as Ola Cabs, Address Health, Zomato, Paytm, Fresh To Home, etc. that had set great examples through their successful start-up journey.
But we’ll try to make that decision a little easier by picking apart the different elements that define the key functions of both these working environments.
Jack of all Trades or Master of One
For the most part of adulthood, individuals gain and refine skills that would provide a suitable career for them. A marketing genius will look after their job and targets, and let the others look after theirs – that’s how corporations work. They rely on individual productivity for collective results. New ventures cannot afford to do that. In a start-up business, you have to be the leader and the team. You are the one who has to come up with the idea and see the implementation through. There is little or no delegation, and that’s the whole point of the startup life!
Work-Space or Paycheck
The most notable point of difference is that for similar roles, the corporate would be able to give more hefty packages but the startup tries to catch up by providing an easy-going and inclusive work culture. In start-up company jobs, there is the constant risk of losing your job if the company doesn’t succeed and has to shut its doors. But you still choose to work for them because you believe in the product or service and in yourself, but more importantly, you have faith in the people working alongside you. Here you get a chance to build a fresh product from scratch. It’s all you, and to see the company succeed, it’ll be worth more than a million (maybe not a million, but you get the idea)!
Team Player or Authority
Large corporations prefer diversifying projects on the basis of roles and teams. For these teams, you need team leaders and that’s what gets a corporate excited. Team leaders are able to monitor the productivity and contribution on an individual level, so as to identify extraordinary talent from day 1 itself. On the other hand, with a startup that’s working out of a small office and has 20-40 employees only doesn’t require that level of monitoring. So, teams in startups are not usually led by one person alone since different people are handling entire projects at once. Corporations are typically for those who can manage stress effectively and can perform while being monitored, but someone who’s better at coordinating and cross-functioning will perform considerably better in a startup environment.
Psychological Bond or Job Responsibility
Keeping in mind that when you start working for a startup, you enter an unwritten mutual consensus with them to carry their vision. You and “them” are now one and if “they” succeed, you succeed (and if they fail, you fail too.) Taking on someone else’s dream and care for it like your own is not easy, no matter how great the work culture is. In a corporate setting, most of your energy goes into ensuring the continued success of an established brand. The responsibility is more or less the same on both sides but the mental commitment is very different since there is more direct exposure with founders in a startup.
Self-Actualization versus Social Status
A person who genuinely cares about what people think of them compared to the kind of work that fulfills their needs, then corporate might be their ideal choice. Doing this doesn’t make you a bad person, but corporations have a system to minimize unnecessary work and risk, so intuition is not very significant. The startup environment requires the person to actually drive the company and its people to make a name for itself. The brand and respect don’t walk in the door simply because you’re working with a particular organization, it must be earned.
In the general startup setup, you’ll love your job, but you never know how long you’ll have it for. When a startup company doesn’t have the money, you could be the next to go. Also, if the organization is smart, they will only keep those around who are adding maximum value. In the case of a corporation, they will almost never fire anyone and if they do the probable cause is either unsatisfactory work or explicit violation of company policies.
“Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.”
– Earl Nightingale