It’s all the rage these days to trash traditional jobs. Seemingly everyone wants to be a freelancer or entrepreneur. The allure of more flexible work hours and passion projects has many looking to see if the grass really is greener on the other side. While the thought occasionally crosses my mind as well, when I step back and think about it, working for a large organization has allowed me to grow professionally, increase pay, and develop a strong network.
Many organizations are starting to offer flexibility to align the more traditional jobs with the up-and-coming gig economy. Organizations are realizing that millennials, who now make up the majority of the workforce, like to work differently than previous generations. Organizations who adapt to the changing desires of the workforce will be more successful in the long run simply by attracting top talent. Millennials tend to favor flexibility and purpose over job security and even money.
Advantages of Working for a Large Organization
When I think about the person I was when I started working for my current organization, the difference is night and day. My first day on the job was during the week of my final exams in graduate school. Besides the one internship I had in college, this was my first taste of a full time job in my area of study. My wardrobe consisted of easily wrinkled shirts and pants, mostly from American Eagle or other similar stores. I knew virtually nothing about leadership, teamwork, or even how to be a professional.
I know that some people know exactly what they want to do right out of college. That definitely wasn’t me. College does a great job of helping us develop skills for the workplace. However, taking action on the job is the best way to explore the type of work you really enjoy or really dislike.
Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a networking session with area interns. Many were business majors who were nearing graduation. Almost none of them knew exactly what they wanted to do with their professional lives. I wish more people would tell them this is perfectly okay. There’s no need to feel anxious because almost everyone goes through something similar.
Through real life opportunities you have a much better chance of finding meaningful work that you’re good at. Working for a large organization allows you to try a bunch of different things. By taking action and trying different things, eventually you’ll find the meaningful work that fills your soul. And you shouldn’t settle until you find that.
Below are several additional benefits of working for a large organization.
Growth and Development Opportunities
As mentioned above, there is a huge difference in the person I am now compared to 12 years ago when entering the workforce. Much of my growth during the past 12 years can be attributed to on-the-job experience.
I came out of graduate school as a timid and inexperienced person with much to learn. A few of the skills I have developed over the past 12 years include:
- Public Speaking
- Relationship Building
- Leading a Team
- Gaining Followership
- Written Communication
Regardless of your profession these are important skills to have in your tool belt. I’m not saying that I’ve mastered any of the above. However, I can say that on-the-job experience has allowed me to grow in these areas exponentially.
You can grow all of these skills working for yourself as well. However, when you have an opportunity to work in an organization with more experienced professionals you may find yourself in a better position to learn these skills from others. You’ll learn so much simply by surrounding yourself with great leaders.
The key is to find an organization that supports personal development and has opportunities for advancement.
Opportunity to Begin Investing in Retirement Early
The earlier in life you can take advantage of compounding interest the better. Many organizations even offer retirement matching options (free money). If you invest a few thousand dollars into a 401(k) for a few years early in your career, you’ll set yourself up with a strong foundation.
Even if you only invest for the first five or ten years of your early career, you’ll likely finish a millionaire. Having this strong foundation may allow you to take additional professional risks while your retirement savings are compounding. It’s hard to play catch-up with compound interest so the earlier you can start the better.
See my previous post on the power of compound interest
Ability to Change Jobs and Gain Different Experiences
Job hopping can be an effective way to increase salary. Often you have to change jobs to get more than the standard 2 to 5 percent merit increase. However, what’s not talked about enough is in a large organization you can change jobs within the same organization.
I have worked for the same organization for 12 years. During this time, I’ve had at least six different jobs of increasing responsibility and have tripled my salary since starting. Navigating an organization can be a little tricky, but if done right it can be very beneficial.
Additionally, changing jobs within an organization allows you to maintain existing relationships and retain knowledge of your company’s culture. If you have a positive reputation at an organization, you and your colleagues may find yourselves in other roles. Through those connections your reputation will spread more broadly within your organization, which can result in significant benefits.
Steady Salary to Pay Down Debt and Establish an Emergency Fund
Part of setting a strong financial foundation is paying down debt and establishing an emergency fund. Dave Ramsey’s baby steps are the roadmap. If you are naturally a risk averse person like me, reducing your debt and having a backstop of savings may allow you to take additional risks if you ever decide to step away from your traditional job. A steady income will allow you to develop a plan to pay down debt, build savings, and invest in retirement accounts.
I’ve written quite a bit about the benefits of paying down debt, establishing an emergency fund, and seeking ways to increase income. Below are a few related articles that you can explore (two from me and one from Chief Mom Officer).
- How To Go From $22k Per Year To Six Figures (From Chief Mom Officer)
- A Short Tale About Why You Need an Emergency Fund
- Financial Advice for Young Families
Health Insurance and Other Benefits
One of the biggest barriers to entrepreneurship in the United States is the lack of affordable health care. Most companies will provide subsidized health insurance which is critical if you ever have a large medical expense. With that being said, health insurance is just one benefit offered by large organizations. Many organizations may also offer the following:
- Paid holiday, vacation, and sick leave
- Educational assistance
- Flexible work arrangements (working from home or flex schedule)
- Wellness programs or on-site gym
- Employee assistance programs (e.g., legal, self-care, addiction)
- Subsidized on-site cafeterias
- Flexible spending or health savings accounts
- Retirement accounts (as noted above)
If you pursue working for a large organization, be sure to consider all benefits included. It’s not just about the pay.
Runway to Establish a Side Business
If you already have a job that pays your bills, you’ll have the opportunity to establish a side business with relatively low risk. Set up your business by becoming a nighttime or weekend warrior. You can experiment with a variety of different businesses and if you fail it may not be a big deal. On the flip side, if your business happens to take off then you’ll have a tough decision to make.
What if You Hate Working for a Large Organization?
There are a few situations where you should consider quitting your job at a large organization, regardless of your situation. You should not quit a job if it could mean losing your home or being unable to afford basic necessities. However, life is way too short to work at a job where you are miserable. Here’s a short list of items to look out for:
- If you are working long hours (60+) in a role where you are not passionate, you will burn out and be miserable. There is nothing wrong with working long hours for a short period of time. It’s just not sustainable long term if it’s not part of your life’s mission.
- If you are working a job where the stress carries over from your job to home life it will be challenging to find balance in your life. Most of us have a decent amount of stress in our jobs. However, if you are unable to manage the stress effectively and it carries over into your non-working hours then you may want to consider stepping away.
- If there is minimal growth or development potential then you should try to find an opportunity providing better options. This doesn’t necessarily mean promotions or more money. It does mean that you should find opportunities to grow and develop your skillset. In most situations if an individual has some ambition and drive, they will find opportunities for growth and development even in the most mundane situations.
- This probably goes without saying, but if you are in an abusive or threatening environment get out now. You should probably make a stop by HR on the way out as well to keep the next person from having to go through the same situations.
Advantages of Working for a Large Organization as a Young Professional
The point of this article is that many early career benefits can be achieved by working for a large organization as a young professional.
We all hear about the success stories of the big start up, though we have to realize for every one success story there are many other failures. Having a strong foundation financially, the necessary skills, and professional connections later on in life will benefit you regardless of your path.
I’ve mentioned before that I have been extremely fortunate to work for an organization that offers the opportunity to grow and develop, work-life balance, good benefits, and a mission that I support. If it’s up to me I’d work where I’m at for the next 20 years. However, as we all know, these decisions are not always in our hands. Paying down debt and increasing emergency savings allows for you to have options if the organization becomes less favorable, leads to burn out, or layoffs happen.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you agree or disagree with in the comments below.