Of course there's the "never say never" caveat, but for the time being I'm only going to work at big companies for the foreseeable future. I've spent the past 3 and a bit years working at 2 small (less than 25 employees) firms and although there have been some upsides, there have also been some very considerable downsides:
- Little to no chance of career progression. There's nowhere you can really be promoted to if the company is so small, there's usually no level above you that you can grow to (or if there is a level above you, it's a senior director with no real steps in between)
- No chance of giving more menial work to juniors because often times you might be the only analyst/associate/VP person in the entire firm. Just the other day I spent quite some time collating data across different files (copy pasting spreadsheets basically), something that would normally be given to a junior analyst. Yet as no such person exists, then I'm still doing such stuff after nearly 7 years in finance....
- You'll always and inevitably get dragged into all sorts of boring admin work, as there simply is nobody else to do it. It takes up time, doesn't add to your CV, but your bosses expect you to do it.
- Your bonus/pay package can be determined by the emotions of one person. I've literally been told by a director that they needed to catch the owner 'in a good mood' before discussing bonuses. At least in a bigger company there are more checks/balances/procedures in place that lessen the impact of people's moods on my income. Once I was even paid out a bonus while on my notice period as somehow the big company's HR systems didn't all link up to one another.
So what are your thoughts, working at big vs small firms?