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Working in a Startup or Corporation?

“Should I choose working in a startup over a corporation?” We all face this tough question at some point in our career. There’s no straight forward answer for it, but even if you don’t realize, your decision may change your life forever.

I have to admit, I’m a startup addict, but I am going to be impartial and highlight both pros and cons of working in a corporation or startup.

Safe Job?

For some, a corporation seems undoubtedly the best choice. Working in a big company is safer, you have a stable job and you don’t have to worry about tomorrow. That’s mainly an illusion, in fact most employees working in a corporation are substitutable.

In a startup, you’re part of a small team, and chances to have a team member with the same skillset as yours are next to zero. This makes you valuable and an essential team member for the startup.

Instructions or Initiative

If you’re the kind of person that likes following instructions rather than taking initiative, then working in a corporation is the best way to go. Work is generated reactively and your job is to solve problems that may appear.

For startups, a proactive behavior is crucial. You don’t need to be asked to take action, you just make things happen rather than wait for something to happen. Although responding to a change is less demanding, it can often prove boring in contrast with initiating a change.

Learning and Responsibility

As you’d expect, corporations will pay for training programs. You receive a certain role, your responsibilities are related to that particular role and that’s your core job. It’s a steep learning curve for an entry level employee, however in the course of few months to an year the learning curve might flatten out.

A startup is constantly evolving and changing, and so are your tasks. Your responsibilities are higher and the key to success is flexibility. The learning curve is steep and in most cases will remain steep. You’ll be taking over tasks you never done before, tasks you find challenging and that are responsible for your own growth. There is no set way of doing things, creativity is your best friend and you’ll be learning a lot in this fast-paced environment.


If you’re trying to get recognition, then be aware that in a corporation your contributions might get lost in the crowd and sometimes people even try to take credit for other people’s work. The good thing is that working for one of the biggest companies in the world, known and used by millions, will make your CV stand out and increase your market value for future job applications.

On the other hand, you can’t imagine how imminent your impact in a startup is. If you succeed, your team will notice it and you will get instant recognition. However, fail and you can easily harm the small company. Your success means the startup’s success and vice versa. Don’t be afraid to fail, but be careful to succeed.

Career path

Some people prefer following a well defined career path in a big, stable company. The problem is that corporations have strict politics and hierarchies and there is little room for growth. It often takes years of experience to advance to the next position in your career path.

With a small team, startups don’t even have management roles defined. They are created to reward valuable employees. Your success and performances might get promoted quickly.


You’ll never find the startup environment elsewhere. It’s an awesome atmosphere, you’re surrounded by people with innovative ideas and solutions. It’s about making things different and better, simplifying and enhancing your life.

The entrepreneurial spirit is contagious. You’ll develop a passion for building something great out of nothing and pushing the limits to achieve some big goals. The entrepreneurial spirit is something you experience every day and it changes the way you approach life and career.

Bottom line

The bottom line is that there’s actually no answer to the question: “Should I choose working in a startup over a corporation?” This is up to you and what you want to accomplish in your career. It’s up to you to choose what gets you out of bed in the morning and it is highly related to your personality and preferences.

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