Why Work for a Big Company

Big companies are the only place where you can gain experience in scaling organizations

Posted by Tejus Parikh on February 12, 2015

In engineering culture, Big Companies are the anthesis of all that is holy. They are process driven, curmudgeonly, backwards-thinking, and political. These aspects are not desired disfunction, but directly caused by the largest challenge facing any large organization: scaling with the number of people. This is the reason you should work at a big company.

I love working for a small startup. The grass is always green, I talk to everyone in every division, we're almost always on the same page, and our culture is strong. When everyone in the company can fit around one bar table, maintaining this environment is really easy. Our biggest challenge when growing this company is how do we maintain our company's focus and camaraderie. As we add people, there are going to be those with different personalities, individuals that do not get along, and not everybody will be friends that want to hang out on weekends.

There are a few milestones in scaling: when the team can't fit around a table, when a team can't fit in a room, when a team can't fit on a floor, and when a team can't fit in a building. It's between the last two where a once cohesive and focused company starts to fracture and little cracks become seismic fault lines. Individuals spend hundreds of thousands on MBA's to understand how to solve the problem, but I believe the only way to internalize a lesson is by doing.

This is why you should work at a big company. They are the only places that have reached enough scale to witness attempted solutions to the problems and the impact they have on the individuals. If possible, get to know multiple levels of the organization. Most likely, you'll be surprised how differently employees view the mission, culture, and direction of the company. And hopefully, when you find yourself in the same position, you'll know how to do it even a little better.

Original image is CC-licensed [original source]

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Tejus Parikh

Tejus is an software developer, now working at large companies. Find out when I write new posts on twitter, via RSS or subscribe to the newsletter: