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Corporate Vs Sme

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I recently started a new job at a corporate, which is what I wanted after a lifetime of SMEs.

Great company and great people, so far so good. However, I am used to and good at a much greater workload, and I find the pace of change ludicrously slow. I am also used to being far more self reliant and in charge, it took a week to find the person with the right permissions to make a small change.

Because of these concerns I am interviewing next week at a decent SME that would put me back in charge of the external agencies, marketing and customer comms. Bigger workload.

It was a big leap to get a corporate on the CV, should I even think about jumping ship so soon? Is it better to give the Corp at least six months to see if I can improve things?

I presently feel to demoted, and the SME would fix this. It is also in the industry I really want to be in, but, but, how many times have I been passed over in the past for not having a corporate on the CV, it's a big deal to throw that away.

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Well, I was in a slightly different position.

Worked for an SME and then taken over by a corporate. Not huge, but still a lot bigger than we were.

Problem is in corporates you get your serious politics. In the SME it was management by experience. People respected you for your technical knowledge and ability to get the job done.

In the corporate it was more management by coercion/fear. It seemed to me that the people at the top got there by behaving like psychopaths.

The SME was also tech heavy at the top end. A bit disorganised and crap systems. Sales relatively poor. The corporate was sales heavy at the top end. Good systems, but the whole company seemed to surf forward on a wave of ********, a clear demonstration that in any business you need balance at the top, with both sales and tech present.

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Well, I was in a slightly different position.

Worked for an SME and then taken over by a corporate. Not huge, but still a lot bigger than we were.

Problem is in corporates you get your serious politics. In the SME it was management by experience. People respected you for your technical knowledge and ability to get the job done.

In the corporate it was more management by coercion/fear. It seemed to me that the people at the top got there by behaving like psychopaths.

The SME was also tech heavy at the top end. A bit disorganised and crap systems. Sales relatively poor. The corporate was sales heavy at the top end. Good systems, but the whole company seemed to surf forward on a wave of ********, a clear demonstration that in any business you need balance at the top, with both sales and tech present.

Well said that slug.

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Well, I was in a slightly different position.

Worked for an SME and then taken over by a corporate. Not huge, but still a lot bigger than we were.

Problem is in corporates you get your serious politics. In the SME it was management by experience. People respected you for your technical knowledge and ability to get the job done.

In the corporate it was more management by coercion/fear. It seemed to me that the people at the top got there by behaving like psychopaths.

The SME was also tech heavy at the top end. A bit disorganised and crap systems. Sales relatively poor. The corporate was sales heavy at the top end. Good systems, but the whole company seemed to surf forward on a wave of ********, a clear demonstration that in any business you need balance at the top, with both sales and tech present.

I am sales and marketing but pay a lot more attention to tech than most marketers I have met, I just think I have more value to an SME, I can cold call, sell in, design, project manage, plus look after the budget and negotiate a good agreement. In the corp, this is all split out into different departments. Mind you, in an SME there is no hiding from bad management, or a bad job, where is in the big corp I am seeing that you can duck, dive, pass the buck or hide in the toilet for a few years.

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If you feel you are under-utilised by the corporate, you can make a good impression by doing your work well; it may provide an opportunity for fast promotion that SMEs are less likely to be able to offer. Leaving any job after a short period looks poor on a CV. Stick with it and give it a chance.

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If you feel you are under-utilised by the corporate, you can make a good impression by doing your work well; it may provide an opportunity for fast promotion that SMEs are less likely to be able to offer. Leaving any job after a short period looks poor on a CV. Stick with it and give it a chance.

Dead right. You've got to stay for at least 6 months, a year or two would be better, to show that you are reliable and responsible enough to see the job through. Short stints on a CV don't look good. The alternatives are walk away now and drop it from your CV or stick at it and see if you can make the job work out for you. It may just be the culture shock.

I always found in a large corporate you were a small fish in a big pond whereas in an SME it was the other way round. FWIW I always preferred life in a smaller organisation.

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Dead right. You've got to stay for at least 6 months, a year or two would be better, to show that you are reliable and responsible enough to see the job through. Short stints on a CV don't look good. The alternatives are walk away now and drop it from your CV or stick at it and see if you can make the job work out for you. It may just be the culture shock.

I always found in a large corporate you were a small fish in a big pond whereas in an SME it was the other way round. FWIW I always preferred life in a smaller organisation.

I agree. I think you have to sample both environments before you can see the benefits/drawbacks of both and make your choice.

Personally I think it is easier to go from a large corporate to an SME than the other way round.

If you "grow up" in a large corporate you get to learn politics when you are a meek and mild beginner, so the chances of you putting a foot wrong are less. I think if you go into a large corporate after many years at an SME, it's easy to fall foul of the politics and your career is then trashed.

If you are good at what you do and confident in yourself then I think an SME/working for yourself is the place to be.

If you're great at politics and management then maybe a corporate is a better place to be.

To the OP, if you really are so multi skilled and can walk the walk as well as talk the talk then maybe you should consider your own business.

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I don't do well on my own, a missing piece of the jigsaw.

Politics are to be avoided, but I think it is the boredom that is going to have me running back to an SME.

What I think it is, is a guy who was supposed to leave but didn't, and he is just in my way with a skipful of buzzword bingo. People don't do much. This, I think, is infuriating to an SMEer!

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I don't do well on my own, a missing piece of the jigsaw.

Politics are to be avoided, but I think it is the boredom that is going to have me running back to an SME.

What I think it is, is a guy who was supposed to leave but didn't, and he is just in my way with a skipful of buzzword bingo. People don't do much. This, I think, is infuriating to an SMEer!

I have had the same experience going from a SME to corporate. I was taken on to complete a specific project, on the first day I had a meeting with the boss and we went over the project. He asked how long I thought it would take and I said 2 weeks tops, he said really we were thinking more like 8 months.

In the end it did indeed take 8 months, the actual work took 2 weeks but 7 and 1/2 months of meetings, getting sign off and various other corporate rubbish.

Initially it drove me mental, basically doing nothing for weeks on end waiting for a meeting to arrive before I could actually get on with anything. Got used to it eventually and spent 3 years there in the end. Now back in SME.

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I have had the same experience going from a SME to corporate. I was taken on to complete a specific project, on the first day I had a meeting with the boss and we went over the project. He asked how long I thought it would take and I said 2 weeks tops, he said really we were thinking more like 8 months.

In the end it did indeed take 8 months, the actual work took 2 weeks but 7 and 1/2 months of meetings, getting sign off and various other corporate rubbish.

Initially it drove me mental, basically doing nothing for weeks on end waiting for a meeting to arrive before I could actually get on with anything. Got used to it eventually and spent 3 years there in the end. Now back in SME.

Thanks for this, it's spot on what's going on! Interview with SME tonight...

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Well the interview with the SME made me want to stay at the corporate. A good thing I think.

I also think I might be hooked on the adrenaline of job hunting, which is new!

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Leave the corporate job before it sucks the will to live out of you. Big corporates are fully of sociopaths in the middle to top management tiers. I've done 10 years in corporate now and I just wish I'd left after the first four. Comfort and convenience made me stay too long. I'm now totally demotivated and really don't want to continue my career. Couldn't give a toss if I was fired / redunderized tomorrow.

Leave. Just leave. Now.

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Have done both - I worked for Tesco.com and also for two web development agencies (the rest of the time self employed)

What I would say is:

I don't think you can beat the job satisfaction that comes from working at an SME in a small team. Everything you do matters. You gain the respect of the team around you.

The corporate environment feels "boxed in", that you can only contribute so much of what you're capable of. It's also usually riddled with a certain amount of politics which drives me mad (I'm into politics, just not the office type).

That said, a good SME team with a good leader is a joy to work at. Conversely there's little worse than being in a small team of people who don't get on or who have a dreadful boss.

I'd say that if you wanted to go back to an SME role now there's no reason not to - and be truthful about the reasons why. If you don't get the job, nobody need know. If you do get the job and you were only at the corporate so briefly that the gap on your CV won't notice nobody need know about that either.

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SME as in a small company but not a startup? I worked for a startup and found it to be difficult to cope with. Don't reckon I'd fancy a big corporate... I work for a big company but our office is a smaller one based in another country so we get a stable company plus the nice feeling of a small team.

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