Advertising
Advertising

Why Working In A Small Company Kicks Ass

Why Working In A Small Company Kicks Ass

Studies have shown that the happiness of a person in their job starts to decrease dramatically after the firm passes one hundred employees. What is it about small companies that makes us so happy? I can't tell you the number of entrepreneurs that went to found their own business because life at the big company basically sucked. Opportunities you spent years building up to — gone. Credit for your efforts — nowhere. A feeling of value in the machine — hell no. My personal experience in co-founding Twoodo and knowing many people who made the switch over the years adds substance to the hypothesis.

It used to be that large companies offered security and perks that small companies couldn't live up to. However, those old stereotypes are disappearing as small companies (past the early stage of development) are stepping up with equal or better contracts.

small-biz-office-culture

    What is a “small company” anyway?

    There's the micro company (1 – 10 employees) and then the small company (<50 employees) (European Union). In the USA it depends more on the firm turnover. You can take a look at the overview of how every country in the world defines a small company here. Small companies are often lumped in with medium companies and called SMEs (small medium enterprises).

    What are scientists saying about small companies?

    The paper finds that Generations X and Y are seeking equivalent values and satisfaction outcomes from SMEs. It is seeking very caring, environmentally concerned, and sensitive SMEs.Tangible and intangible benefits, empowerment and respect, workplace involvement, concern for employee welfare and supportive management are critical. (City College Thessaloniki, Greece)

    From this study, we can see that there is a shift from “climbing the corporate ladder” to searching for fulfilling and meaningful jobs. This is healthy — there is only so much room at the top in any case. It also means people aiming for jobs that they are happier in, and happier employees mean better quality work and higher proclivity to voluntarily lend a hand in times of crisis or be more flexible. Perhaps lessons handed down from our parents in the 70s, 80s, and 90s have pushed us to find more appropriate jobs, rather than jobs that have a high financial reward.  Or perhaps the expansion of the worldwide middle class has impacted on choosing our careers less out of fear and more out of satisfaction.

    What makes small companies so successful at being great places to work? 

    The secret sauce for a great small company seems to be how it is managed. Logically, it is easier to properly manage a small group of people than a large group. Here's a table from another study that defined five statements that impacted on employee satisfaction (ref: International Human Resource Management Journal, 2007):

    1) Working here is informal and relaxed.

    2) Working here is like being part of a team/family.

    3) Company success is shared by all employees.

    4) I would leave this company if offered another/similar job.

    5) Employees are treated fairly by management.

    results-study-work-for-small-company

      The conclusions from this show that people generally:

      • don't want a highly-formalized workplace.
      • have an emotional need to feel like an integral part of the success of the company.
      • need to feel appreciated and close to their work colleagues.
      • react well if they perceive management to treat everyone equally.

      It really boils down to a question you must ask yourself every day: WHY AM I DOING THIS JOB?

      Most of your (fully-functioning) adult life you are going to be at your job. It should be the perfect fit.

      A survey of 200 UK graduates commissioned by Give A Grad A Go found:

      • 91% believed big corporations paid more.
      • 79% felt they provided greater job security.
      • 74% felt they offered better career progression. 

      But they felt that SMEs:

      • encouraged creativity in the workplace (95%).
      • provided greater job satisfaction (82%).
      • encouraged a better work ethic (75%).
      • provide a better work-life balance.

      does-management-notice-me

        Does management notice me?

        Not only will working in a small company give you access to all levels of management, but decisions will be made faster and progression will be more visible. Your part in the operation will be more obvious and therefore more motivating. You won't be restricted by department or hierarchy. Ideas on the fly can be pitched and discussed without needing to book formal meetings with the boss-man. The inevitable variety of the job will also keep your mind stimulated (and improve your general learning capabilities).

        AND — you get to skip all those corporate networking events :D

        More by this author

        become-an-awesome-entrepreneur 32 Quotes That Helped Me Become An Awesome Entrepreneur Hashtag: Where Did This #phenomenon Begin and Why Do We #love it (but only on Twitter)? Why Working In A Small Company Kicks Ass

        Trending in Work

        1 How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities 2 What Job Should You Have? 10 Questions to Help You Figure It Out 3 10 Ways to Find Your Dream Job 4 8 Characteristics of Entrepreneurship That Will Lead to Success 5 How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on April 6, 2020

        How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

        How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

        Turning 50 is a milestone in anyone’s life, after all you are half way to 100! But seriously, turning 50 is often a time in life when people can sit back and take a look at where they’ve been and contemplate what the future holds.

        Can you change careers at 50? It’s not uncommon for people in their 50’s to consider a career change, after all if you’ve spent 20 to 30 years in a career, chances are that some of the bloom is off the rose.

        Often, when we are starting out in our 20’s, we choose a career path based on factors that are no longer relevant to us in our 50’s. Things like our parents’ expectations, a fast paced exciting lifestyle or the lure of making a lot of money can all be motivating factors in our 20’s.

        But in our 50’s, those have given way to other priorities. Things like the desire to spend more time with family and friends, a slower paced less stressful lifestyle, the need to care for a sick spouse or elderly parents can all contribute to wanting a career change in your 50’s.

        Just like any big life changing event, changing careers is scary. The good news is that just like most things we are scared of, the fear is mostly in our own head.

        Understanding how to go about a career change at 50 and what you can expect should help reduce the anxiety and fear of the unknown.

        What are Your Goals for a Career Change?

        As in any endeavor, having properly defined goals will help you to determine the best path to take.

        What are you looking for in a new career? Choosing a slower less stressful position that gives you more time with family and friends may sound ideal, but you’ll often find that you’re giving up some income and job satisfaction in the process.

        Conversely, if your goal is to quit a job that is sucking the life from your soul to pursue a lifelong passion. You might be trading quality time with family and friends for job satisfaction.

        Neither decision is wrong or bad, you just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of any decision you make.

        Types of Career Changes at 50+

        There are four main types of career changes that people make in their 50’s. Each type has it’s unique set of challenges and will very in the degree of preparation required to make the change.

        Industry Career Change

        In this career change, a person remains in the same field but switches industries.

        Advertising

        With an industry change, a person takes their set of skills and applies them to an industry that they have no previous experience in.

        An example would be a salesperson in the oil and gas industry becoming a salesperson for a media (advertising) company. They are taking their skill set (selling) and applying it to a different industry (media).

        This type of career change is best accomplished by doing a lot of homework on the industry you want to get into as well as networking within the industry.

        Functional Career Change

        A functional career change would be a change of careers within the same industry.

        For example, an accountant at a pharmaceutical company who changes careers to become a human resources manager. It may or may not be with the same company, but they remain within the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, they are leaving one set of skills behind (accounting) to develop a new set (human resource) within the same industry.

        In a functional career change, new or additional training as well as certifications may be required in order to make the switch. If you are considering a functional career change, you can start by getting any training or certifications needed either online, through trade associations or at your local community college.

        Double Career Change

        This is the most challenging career change of all. A person doing a double career change is switching both a career and an industry.

        An example of a double change would be an airline pilot quitting to pursue their dream of producing rock music. In that case, they are leaving both the aviation industry and a specific skill set (piloting) for a completely unrelated industry and career.

        When considering a double career change, start preparing by getting any needed training or certifications first. Then you can get your foot in the door by taking an apprenticeship or part time job.

        With a double change, it’s not uncommon to have to start out at the bottom as you are asking an employer to take a chance on someone without any experience or work history in the industry.

        Entrepreneurial Career Change

        Probably one of the most common career changes made by people in their 50’s is the entrepreneurial career change.

        After 20 to 30 years of working for “Corporate America”, a lot of people become disillusioned with the monotony, politics and inefficiency of the corporate world. Many of us dream of having our own business and being our own boss.

        Advertising

        By this time in our life, we have saved some money and the financial pressures we had with young children have passed; so it’s a perfect time to spread our entrepreneurial wings.

        Entrepreneurial career changes can be within the same industry and using your existing knowledge and contacts to start a similar business competing within the same industry. Or it can be completely unrelated to your former industry and based on personal interests, passions or hobbies.

        A good example would be someone who played golf as a hobby starting an affiliate marketing website selling golf clubs. If you are considering an entrepreneurial career change, there are a lot of very good free resources available on the internet. Just be sure to do your homework.

        Practical Tips on Making a Career Change at 50+

        So you’ve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50’s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:

        1. Deal with the Fear

        As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.

        If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google “Career Coach” for your options.

        I also recommend using the services of a professional counselor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.

        It’s always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.

        2. Know Your “Why”

        It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the “why” you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?

        Having a clear understanding of you personal “why” will influence every decision in this process. Knowing your “why” and keeping it in mind also serves as a motivator to help you reach your goals.

        3. Be Realistic

        Take an inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses. Are your organizational skills less than stellar? Then, becoming a wedding planner is probably not a good idea.

        This is an area where having honest outside input can be really helpful. Most of us are not very good at accurately assessing our abilities. It’s a universal human trait to exaggerate our abilities while diminishing our weaknesses.

        Advertising

        Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.

        4. Consider an Ad-Vocation

        Sometimes, making a career change all at once is just too big of a change. Issues like a severely reduced income, geography and lack of benefits can all be impediments to your career change. In those cases, you may want to start your new career as an ad-vocation.

        An ad-vocation is a second or ad-on vocation in addition to your primary vocation. Things like a part-time job, consulting or even a side business can all be ad-vocations.

        The benefit of having an ad-vocation is being able to build experience a reputation and contacts in the new field while maintaining all the benefits of your current job.

        5. Update Your Skills

        Whether it means acquiring new certifications or going back to school to get your cosmetology licence, having the right training is the foundation for a successful career change.

        The great thing about changing careers now is that almost any training or certifications needed can be free or at very little cost online. Check with trade associations, industry websites and discussion groups for any requirements you may need.

        Learn How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive.

        6. Start Re-Branding Yourself Now

        Use the internet and social media to change the way you present yourself online.

        Changing your LinkedIn profile is a good way to show prospective employers that you are serious about a career change.

        Joining Facebook groups, trade associations and discussion boards as well as attending conventions is a great way to start building a network while you learn.

        Here’re some Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success.

        7. Overhaul Your Resume

        Most of us have heard the advice to update our resume every six months, and most of us promptly ignore that advice and only update our resume when we need it.

        Advertising

        When making a career change, updating is not enough; this calls for a complete overhaul of your resume. Chances are that your current resume was designed around your old career which may or may not apply to your new goals.

        Crafting a new resume emphasizing your strengths for the new position your looking for is key. There are many places that will help you craft a resume online and it is a service included with most career coaching services.

        8. Know Your Timeline

        There are a lot of factors when it comes to how long it will take to make the career change.

        Industry and Functional career changes tend to be the easiest to do and therefore can be accomplished in the shortest period of time. While the Double Career Change and the Entrepreneurial Career Change both require more effort and thus time.

        There are also personal factors involved in the time it will take to switch careers.

        Generally speaking the more you are willing to be flexible with both compensation and geography, the shorter time it will take to make the switch.

        Final Thoughts

        Changing careers at anytime can be stressful, but for those of us who are 50 or above, it can seem to be an overwhelming task fraught with pitfalls and self doubt.

        Prospective employers know the benefits that come with more mature employees. Things like a wealth of experience, a proven work history and deeper understanding of corporate culture are all things that older workers bring to the table.

        And while the younger generation may possess better computer or technical skills than us, if you’re willing to learn, there are a ton of free or nearly free resources available to you.

        Deciding on a career change at 50 is a great way to experience life on your own terms.

        More Tips for Career Change

        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

        Read Next