S, M, or L…What Size is Right for You?

Slim girl in big size jeansGetting fit is beneficial on so many levels…but the financial, perhaps. My future brother-in-law lost 43 pounds, so he is now finding his closet full of clothes that no longer fit. Luckily he enjoys shopping, but needs to replace his wardrobe with smaller sizes.

Size is an important aspect to consider when evaluating job opportunities and employers, as the size of a company can dramatically affect the culture of a workplace, access to advancement, resources, and more.

The size of an organization and its impact on culture is explored in an articleExit Disclaimer I found recently on the “Regeneration Station” science blog. Think carefully about your personality, your scientific focus, and work environments you have enjoyed most as you review the following.

Large Companies v. Small Companies

Potential experiences in a large company:

  • Great deal of structure within the organization, including tested processes, management practices
  • Up-to-date equipment and technologies, as well as experts in a variety of fields
  • Typically slower pace to get projects off the ground than at smaller companies
  • Multiple opportunities for advancement–either within or beyond bench science
  • Can be difficult to assess the impact of your work
  • May have opportunity to enhance your skills technically, as well as your development professionally (leadership and management courses, etc.)

Potential experiences in a small company:

  • Opportunities to learn new tasks, different aspects of running a business
  • Not as much access to resources as with a larger company. Need to be comfortable reaching out to new contacts (to universities to use equipment, etc.)
  • Rapid pace, given proximity of senior leadership to bench scientists, ability to make decisions without gaining approval from several layers of administrators
  • May feel the impact of your work in a profound way (presentations to investors, etc.)
  • Lack of an extensive corporate history may translate into a dearth of best practices, processes
  • More of an opportunity to stretch yourself personally by learning on the job, taking more ownership of projects, more immediate experience leading teams

Are you more of an independent spirit? Comfortable with risk? In that case, a smaller company may be a better fit. Do you prefer more structure and definition to your job? Then a larger company may suit you. In either case, be sure to do your homework, as corporate cultures vary widely from organization to organization. Good luck!

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