Where do you like to work? Big company or small company?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by strantor, May 15, 2013.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I just went for an interview with a small company, ~150 employees spread out between 5 locations in the state. I was struck by how different the atmosphere was, compared to other places I have been. I have always worked at mega corporations. This place had more of a "small-town" thing going. The people seemed nicer and more in touch with eachother; they seemed to be a much more cohesive team than I am used to, almost like they were all personal friends.

    I was interviewed 5 separate times in succession. First by the president of the company, who flew in from Dallas (in his own plane), then by the branch manager, then by my would-be manager, then by a panel of randomly selected employees, then by the branch manager again with an offer letter. The panel of employees were just there to get to know me and provide feedback to the managers as to whether they think I would be a good fit - that is the first time I have ever been interviewed by regular employees.

    I think I would enjoy working with such a tight-knit group. What are your experiences? Are most small companies like this? Are most large companies more disconnected from their employees? What do you prefer from the experiences you have had? Small companies or large companies?
     
  2. #12

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    Nov 30, 2010
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    Done both. Liked 'em both. My poison is, "The Public".
    My personal protective instinct is to be invisible, unnoticed. I can do that in a large corporation. Just one wheel in a big machine. I'm competent, I actually like to work, and I learn quickly. That's all I ever needed in a large corporation.

    Then I worked at a small shop and it was like going home after school. The assembly line lead lady treated me like a son, the transformer guy thought I was a genius, the owner took me home to meet his daughter.

    Doing house calls is difficult for me. Every person I meet has no idea whether I'm competent. They always have to go through the process of finding out if I'm there to sell them stuff they don't need for outrageous prices while failing to fix the machine. I have to earn my cred 8 times a day and still have enough time to get the machines fixed. In general, I don't want to invest time and energy in a "relationship" with somebody I will probably never see again. I'm f'n brilliant with machines but that isn't enough. That's why I quit working for service corporations.

    I can manage to invest in my own customers. I do expect to see them more than once. I can run my own business doing house calls or I can work in a factory.

    Bottom line: The size of the corporation doesn't matter. People skills matter. If you can't see why the people you meet every day in the course of your job are worth the effort to make a personal connection, you're in the wrong job.
     
  3. loosewire

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    Working for corporations and the public is different ,if you are self employed you

    have the experience of learning from the people you serve. If you do a good job

    doing electronics ,they won't to doubt you...they can't do what you do so you are in

    charge. I learned the big Mo. expression from a Mo. customer Its something like you

    have explain things to them. Do we have any Mo. members.
     
  4. count_volta

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    Feb 4, 2009
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    I am going to work for a small company in 1.5 weeks. From what I seen I liked it. Everyone is down to earth and friendly. The president of the company interviewed me personally. The manager's wife works there. The head engineer's wife works there. Its like a family owned place almost.

    I worked at a medium company as an intern before. People were friendly and you do get to know people in the cubicle across from you pretty well. It wasn't a giant company but was bigger than my full time job is going to be.

    There was definitely more of the corporate culture feel to it, but I found that people still treated each other well. The engineering department was still only 20 or so people.

    I bet it gets impersonal when you have a huge engineering department and you are just another cog in the wheel as others have put it.

    So yea. My opinion is, if its a small or medium company that is doing well and is well established and growing (not a startup), always take that offer. It really is like working with a family than for some shadowy illusive impersonal CEO who most people have not even seen.
     
  5. ErnieM

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    Apr 24, 2011
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    strantor: After all is said and done I predict you will be strangled and die if you stay too long at that place.

    Why? Your manager had to have 2 people above him pre-screen you before he was allowed to talk to you. Damn, that's a lot of red tape.

    Then this panel... line employees should never have a hand in new hires.

    And 150 people is not a small company. I worked in one place where there were 5 of us. Those were some wild days...
     
  6. tracecom

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    Apr 16, 2010
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    I think your "gut" is telling you that you will like it there because of the people, and I don't know about yours, but my gut is usually right about people.

    BTW, I once was hired by a company after being interviewed by the General Manager and then by one of my subordinates-to-be. She turned out to be my biggest problem, and the advice the GM gave me with regard to how I should "manage" her was the very reason he couldn't manage her.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2013
  7. GetDeviceInfo

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    Jun 7, 2009
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    I've found that size has little to do with innovation and depth of resources, two items that I value. I do however enjoy working with others, so larger is often better in that regards. I will take non union over union, as I don't need anyone to negotiate on my behalf.
     
  8. ErnieM

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    I visited a union shop once to do some field work on our unit. I had to stand there while a customer supplied placed a scope probe where I directed him, as the technicians "owned" that task, and I was not allowed to probe my own device.

    He was exceptionally bad at this task. I believe he was actually an electrician. Eventually we negotiated with the shop steward for me to probe my own unit provided the tech would stand there and do nothing (but collect a paycheck).
     
  9. #12

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    Nov 30, 2010
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    I also found union shops to be difficult. On the other hand, I have no negotiating skills. I'd work for beer and cigarettes (if I drank and smoked), so I wind up really smart and not rich. Meh. Not an easy choice for me.
     
  10. amilton542

    Active Member

    Nov 13, 2010
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    Are we referring to the general public? :eek:

    You know, the ones who speak to you with the attitude, "You work here, it's all your fault."
     
  11. #12

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    No, more like the ones that act like, "I bet you're here to sell me stuff I don't need, at outrageous prices, while failing to fix my machine".
     
  12. GopherT

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    Strantor,
    What did you decide to do?
     
  13. strantor

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    I'm not at liberty to say yet, but when I am, I will.
     
  14. Rbeckett

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    Sep 3, 2010
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    I have always preferred working with the small tight knit groups and getting results. When you work in a tight group every one knows who did what and you don't have to fight to get the recognition you deserve. Once you work for a small, well run company you will never want to go back to corporate America and the headaches that brings. At a small company your projects will be reviewed by your peers and you will have the chance to make corrections and improvements prior to it going into production too. Hands down, a small company with a core group is definitely the way to go, if you can find a company that is a good fit for you, your style and your abilities. Corp America just can't hold a candle to working in a small company environment. At least not for me.

    Bob
     
  15. loosewire

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    Self employed is the best...if you can do it.
     
  16. Sue_AF6LJ

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    Mar 16, 2013
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    I have worked for companies / individuals from as few as two to five hundred. It is all about the people and smaller companies are to my way of thinking better. Politics are fewer, and you have a bigger chance of making a positive impact.

    I will add a word of warning; sometimes one's standing in the company can change faster in a small company. I worked for a small non-electronics company ten years ago, that employed a dozen people. I had saved money for a rather nice vacation. Plans for a temporary replacement were in place, I took my vacation as a leave of absence as was agreed all was well. Upon my return my boss had become profoundly jealous and the work place became hostile. She admitted the problem was that my life was so much more organized than her's, and my goal orientated outlook on life was what she was jealous of. Since She was the VP of the company for the next year and a half my life was miserable. I had been planning to move to another state anyway, (leave California crap state that it is) and moved on.

    So be careful, Small companies are great in many ways, but the inertia of a large company is a plus in some circumstances.
     
  17. strantor

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    Ok, so now that the cat is out of the bag in other circles I can tell you; I took the job, and I'm glad I did. The guys I'm working with are super knowledgeable, very smart guys. World class engineers and technicians, and I haven't met one yet who doesn't like to pass on their knowledge. In my last couple of jobs, I have been the most knowledgeable person; while that stroked my ego, it didn't help me develop and I had to learn everything the hard way.

    Funny story, they're actually letting me work in competition with them. I owned my own business prior to signing on, and I had projects in progress with one of my customers. I didn't think it would be good business for myself or my new employer to just "walk off" in the middle of something, so I negotiated a window of time during which I am allowed to respond to my customer's requests, even during the work day. After that window though, it will be considered moonlighting.
     
  18. gerty

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    Sounds like you found a good fit, that's great.:D
     
  19. strantor

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    Thanks! Yeah I think it's great. I am getting to break out the wire & cable corner of the automation world and see new things. I'm a Field Service Technician now - sent out to work on just about anything industrial. So far I've been sent to work on lathes in machine shops, a cardboard box stamping machine, a rigid conduit making machine, hydraulic power units, autoclaves, high pressure destructive seal testing pump in a laboratory, etc. It's pretty exciting for me. I can see why their field service techs have a average ~20yr retention rate.
     
  20. gerty

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    Sounds really interesting...:D
     
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