I'm sort of split. Most of the big companies I have worked for have been crap though the small businesses I have worked for are unable to give me as much in the way of pay and benefits.
Right now I work for a small company and work 52 hours a week. I would be lucky to find anywhere that will pay me the same amount for only 40 hours a week and most corporate places would not give me overtime unless they absolutely had to. At the same time my boss can't afford to give me a raise and I get no benefits.
I'd be interested to know, rootx, where you got your criteria for your definitions of small and big companies.
I'm with GeorginaS, you ask a simple question, but then provide a set of subjective criteria.
Is my answer dependent on your criteria?
The reason I prefer to work for a small company is that I like to wear many hats. I'm a generalist rather than a specialist. A small company tends to need people like that. This single criteria is more important to me than all the ones you mention.
I don't think those criteria make any sense. Perhaps instead of a poll asking about where we prefer to work, you really should have asked what the differences were in big vs. small companies. I don't think your list is at all accurate.
I also think it depends on where you make the cut-off of small vs. large. Small could mean anything from an office with just a handful of employees to an office with a thousand or so employees all in one office. Someone else might think large can be something with 100 or more employees all the way up to multinational corporations with offices in several cities in each of several countries.
Your likelihood of working long hours has less to do with the size of the company and more to do with what you are hired to do within that company.
I think the only real difference in work environment between a large and small company is how likely you are to know and interact with the top level bosses/owners. This does trickle down into other benefits. In a smaller company, there is more flexibility for discretionary policies, while larger ones tend to have more fixed sets of rules and guidelines without much discretion given to managers/supervisors, because the number of employees makes it hard to evaluate everything on a case-by-case basis. So, for example, in a small company, you might not have as many vacation or sick days because they can't afford to have employees gone as much, but they might decide to grant an exception if you come down with a particularly nasty illness that extends a little beyond your normal sick time. A larger company may hold hard and fast to that cut off and if you take time off beyond the time provided, your job may be at risk (at least if your absence doesn't fall under the FMLA rules).
For the most part, I don't think it has much to do with the size of a company, but more how the company is managed. A small company can end up just as rigid with policies as a large one and keep their employees just as uninformed about what's going on beyond their own department. The ones that do that aren't usually very pleasant ones to work for.
A friend of mine from university works for IBM and my wife's brother works for Bell Canada. Both of these people:
a) work for big companies;
b) are not members of unions;
c) work for many hours more than 35 hours per week.
Short answer is no.
I couldn't leave my OP blank so I decided to fill it with that subjective creteria which is based on my three internships of about 1 year. 2 were for a very small company and 1 for a crown corporation. Yes, I know there can be lots of pressure and hours of work required per week in big companies but I was only talking from the personal expierence.
I work for a small company - and I work more than 40 hrs/wk without overtime - but I have great benefits. I know people who work for large companies, and they work more than 40 hrs/wk, especially as one moves higher up. Benefits are company dependent - but can change without notice.
I think the quality of job depends on the goods produced or services provided (i.e. interesting and vital work), the financial situation of the company, the number of owners, and management of the company.
The preferable situation would be a small company that grows to a larger company.
Otherwise, I'd prefer to be self-employed.
I'd rather work for a big company. Seems more reliable in my experience... which isn't a whole lot but still :)
Enron, Bear Sterns, Lehman Bros, Merrill-Lynch - all big companies - all crashed big time! Others like AIG, Citibank, BA got 'rescued' by Uncle Sam. GM, Chrysler, . . . .
Many large companies have laid off large portions of staff - to cut cost.
I work for the government, I don't think you can work for a larger employer than that. It's okay so far, but since I'm a relativly new employee, I have a lot of training to do - most of it useless.
I have worked for myself, for small companies, and for large companies. Generally, the most brutal hours were when I was self-employed, though there were times working for large and small companies when there was WAY too much overtime. The final straw for me as a papermaker was a second summer when the management broke up our crew to staff yet another paper machine. There weren't enough trained replacements to step in as vacation replacements, and we 4 machine-tenders had to cover each others' summer vacations. The only days off that I had (apart from a mandatory day to switch from 6am-6pm to 6pm-6am were my own vacation days. That machine room often hovered at or above 120 deg F with 100% humidity. I gave my notice just in time to get out after 10 years (vested in the company retirement plan) and started a programming business. I worked much longer hours getting my business off the ground, but at least it was from my home and from clients' offices. Paper-makers often don't get to enjoy their retirements - they die early or retire in poor health.
This is true but I think that the large companies have been around a lot longer and are able to survive through a lot more than a smaller company. I've noticed though that at smaller companies you get paid a higher wage and are able to work more hours... but they seem really inconsistent. This is all from personal experience mind you which isn't much :) I'm only 20 :P
Big companies have better perks, and pay higher wages, in general. On the down side, a big company won't care when they lay you off, at least a small company will be somewhat sad when they lay you off.
I prefer to be neither a giver or a receiver.
lol Ivan :D
I think you can testify that being self employed requires a lot of ambition, self control, the willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed, which often means long hours, personal sacrifice, in the beginning you may have a sporaidc income. My hat is off to anyone that makes it self-employed, it's a lot of work.
My grandfather was recently laid off actually and started up his own business regrooving truck tires. At first I thought that any person could just take their skills and start a business being self-employed but I certainly view it differently now.
At the beginning he made nearly no money but so far he and his brother in law have stuck through it and currently they are making more money than he was on his old full-time job that he was laid off from. It definitely makes me give him a lot more respect... anyone who can go through that deserves it.
The private college I worked for just a few years ago, Brooks College owned by Career Education Corporation, no longer exists. Apparently I got out and went back to my previous small business employer just in time.
It's not just a lot of work - it's a lot of headaches from governmental bureaucracy. When you're starting up a business, it's tough to estimate your income from quarter to quarter, but that's what you have to do when you're self-employed and pay the IRS quarterly based on estimated income. Plus you pay your normal SS contribution plus the contribution previously covered by your employer, so that doubles.
And here's a real good one: When I was a sole consultant for boilers and paper machines, I carried a million dollars in liability insurance. When I was offered a long-term contract with Georgia-Pacific, I was told that I had to show proof of worker's comp insurance, so I took out a policy on myself - not a clue how I would file a comp claim if I actually got hurt, though. Anyway, I started getting letters every few weeks from the state bureau of taxation, threatening me because I was not withholding payroll taxes on my "employees" and not paying unemployment taxes on them. Each time, I sent them a letter explaining that I was the only person in the business and explained why I had to buy workers comp coverage, and even sent them a copy of my contract for the consulting work showing why I had to buy it. Didn't faze them a bit. Every couple of weeks, I got another threatening letter, and it kept up for over two years, until I had satisfied the goals of that contract and dropped the insurance.
Yes I agree that big companies pay higher and provide better perks on average. But, I notice that in big companies it is hard to rise and only in rare circumstances your wage would double every year. In case of small companies, you have more opportunities and your wage can go up by many folds.
Also, there are big companies that have either strong unions/are not profit maximizing where kicking you out is very hard (I am working in a company like that and heard from my coworker that you only get fired if you steal/assault).
I've worked for big and small. As an employee, it's easier to blend in at a large company and stand out in a small company environment.
Now, I have a small company and seem to deal with 3 types of clients. Very large corporations, small operating companies (often owned by holding companies), and small businesses. Overall, it appears that employees at the largest firms are less worried about the economy, with small business owners expressing great concern.
I think everyone needs to find their own comfort level.
Unions are a bad thing, in most cases, but they are only for low level, non-management jobs. Professionals would not be part of a union.
I assume you are excluding Engineers (I am in power currently).
What I began to notice was that people's lives are often destablilized if the need to seek new employment arises. Most notably, losing a job can require that a family relocate for the next one. This combined with the tendency for short terms of employment in the high tech sector brought to light an interesting fact: It is easier to find a new customer than it is to find a new job.
Many engineers in high tech are hired on a per project basis, or nearly so. I recall that some years ago, the average term of employment for engineers in the silicon valley was about two years. Also, outsourcing is the name of the game. It is common to hire engineers and consultants on a contract basis these days.
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