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Over 20 years in the workforce, here's my notions from working for:

3 big-corps (over 30,000 employees each)

- Huge well organized career ladder

- lots of corporate resources for growing a career

- more possible to change jobs without changing companies, usually through changes in divisions

- good places to move up title-wise between smaller companies

- work tends to be more specialized, you'll end up doing really only one kind of work and if you want to do something else you need to change jobs internally

- less flexibility and personal touches

- benefits are usually pretty good

- you will be not much more than a number to the higher organizational units in the company

- can get you positioned to work on hugely impactful work that will affect millions of people

- time to impact can be very long...

- tend to be very bottom-line focused and conservative

- lots of processes and procedures

- as a performer, lower stress, as you move up management ranks gets medium stressed

- may be a dozen or more layers between the lowest employee and the CEO

- hiring and recruiting is a well oiled machine

- these companies decide where they want to be and simply put muscle behind to make it happen

1 med-corp (< 2,000 employees)

- definitely some aspects of working for a big-corp, mostly bureaucratic nonsense

- they're trying really hard to become a big-co so more flexibility and risk taking is possible

- jobs tend to be less specialized in some cases

- less opportunity to move around, but you'll also find that these are the places with 20+ year employees

- tend to have better benefits in order to attract talent from big-co, but can't always match on pay (often in denial about the state of the market)

- feels like several small-corps (~100) in practice due to divisional structure, even the lowest employee is only 5-6 steps from the CEO

- most tasks are 1-5 people deep, so if one person isn't good, they can usually scrounge up another person who can take it on

- recruiting is functional, but thin

- growth desires can sometimes get in the way of sustaining operations

1 small-corp (~100)

- I didn't actually have a good experience at this place, so I may be colored by it

- there's often more people available to take on specialized tasks, but still lots of multi-hat wearing

- most tasks are 1 person deep, so if they aren't good, the entire company feels it and grinds to a halt

- very easy to get overwhelmed picking up slack for less capable staff

- everybody knows everybody

- organizational "feel" will be deeply linked to the personality of the C-level execs, they'll know you by name and have a reputation for you in their mind

- a good size to put behind one major product push, or 5-6 small ones, but might be too few people to handle

- are often in the middle of huge growth which means everything is in chaos

6 tiny-cos (<20 staff)

- imagine every kind of job there is, welcome to doing all of them, often at once

- in terms of professional capacity, I grew the most in these kind of companies (while career titles grew the most in big-corps)

- if you have a good team, can be extremely rewarding

- better than 90% chance that things will go bust and you'll experience hours and stress unlike anything you can imagine

- everybody is customer support and sales

- absolutely no room not to pull your own weight

- company direction is dictated almost entirely by the capabilities of just a handful of core people...who may not even be the C-levels or founders

- work should be very focused on getting an MVP out the door and getting initial customers, then moving up to the next size

- often are getting ready to grow very fast which can be very tough

- everything is always in chaos, but you have huge impact on the company almost every day

- I love working in these places, but can't do them back to back, the stress is crippling




>feels like several small-corps (~100) in practice due to divisional structure, even the lowest employee is only 5-6 steps from the CEO.

I worked for a med-corp (~3000 people) that was like this because they had spent 10 years growing by acquiring other companies, but had done a poor job of really integrating all these disparate products/teams.

One of the best parts of that job was that every org was very different. Some were legacy products that ran on maintenance revenue and technical support. Others were fast paced and were focused on the product/engineering team improving the product. Some orgs had "hero" culture where people would rather put out a fire than prevent it.

I met lots of different people, got to see and work with a lot of different perspectives, and learned a lot. As you said, there were plenty of great people with 10+ years of experience who were 10X multipliers on my own education.

The company eventually paid for their inability to integrate these products and teams by getting acquired by a private equity firm. It was fun while it lasted!


for career ladders at diff companies, its pretty cool to look at http://levels.fyi




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