Friday, February 1, 2013

Which is Better to Work for? A Big or Small Company?

The short answer: A small company.

The longer, more detailed answer: When I finally left college and looked to get a real job, I got my first job at DISH. You know, the satellite TV company. And not just any DISH office, it was their headquarters, so there were a lot of people there. My team alone was something like thirty people.

So, why did I not like working there? Well, I'll tell you. Just keep in mind that this is one man's experience, and I certainly don't speak for DISH.

1. You need permission to do anything. Want to access the Internet? Get permission. Want to have admin access on your own computer? Get permission. Want to download software that you need in order to even do your job? Get permission. And I'm not talking, "Hey boss man, can I do this?" No, I'm talking a formal request form that you have to wait and hear back from the higher ups. It took me about a month just to be "set up."

2. Cubicles. I didn't know it at the time, but I don't like cubicles. You're closed off from the rest of your team; it's just you and your computer.

3. The more people there are, the less you're going to remember/know people. I'm not a very social person, but I would like to at least remember the names of the people I work with (It's especially hard when everyone you work with has an accent you can barely understand).

4. I had to wear business casual clothes. Now this was more because I was at HQ than it being a large company, but still, I don't like having to wear business...anything.

5. In the three months I was there, I hardly did anything. Now this might not be the standard, but since I was on a contract-to-hire, they had to train me; test me out. I read training materials, manuals, whatever random things I could get my hands on, and did some IT security quizzes. I read stuff until I was bored out of my mind. I would ask now and again if there was anything, anything that they wanted me to do. Once in a while they gave me some menial things to do, but usually they had nothing. Many times I found myself spinning around in my chair. Whenever people asked me what I did at my job, I could only say "I dunno."

After my three months I was told they wouldn't be hiring me. I was a bit disappointed; I mean, hey, it was my first real job, and I didn't want to look for another one. But not long afterwards I was hired by The Library Corporation (Well, CARL, more specifically: a company previously bought by The Learning Company) on a six month contract-to-hire.

1. From day one I had a computer, chair, phone, and full admin privileges and Internet access. I was told what I needed in order to do my work and was set up in one day.

2. No cubicles (For development teams, anyways). My entire team can be seen at once, and all I have to do is speak if I want to talk to any of them.

3. Only about thirty people work in the entire office. I know about two thirds of their names (The other third I rarely have contact with), and while I still know very little about their personal lives, I've at least been able to learn that they're good people to work with.

4. I can wear whatever I want (Within reason, of course)! For someone who regards comfort far above style, this is a definite plus.

5. Within the first three days, I accomplished more than the three months I spent at DISH. They didn't give me pointless training courses that I'd later forget, they just handed me my assignments and I went to work. At TLC we follow a version of the kanban process management, a type of agile programming (I don't even know if DISH had a process management. Never knew of it, at least). In short, I get more work done, more faster (I know that's not proper grammar).

(As of writing this, I am still on my contract, but I'm 92% sure they'll be hiring me)

Again, this has only been MY experience, but if you're asking my opinion, then I'll tell you that going to work for a smaller company is better, at least for someone just starting their career.

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