Start up vs. Corporate

Or is the grass greener on the other side?

Whether you work in a start-up or in a corporate environment, you have gotten a glimpse of the other side. May it be that one friend you met for a fancy Dinner or the other one who invited you to a table football tournament in their office. You think they showed you greener grass on the other side.

Especially in stressful times or when bad decisions affect you, it´s easy to think that everything is shit and you would be so much happier in the other environment.

Maybe your dick head boss gave you a bunch of work on Friday afternoon, to be done in your cubicle till Saturday morning.

Or the Sales and Marketing came from a Coffee Shop meeting with that new, grand feature that need to be implemented over night.

In both environments you sometimes get shit to do, which you really don´t want to do in that moment. Fair or unfair doesn´t matter, it just is. Sometimes likes gives you lemons, right?

But does it have to be that Way? Do you really wanna accept that for the rest of your live or career? Did they mention a promotion? Or is the budget frozen because of “bad times” and you´re busting your balls without any reward in sight?

Life is suffering said Buddha (and Buddhism keeps saying it) and you can read some more about it.

Human biology is never happy too long with something, it always gets a bit unsatisfied after some time. That to drive us further, achieve new heights, bla di bla di bla.

Yeah, that´s biology. But we can learn to be happy. Because it´s also true that we have a baseline of happiness that we revert to, after something happened. And e.g. someone from a car accident how is in a wheel chair might actually get the baseline higher then before.

But I digress. Let´s get back to start up vs. corporate.

So you have your own experiences and the ones the person from “the other side” told you about. And you are thinking that what have been told sounds sooooo much better?

Would this other person really tell you about the bad things? Or do they want you to envy them, see them in a great position and being better than you?

It´s kind of the same issue as with Social Media. You might not actually see the reality. It´s very likely they told you only the good stuff, because they want you to see them in a good light.

Plus: Especially when your own very recent experiences are negative, you are looking for an outlet. Maybe to complain. Or you just are so fed up about it, that you want to join them in their environment.

My own personal experience is in small/medium sized companies (the biggest one multiple national companies under a holding, >3K employees) and 2 start ups (1 Amazon, 1 IT).

And I can tell you for sure that the grass isn´t greener on the other side. Both side really have pros and cons. Every company is something that sucks, so choose which kind of suck you enjoy (or at least can really tolerate).

Nobody can make this decision for you. You need to know (or find out) your what you values and orient your decision based on that.

You want to have a stable mid-size Salary and have a career ladder you can climb and are okay with being a specialist in one field that doesn´t change for a long time? Great, likely you find a fit in a more corporate environment. Figure out how you can understand what kind of boss you get before you sign up though.

You want more freedom, “excitement”, daily/hourly challenges in many different areas of expertise? Then likely you would thrive in a more start up like environment. Might require firm boundaries, long hours of unpaid extra work and constant learning (each day and probably half of the day continuously).

These kinda sounds like stereotypes and they are, but sometimes stereotypes are there for a reason. And see that I said more Xyz-like environment? I didn´t say join an archaic corporation or a hip start-up. Luckily there is so much in between. So you can choose something outside of the actual extremes.

For example there are corporations (behemoths) who either have a sort of incubator program where teams work start up style like or even have set up a start up, which has actually secured funding.

Also, there are start-ups that only work with investor funding for one project to be a unicorn, but they also do some contract work on the side.

Are they then still corporations or startups? I don´t care how they are named. And it´s not important in my opinion.
What´s important is that

a) if you really feel like you need a change, you take action
b) you don´t let yourself be fooled from the stereotypes, the extremes and what somebody (you don´t even know so well) tells you, but you do some research, think for yourself and find a better fit.

And most importantly:

That you understand that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Maybe they have used some grass spray tan. Or because of the shadow you don´t see any weirdly shaped stains on the grass.

There are issues, always. Find the ones thrive with (or at least live with without getting crazy).

Tell me when you had such a moment and how you decided.



Corporations are safe, but archaic for promotions. Start ups are dynamic but you basically don´t sleep (or don´t need somewhere to live, because you live under your desk)? Think again

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