Startup or Corporate: Which is Better for Your Career?


When it comes to the classic job-search duel between startup and corporate, you probably know the basics of each type of workplace: Large companies have set hours, but startups are more flexible. Large companies offer benefits; startups offer free food . (And free travel. And free concierge services. And office pets .)

But what’s not talked about quite as often is whether a startup or corporate job is better for your career in the long run. Think about it: A startup may provide more flexible hours now, but will it give you the ability to move up into a senior management position in the future? A corporate job may be the perfect place to get structured on-the-job training, but will it give you the creative thinking skills you need to open your own business in a few years?

After working in both environments, I’ve been exposed to the benefits and shortcomings of each option. So, if you’re undecided about which path to take, consider these questions to help you make the most of your career—both now and in the future.

Do You Know What Your Dream Career Would Be, or Are You Still Deciding?

When I worked at a startup, I had a lot of roles: I managed a team of employees, wrote training manuals, designed internship flyers, answered the phone, and interviewed prospective employees (and that’s only the beginning!). We only had a few people on the team, and we were all expected to pitch in wherever needed. And at the time, that was great—because I had no idea what I really wanted in a long-term career.

When I made the move into a corporate position, I had a better idea of my talents and the things I enjoyed doing—and so, I was able to take a more focused position, without having to wear all those other “hats.”

Overall, corporate positions tend to have narrower roles: If you’re a manager, you manage. If you’re a business analyst, you create reports. And so, if you already know the role you want or the direction you want to go in, this type of environment can really help you grow and hone those skills—without having to focus on a bunch of other responsibilities.

Read On….

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