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What would you choose ? Big Company or Startup ??!

Hello Everyone,

It's 2nd time I am posting a topic here. and this time I am hoping that I would get replies which will help me in making some decision.
Its crucial and its about my job.

No no.......................its not like I dont have job.  ;)

Situation is I have TWO offers and I am finding myself in tough situation of not being able to decide which one to choose.

I am a *kinda* fresher ( its been 7 months I have finished my grad in Electronics Engineering).
In my final year of college I got selected in Infosys ( http://www.infy.com, TOP IT company in India). But by the time I finish my grad, it was recession in IT and Infy postponed my joining indefinately. So I was forced to search for another job. It didnt took me long and I found myself working as systems engineer in One broadband company. Its a part of one MNC which operates in 23 countries !! [ I am not revealing company name due to some concerns ]

Its a great setup that they have done here in Surat (my home town) and I find myself lucky enough to get chance in MNC such as this !!

The only hitch was my salary which was way too low. Only 6k.

But now after my 6 months, I am going to get 100% hike !! Its been confirmed by GM of Finance/Operations.

I am doing good and out of nowhere Infy has called us up !! I am suppose to join on 10th June. 1 month from now. I am suppose to join in Hyderabad ( Hi -tech city of India) .

Now my confusion is to whether join Infy or stay in Current company.

Now you may say go to Infy ,big company , big things , big projects, right ?

But there are few things.

I am getting really good exposure in my current job and has made myself a place in the company. CEO of company just came to talk to me on last Sunday we even went for lunch..and he offered me salary equivalent to Infy. That is 3 times my current salary !! 

Also I am getting chance to work on Metasolv, Infranet Portal ( Which I love MOST and I am administrator of it in my company ), TIBCO. All Enterprise level products. I have GREAT boss and I mean it. I am given chance to design solution from scratch. They tell me a problem. Then I decide which technology to use, how to implement and deployment scheduel. Till date I have worked on 6 projects , latest one being Video mail. [ I have implemented it from start to end.] I wonder if I would get chance to do same thing in company as big as Infy. There I would be a *small* part of BIG project and I won't even know head and tail of it. Kinda black box , isnt it ?? Here projects are not that BIG but certainly they are good enough and I really enjoy giving SOLUTIONS to PROBLEMS. I have 100% job satisfaction here.

Now Infy has name, they would give me training, they would send me for off shore projects. But then..then what ? WIll I be another coder amongst those *thousands* out there ? How long it would take for me to again make same position in Infy ? Is it even possible ?


There are numerous advantages too. They would be first giving me extensive training on varioius technologies, I would have offshore projects to work on, would be going to US/UK and all.. [ One of my dream is to go abroad ]. but what would be my profile ? What if they put me in testing team ? [ Me being more of developer , I wonder what I do in testing team. ]

Now what do I do ?
Shall I join BIG company or stick here in a startup ??

I am LOST.
Please help.
JD

P.S. : I wonder if joel can spare some time and suggest something.

JD
Saturday, May 18, 2002

Infy booted your ass when their business slowed.  Who's to say they won't do it again?  In this environment, employER loyalty has become a bigger factor.  I suggest you decline your offer with INFY.

Small firms tend to give you more varied experience, which is beneficial early in your career.

Good luck.

Bella
Saturday, May 18, 2002

Yeah, I'm with Bella on this one. Forget Infy, they didn't do you any favors before.

Troy King
Saturday, May 18, 2002

working for a big company is never much fun.

Your current job sounds ideal, aside from the pay. I would stay there, you can't beat 100% job satisfaction.

strategist
Saturday, May 18, 2002

Well, I'm not going to break the trend.

You are respected and important where you are, you are doing cool work, you are (now) well paid, you are happy, and all your indicators for the future are pointing up.

You would be crazy to switch to Infy.

Matt Conrad
Saturday, May 18, 2002

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Yeah, my pay would be matched up. Good things to do here.

But then there are family and friends, who don't understand these things. For them my existing company is *BS* and Infy is everything. Yeah I can go against them but..

Its been 6 months I have been in this company. I see *enough* work for next 6 months. But then.......hm..interesting. What after one year when I would have reached the saturation.

I mean right now I am writing some web based apps in PHP. Wrote two applications in VB.

We have Sun Solaris , Win 2k Advanced Server, Linux machines,Cisco Routers , CMTS, CNR.. [ Actually we are Broadband ISP ].

So...I am getting feel of different things. But when I would like to change job, How would I go about it ? Cause I am not 100% Programmer nor 100% Systems Administrator. Somewhere inbetween.

So I am also suppose to think what after 1 and half year ?
How would I present myself for next job ?

Don't you think the *name* of last company you worked with,matters ? How do I take care of that ?

JD

JD
Saturday, May 18, 2002

If INFY is anything like a large company in the US, you will be working on some small part of some giant system, then fired after 5 years...after having worked on something very marginal.  I would concentrate on doing a good job at what you like to do, and not worry about company names or what your family or friends think.

bob
Saturday, May 18, 2002

>>>But then there are family and friends, who don't understand these things. For them my existing company is *BS* and Infy is everything. Yeah I can go against them but..<<<

Most people are concerned with status and rank rather than personal well-being.

Jeb
Saturday, May 18, 2002

Startup any day of the week.

However, it depends on what the startup is doing;

If the startup is having a product, its worth spending some
time there and contribute. It will give you the opportunity
to work with other motivated people, all striving to produce
a good product. This will probably raise your motivation to
make a better effort. It sure motivates me.

This is a good environment to work in. You will pick up heaps from other talanted people.


Consulant-companies on the other hand kindof sucks since
when you join consultant-companies it will take you a week
to spot the ace programmers, and once you have done that
it will motivate you to compete to become one of the "good ones". Once that is accomplished, you will not be able to work with any of them again, since consultant-companies
sell 1 ace-programmer and staff the rest of the project
with warm bodies. IMHO this is common behaviour.


Large companies do in-house stuff, and suffer from the same problems as consultant-companies. This is not
neccesarily true, but in my personal experience no one proved me wrong so far :-)

Patrik
Saturday, May 18, 2002

Bog companies and small companies are both fin to work for. I think the real decision should revolve around your satisfaction and enjoyment with your current position. It sounds like you like it. I would stay.

pb
Saturday, May 18, 2002

A few questions I think you should ask yourself:

Why did the startup offer so low of a salary at the beginning?

What has changed 6 months later so that now they
can offer you a 100% hike?

If the CEO thought you were worth the Infy level salary,
why is he just now offering it to you?

I prefer small shops because you get to do SO much more.

However, it sounds to me that this particular startup has
been trying to dick you over.

Johnny Simmson
Sunday, May 19, 2002

I should qualify that a bit.

It could also be that you have exceeded their wildest
expectations and they are acting quickly to remedy the
salary deficiencies.

Johnny Simmson
Sunday, May 19, 2002

Johny,
Here are the answers.

>Why did the startup offer so low of a salary at the >beginning?

I was fresher. I had lecturer's job which was paying me double than wha they offered. But I wanted to do technical stuff rather than taking lectures. So I jumped in with aim to proove myself.


>What has changed 6 months later so that now they
>can offer you a 100% hike?

Cause in the quarterly appraisal , I am the best performer across the company. I have delievered *solutions* in considerably less time and have also saved good amount of money some way or the other.

>If the CEO thought you were worth the Infy level salary,
>why is he just now offering it to you?

100% hike was decided even before I had got offer from Infy. But now as I am saying that I would go they are trying to match up.


>I prefer small shops because you get to do SO much more.

True. But is it so BAD in big companines ??

>However, it sounds to me that this particular startup has
>been trying to dick you over.

Hm...I am not much sure.


It seems that everyone is saying that stick with start up. But what if that closes in 1 year ? I am sure Infy want take me at that time.

Hm...wondering about what to do...
JD

JD
Sunday, May 19, 2002

Will you be doing management consulting at infy?

If so that would be a tough call.

Johnny Simmson
Sunday, May 19, 2002

Here are a couple of things to think about when making the decision.

When good hiring managers evaluate a candidate, the technical assessment is the easy part.  More difficult is deciding whether the candidate has the right character to do the job.  Will he be persistent in the face of a difficult-to-solve problem?  Will he get along with the rest of the staff and work as part of a team?  Will he be diplomatic when dealing with customers?  One of the best ways to assess these and other behavioral traits is to find out how the candidate's behaved in the past.  You ask for specific examples, and keep digging until you get them.

The same applies to you when assessing prospective employers.  Forget what they're saying; how have they behaved in the past?  In your case, you have a current employer who has given you a great boss, interesting assignments, and a hefty increase in salary that--apparently--wasn't motivated by another employer's offer.  And you have a prospective employer that made you an offer, then withdrew it.  This doesn't seem like a tough decision.

A second point: one mistake most of us make when first learning about the corporate world is to assume that big companies are monoliths, and that a good company is good throughout.  But all large companies, good or bad, are just collections of people.  Even the best companies have some internal organizations that are excellent, others that are pretty awful, and a bunch somewhere in between.  If you join Infosys, what's the quality of the group you'll end up in?  Has Infosys given you an opportunity to meet the people you'll be working with?  Have they given you the details of your initial assignment?  You're relatively new to the industry; is there anyone in the group who's willing to be a  mentor?  To me, the answer to these questions is more important than whether Infosys is the top IT company in India.

Bob Perlman
Sunday, May 19, 2002

Bob,
Those are quite interesting thoughts.

"When good hiring managers evaluate a candidate, the technical assessment is the easy part. More difficult is deciding whether the candidate has the right character to do the job. Will he be persistent in the face of a difficult-to-solve problem? Will he get along with the rest of the staff and work as part of a team? Will he be diplomatic when dealing with customers? One of the best ways to assess these and other behavioral traits is to find out how the candidate's behaved in the past. You ask for specific examples, and keep digging until you get them."

Absolutely true. Even if you are a hi-fi techie, if you can't manage to work in team, hm..
Actually during my appraisal similar things were analysed, and according to my boss I have been a very good team member, who not only takes initiatives but drives others to do the same.  [ I guess too much apraising of myself !! ;) ]

"The same applies to you when assessing prospective employers. Forget what they're saying; how have they behaved in the past? In your case, you have a current employer who has given you a great boss, interesting assignments, and a hefty increase in salary that--apparently--wasn't motivated by another employer's offer. And you have a prospective employer that made you an offer, then withdrew it. This doesn't seem like a tough decision."

How they have behaved in past ?
As such when they offered me low salary, I shouldnt have accepted it. But I was DESPARATE.
But then I worked hard. Created room for myself in company.
My Boss has worked hard to get my hike even before Infy came. My boss ( IT Manager) has good relations with CEO of company and he made sure that I am getting 100% hike. That was the reason I told my boss about my offer and he took it with CEO itself and he is offering me pay equivalent to Infy which is thrice of current one.

Now if you talk about Infy, they selected me during campus. But then there was real bad time for IT. And they decided to delay joing for 6 months. I don't find it wrong. In the sense if they have don't have projects to work on, what is the point of taking us and then keeping us on bench ??

"A second point: one mistake most of us make when first learning about the corporate world is to assume that big companies are monoliths, and that a good company is good throughout. But all large companies, good or bad, are just collections of people. Even the best companies have some internal organizations that are excellent, others that are pretty awful, and a bunch somewhere in between. If you join Infosys, what's the quality of the group you'll end up in? Has Infosys given you an opportunity to meet the people you'll be working with? Have they given you the details of your initial assignment? You're relatively new to the industry; is there anyone in the group who's willing to be a mentor? To me, the answer to these questions is more important than whether Infosys is the top IT company in India. "

EXACTLY TRUE.
Now the thing is I would be joinig as systems trainee.
There is 3 months extensive training. Infosys has got one of the best trainigs in IT corporates of India. Once we are through, depending upon our performance during Training we would be assigned projects. Now I don't know whom I would be working with. What I would be working on. ( They would decide once training is over.)

So its upto me, what do I do in first 3 months.
Now I have worked in IT company unlike my other batchmates who couldnt find job when Infy delayed.
So when we join I definately have advantage over them.

So looking at both sides, Its *tough* to decide.

What you say ?
JD

JD
Sunday, May 19, 2002

Mistake in last message.
I would be joining as SOFTWARE trainee and not systems trainee.

JD

JD
Sunday, May 19, 2002

It sounds to me like your are faced with two good choices. This *seems* like the hardest kind of decision because usually we can find the good solution by pruning away the bad ones. With two good choices you can think and think and still come up with two good choices!


Either way you go will be successful. I recommend you think about your good fortune, smile, and do what you want. :)

b
Sunday, May 19, 2002

JD my little advice. I joined a small company as a fresher @4 yrs ago after  being rejected by BIG companies including Infy. Now I'm a Project Leader with 2 shrinkwrap commercial products to my credit and churning out new once every 6 months.
I have now hands on experience on every aspect of Software development. In some I'm total expert (sorry for the boast but I am). I don't think I would be this far if I was at infy or BIG cos.
Its not that I didnt get offers. But I had a goal, target and ambition in life. Its how you look at your carreer and what you want to be in say next 5-10 yrs.
So if infy fits your needs go. If your present company suffices stay. The decision should be on this basis and not on BIG NAMES.

RK
Monday, May 20, 2002

"In some I'm total expert "

Just curious, but what are you an expert in after only 4 years of experience?

Johnny Simmson
Monday, May 20, 2002

I'm an expert in text processing. Still curious. take a look at the 2 products which are released, here's the URL
www.recosoft.com and click on VINC and VEM.

RK
Monday, May 20, 2002

JD-

What job do you want to have after this one?

Which one will get you there?

tangram
Monday, May 20, 2002

Think about how your resume will look after six more months.
Where you are now: Completed start to finish project X, Y, Z. Became team leader. References from head of IT and CEO. Even if the start up fails, that says smart and gets things done.
Compare to: Three months training and then on project team for project A.
Who would you hire?

"There is not much danger that real talent or goodness will be overlooked long" Louisa May Alcott.
From my Celestial Seasonings tea bag.

Doug Withau
Monday, May 20, 2002

I've been working for a large company for the last 10 years, and I absolutely HATE IT!!!!

Prior to that I worked in the IT shop of a small financial institution and loved it. 

The difference is that in the financial company, I had my hands in all aspects of the job.  With the big company, I am given a tiny piece of a larger piece of work.  It's not enjoyable. 

I am in the process of looking for employment in a smaller company that allows me to get back to what I had before.

Stay where you are, and forget about INFY.

Brad Clarke
Monday, May 20, 2002

here is my advice, for what it is worth.

do wtf /you/ want to do, and don't take too much notice of those who are saying "go to the big company, small co's suck"/"go to the small company, big co's suck". all companies suck, but some suck less than others; i don't think we have enough information to say one way or the other which one is better or worse. furthermore, the things that make companies good or bad can mean more or less to different people.

nope
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

I've worked in large and small companies in the US.  (I'm American)  Large companies can offer large problems.  I've worked on systems that truly require more complex solutions because we have scalibility concerns that my smaller companies couldn't offer.

However, smaller companies offer a broader challenge.  When I need something done with the OS (I'm a programmer) I open a case for the sys admin.  When I need something done with the database, I open a case with the dba.

In my smaller companies, I was the sys admin, dba, web master, and developer.  Sometimes I miss the exposure to all those systems.

Anyway, I wouldn't worry about the brand name of the company you work for.  I would look at the money, job security, benefits, and the work.

Matt Woodworth
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

To counter Matt Woodworth (no offense Matt):

Big companies offer big problems.  Small companies offer big problems because *every* problem is a big problem to a small company. :-)

Seriously, I've worked in a big company, a small company, then another big company, then another small company.  They each offer unique advantages.

Big company advantages:  Larger companies are stable.  You know exactly what you're working on.  You can bet you'll be working on that for quite awhile.  There are a lot of opportunities within the company if you want to significantly change your job (there's almost always a job opening for practically any kind of work somewhere in the company).  There's comparatively little employee turnover, so you get to know your coworkers very well.  If you're working in a good group, you can make a lot of lasting friends.  You'll get big-company benefits:  very good insurance and savings plans, a cafeteria, snack machines, etc.  Big companies tend to be low-stress.

Big company disadvantages:  They're resistant to change, which affects almost everything.  Bad co-workers aren't fired easily, inefficiencies aren't addressed quickly, and so on.  The problems with big companies are pretty well documented, so I won't belabor them here.  One thing:  Raises tends to comparatively small.

Small company advantages:  You can learn a huge array of new things in a breathtakingly small time.  Small companies have an energy to them which can excite and inspire.  Change can occur very rapidly; if something isn't working, you can fix it easily.  Small companies tend to pay well.

Small company disadvantages:  It can be surprisingly difficult to move into a role that the company doesn't see a need for (if you're a programmer but want to become a DBA, there may be just no way to do it).  A small company's more vulnerable to economic slumps and/or customer dissatisfaction, so there's a much greater risk of being let go.  Small companies are high-stress environments.

Personally, I highly value the stability that a big company offers, but I also love the energy of a small company.  Which is better?  Neither is better; they're just different.

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

JD, without getting into the big company/small company discussion:

You sound pretty content and even happy with the job you have at the moment. If you do not have to fear that your current company will close down in a few months time, I would stick to it.

Have fun,

Jutta Jordans
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

These decisions are always impossible. There seem to be 3 decision methodologies that work, which one you use is a character thing:

1. Follow the money

2. Follow your heart

3. Stay where you are on the 'better the devil you know' principle

DC
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Thanks a lot for all the feedback.

I got inputs from other forum at Devshed [ where I hang around more ] and there were some *family* factors affecting......so ultimately I will be joining Infosys.

Thanks again,
JD

JD
Friday, May 24, 2002

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