If you prefer a close-knit community, a variety of responsibilities and more flexibility in the workplace, a small company might be a good starting point for you.
Many recent graduates believe they know where they want to work.
For some, these idealistic visions involve large companies with manufactured reputations, hundreds of employees and dozens of offices. However, these large companies are typically set up in a cog-in-the-machine fashion. Entry-level employees often have one specific job and can easily be replaced by someone else who possesses the same basic skills.
If this sounds like the job you want, consider taking the “wrong” job. I was convinced I needed the job I just described because working with a recognized name feels more comfortable. However, I ended up working for a small public-relations agency called the10company. Rather than be swept into an environment with other entry-level workers filing papers and notes for a big-time executive, I have had an entirely different experience.
These are eight reasons I’m glad I took (what I thought was) the wrong job.
1. Close environment: Working for a smaller company allows you to have a deeper mentorship experience that welcomes questions and allows for mistakes. You are still learning during that first job. It’s important to feel comfortable approaching your supervisors to voice concerns.
2. New niche skills: In the past, I worked primarily on social media. Being part of a small company means gaining new skills quickly. Within my first three weeks of employment, I have learned to use media scanning systems, produce several press releases a day and write in the language of my clients. A big firm might not have let me touch all three things so quickly.
3. Customer service comes first: Rather than serving an upper-level executive, I have daily interaction with clients. I have learned how to address clients and meet their needs.
4. Flexible, understanding schedules: Want to leave at 4 p.m. on Friday to start a long weekend? You might have better luck working at a small firm. You’re close with everyone so it’s easy to adjust your hours and talk out solutions.
5. Praise and gratitude: While you should never expect a pat on the back for doing the work you’re paid to do, it will happen a lot more often in smaller firms. It feels great to hear, “This was really well done. Thanks!”
6. Less competition: You aren’t racing against anyone but yourself. You are only expected to hand in the highest quality work at your own pace. Each employee is considered an individual rather than grouping “the associates” as a whole.
7. Opportunity for input: I know that when I am asked for my opinion or to review something that my advice is genuinely appreciated. It feels great to be able to make suggestions to respected professionals.
8. More relaxed attire: Everyone in the Northeast felt the chill of bitter January weather. Rather than stress about freezing in pantyhose and silk shirts, I was able to wear wool slacks and nice sweaters. Everyone understood because they were freezing, too!
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