By Sophia Schneidman
Twenty years ago, the American dream consisted of working a nine to five job at a large corporation. In the last five years, however, with more and more tech companies establishing themselves, the American dream has shifted.
The majority of my friends see themselves working in startups or freelance, leaving corporate America behind. However, before making such a decision, you should know what it's really like working for a startup, freelance, and for a large corporation.
What is a startup?
A startup is a company consisting of fewer than 80 employees. In essence, it is "an early-stage venture that's in search of a profitable business model." Companies like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram were originally startups before scaling their businesses.
More Freedom. At a smaller company, often you need to manage yourself and make important decisions. If you are an organized person who enjoys keeping a planner and creating deadlines, a startup may be the career for you.
Experimentation. At a startup, you are encouraged to solve problems and create value. You don't have to worry about stepping on another department's toes. Also, you are encouraged to try on many hats from marketing to programming. If you are a recent graduate who is unsure of what sector is right for them, a startup may be perfect for you.
What is freelance?
In freelancing, you do not work for a specific company, but you work under contract with a company while you perform a job. A lot of startups hire freelancers because they can't afford a full-time employee.
Your schedule. In freelance, you can choose only to accept the jobs that you believe pay well and better your career.
Where You Work. As a freelancer, you can work from anywhere in the world, including your home. This freedom enables you to spend more time with your family. If you are a homebody, then I would recommend freelance work, though you need to be careful not to blur the lines between work and home life.
Good Pay. A lot of times, freelancers are given more money than full-time employees. Of course, the downside of that is a less stable income. There is no guarantee you will be hired when your contract is over.
What is a large corporation?
According to Merriam Webster, a corporation is "authorized to act as a single entity and recognized as such in law." 51% of US workers work for a corporation consisting of 500 or more employees.
Greater Job Security. In working for a large corporation, you will most likely be given a set salary for each month. A stable salary may be useful for an individual that doesn't want to live paycheck to paycheck, especially someone providing for their family.
Perks. As an employee of a large corporation, you will be given certain perks like health care and vacation time, as well as social security. For some people, this may be a necessity.
Extrinsic Motivation. Unlike freelancing, in a corporation, there are often performance reports and deadlines to hold yourself accountable. There may also be competition between employees. If you know you can't hold yourself responsible, I suggest working for a large corporation.
Quality Training. Unlike freelance, working for a large corporation means having access to a large pool of money. Often, corporations will train their employees or even send them to graduate school.
Whichever path your career takes you, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into when accepting your job offer. I wish you all luck in your future endeavors.
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DevMountain. "Freelance vs. Full-Time Developer: The Pros and Cons." Medium, The
DevMountain Blog, 13 Feb. 2017, medium.com/devmountain/freelance-vs-full-time-developer-the-pros-and-cons-e50d5f4a648d
Tabarrok, Alex. "How Many People Work for Corporations and How Many Don't?" Quora,
24AD, 2014, www.quora.com/How-many-people-work-for-corporations-and-how-many-dont
Venture for America. "Working at a Startup vs. Working at a Large, Established Company: What
to Expect." Medium, Office Hours, 27 Apr. 2017, medium.com/office-hours/working-at-a-startup-vs-working-at-a-large-established-company-what-to-expect-d1b5e21a420
"Working for a Startup vs Working for a Big Company." Code Institute, 10 June 2019,
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