Sometimes big companies are no fun

I’ve been an intern at a large company for over a year now. I’ve worked both part-time and full-time. I’ve seen the ins-and-outs, no doubt. That’s why I found this article on CollegeHumor so amusing. Going off to work at a big company after school can be sad, lonely and a waste of everyone’s time.

But, just because people don’t notice you doesn’t mean your time spent can’t be rewarding.

Learn to prioritize

Sure, I may see my boss once or twice a day if I’m lucky (with a sum total of 4 minutes spent together). But, that gives me the freedom to get things done on my own schedule. If you don’t know how to prioritize and organize your time this is a great place to learn. If you screw up a little, heck, there’s always tomorrow. Even better, people might not even notice.

Work on meeting people

It may seem lonely in the fifth row, fourth cubicle on the right. In fact, it is. That’s why I make it a point to get up and go talk to a co-worker once an hour or so. No, nobody walks over to my desk and that’s fine. Many times in life you have to get up and take initiative yourself. Or, yes, you can sit there and shoot off emails and chat online with friends from college talking about how your job sucks.

Small companies aren’t any better

Have you tried working in an office of 4 people? It’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. Sure, it sounds entrepreneurial and dynamic but I’d argue it can be much worse than any big boring company you go work for.

  • You have to do everything – If you’re not the boss you’re going to end up doing a little bit of everyone’s job. This means less time focusing on what you like or what you want to learn.
  • You mess up and everyone notices – If there are only a handful of you and you make a mistake it doesn’t take much of a ripple to affect everyone else. Sure, you learn responsibility and more organization (maybe) but you also loose some flexibility.
  • You might make less – Sure, you don’t need much money to “get by” but if I have to work harder and later at a small company for the same pay as my friends working 9:17-4:45 two things happen. I have less time to spend that money and I am making less for each hour or unit of work I put in.

So both suck?

I’m not saying working at a small company can’t be rewarding. I think we’ve all heard the argument that startups are fun, small companies allow flexibility, etc. My point is you could easily be upset no matter where you work. You have to take the time to find the right fit for you.

Having just graduated I feel like I’ve made the perfect choice. In fact, I can’t think of a job I’d much rather have. I recommend getting out into the “real world” through internships, summer jobs, and post-undergrad jobs to find what you like as soon as possible. The sooner the better, right?