We all have that friend that has a sexy corporate job with on-site spin class, free snacks, and casual Fridays. As more and more large companies seek to “Google” themselves, the corporate life can seem very compelling. For some, it is a perfect fit. It’s great to never have to worry about resources, that the company will be there in a year from now and to have killer benefits. Who doesn’t want that?
But what if a small company is more your bag? Perhaps you love a smaller tight-knit team and though not up for being a head honcho or founder, you love leading in an entrepreneurial atmosphere? But it can be nerve wracking if your are operating within tight budgets and the roles are overloaded and overlapping. There is no HR to protect you but hey, you can wear jeans everyday.
There is off course the in-between mid-size business that may offer a little of each of these setups and that is always a great compromise.
Let’s be fair, each situation has it’s benefits. The key here is looking at your personality. For the purpose of this article, I’ll be using the five factor model based on the “Big 5” personality traits. This model is one of the most widely accepted research-based models used to study and identify personality traits. (Sorry Myers-Briggs fans, but MBTI is based on zero empirical research). The “Big 5” personality dimensions (OCEAN) are: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.
To take a free version of the Big 5 Personality Test, click here.
You might love working in a large company if:
You score moderately on openness. Innovation is not reserved for small companies, but in larger organizations it can take more time to get things done. Larger organizations still need big ideas and creative thinkers but you might have to manage going through a number of proper channels to see the ideas to fruition. Routine might be more the main dish.
You score mid-high on neuroticism. Now don’t let this word scare you. While every work atmosphere has some degree of stress, large companies that have history of being successful and profitable may be a good fit for people who thrive in a safe and secure atmosphere. If sudden change rattles you, this may be more your speed.
You score very high on conscientiousness. Sure this quality works everywhere, but if you are higher on this dimension, you will prefer more steady, focused work and projects. Sudden stops and starts are not your favorite thing and you need the solid reliability of a big organization and its relationship to keeping initiatives alive.
You might like working in a small business if:
You score very high on openness. In small companies, especially startups, new ideas are what is eaten for breakfast. When you are highly open and curious, the small business atmosphere will offer you a lot of opportunity to suggest and pioneer new initiatives. However, lack of resources may make it a little harder to accomplish some of those ideas, but nevertheless your type likes the challenge.
You score high on agreeableness. You’ll need to be highly adaptable to love working in a small atmosphere. Things can change in an instant, launch dates get postponed, projects get killed, but there is always something new coming down the pike. Predictability is not where it’s at, but it’s ok, you love change like that.
You score mid-high on extraversion. In a small business you may work very closely with people on a team, but you may also need to be able to tolerate alone time when you need to concentrate on large tasks that you need to own. Having the flexibility to be able to be vibrant with others and focused on your own will serve you well.
These are just a few perspectives of how some personality traits show up in organizational settings and of course nothing is absolute. The importance of selecting the work atmosphere that jives with who you are is essential to your long-term career success. Happy working—you deserve it!