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Jess Lee (she/her)
Jess Lee (she/her)

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Do you prefer startup or corporate life?

Discussion (38)

itachiuchiha profile image
Itachi Uchiha

IMHO, Startup life is better than corporate life.

If you work for a company, your working hours already defined :P

You might think everything is good because everything is clear. Your managers always saying "flexible working hours". But there are no flexible vacations. I think people are who work for companies feels like "I'm a robot".

But also your salary guaranteed. You don't need to think about what if your company fail this month.

On the other hand,

If you work for startups, you have to work a lot until your startup successful. Maybe your salary isn't enough if you compare with companies.

But I'm sure you enjoy more than companies. There should be a soul in startups. You and your teammates are should be hungry for success.

End of the day, you still have questions on how we can more successful and productive.

At least, these are the thing what we learned from my friends who work for startups and companies.

These are my thoughts. Maybe all of them is wrong.

bhupesh profile image
Bhupesh Varshney 👾

Besides that everyone can share a point of view for the success of start-up compared to corporates 🤪

maciekchmura profile image
Maciek Chmura

I work at a big company and I feel like an unnamed cog in a machine.
I would love to try my best at a startup surrounded by people who care.

codingsam profile image
Coding Sam

Why don't you do it? :)

maciekchmura profile image
Maciek Chmura

Last week I updated my Linkedin and CV. Now I am starting the search :)

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codingsam profile image
Coding Sam

Hell yeah! I wish you the best 👊

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maciekchmura profile image
Maciek Chmura

Right now I am sitting in the lobby and waiting for an interview. It will take 1,5 hour 😬😬😬

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codingsam profile image
Coding Sam

Awesome. I hope everything goes well. If not, don't worry, there's plenty fish in the sea :)

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maciekchmura profile image
Maciek Chmura

Thank you ;)

ash_backspace profile image
Ashley Grantham

Same feeling. In the corporate world, you're just another number. In the start-up realm you have a name.

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

I've never worked for a startup. I've worked for small businesses (which is what they used to be called) and enjoyed the small team environment. I haven't enjoyed chasing my money and missing rent payments because of bad management.

I don't think I'd work for a startup unless I had enough money to cover a few months' rent - which is also the main reason I wouldn't be a contractor. There's stability in corporation.

In terms of lifestyle, a small team in a big company can be pretty much the same as a small team that is the company, but in terms of, I don't know, personal development maybe? it can be wildly different.

adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett • Edited

Corporate for me, we all do "work from home" on Friday which is very convenient and you never do overtime. Call me crazy but id rather do my own stuff at home in my own time, not constantly worried for my future.

antjanus profile image
Antonin Januska

I would say I like aspects of both so any company that can blend the best of both has my vote. What I mean by that:

  1. ability to shift technology and use modern tools -- meaning that you're not stuck writing 1997 Java
  2. flexible schedule + remote work
  3. if working at an office, an office with cublicles or individual offices (please no open floorplans!)
  4. health, 401K, and other benefits
  5. competitive salary
  6. exciting product or at least a product I'd be excited to work on
  7. well-funded or with a good profitable business model

Do companies like that exist? Yes, absolutely. I've worked at several companies that offered benefits, good salary, great focus on technology, and so on.

andreirusu_ profile image
Andrei Rusu • Edited

It depends where you are in your life. I've had both for more than 10 years now in different countries. I think I can say I have had quite a bit of the glamour of the startup life for a while in Amsterdam. It was great for a while - Friday beer, company events, boat trips on the canals and not to mention the location was right in the middle of the historical canal ring!

Then after a few good years everything came to an abrupt end and I was left with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. But then we moved to Norway and I worked for a company which was in between a startup and a corporation. It was alright, but I was missing the sense of living in the present so I tried the startup life again some time later - this time it was partly in Oslo, partly in Geneva (at CERN), but I couldn't see myself enjoying the startup life anymore and after only a few months I got the hell out of there and started working as an independent contractor, mainly for large corporations in the Oslo area.

I have to say this is the most fulfilling type of job I've had so far, because I have enough financial flexibility to work on various personal projects and also by working with large corporations as a bit of an outsider you don't get to become just a piece of a machinery. You are still working for yourself. The only problem of course is job security and continuity, but so far I have managed somehow.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I don't think I'd much enjoy this kind of corporate life...

But I can't say I wouldn't mind experiencing the big company thing at some point later in life in the right situation. I'd have fun being in charge of some kind of "lab" situation, like an experimental wing of the corporation with lots of freedom to try things with some budget you don't get on your own.

I also know that that sort of truly fulfilling situation is pretty rare and the grass is always greener. So I'm pretty happy with what I'm currently up to. 😄

(It would be really concerning for DEV if I wasn't, TBH)

bvmcode profile image

I'll take the security of corporate life and then try to make the best of the opportunities within it. I think generally (generally being the key word), you have better hours and more security within a long standing company and though the work may be more red-tape-laden and not as exciting, there should be opportunity to do good things and expand.

This coming from a guy that has 0 startup experience.

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

I prefer a startup due to the learning environment and the talented people you are surrounded with than being in a corporate environment.

It might be that I grow up in not conforming to authority figures while I was young.

Lastly being conscripted in the army burn away my love for anything related to bureaucracy & red tapes to get things done regardless of whatever the obstacle is presented.

adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett • Edited

I'm talented and corporate. But that's Dyson for you. We are engineering focused so it comes down to the company.

flexdinesh profile image
Dinesh Pandiyan • Edited

A bit of both. I would want startup life if I'm in a place where I could do things on my own with less supervision and be adventurous and ambitious. But I'd prefer to be in a corporate (established) ecosystem if I'm starting from scratch and would want massive peer support to grow. The latter is only because corporate lifestyle is a bit laid back and there's no you gotta run everyday pressure. So there's more stability and people have more time to help and nourish you.

P.S. I don't mean that you can't get that in a startup ecosystem. But given the records, it's more likely in corporates than startups.

djoleb profile image
Djordje Bajic

Startup life FTW!

More dynamic environment, a lot of challenges, you must work on multiple things, not just what is your expertise.

sydneylai profile image

Wooo Startup V Corporate life are very different:

If you like more freedom, autonomy, entrepreneurial ownership, 80/20 rule of "good enough to ship" then startups are a more appropriate work environment.

If you like more stability, resources and a clear job description then corporate is better.

I myself have worked in both environments and I love working at startups but enjoy collaborating with corporate sponsors in community events. So I do a bit of both.

elliot profile image

I've worked at one startup and a few corporate places.

A startup requires a fair amount of personal dedication and belief in the company and it's mission. You have to be able to get along with everyone around you and confront any problems that come up. It is not easy to work at a startup. You will feel both constant pressure, but also constant support from your coworkers. It is an amazing feeling to go through the journey of growing a company with your coworkers (who quickly become your friends).

My corporate jobs have been a lot more comfortable and laid back. You don't have people constantly pushing you to be better. You have people asking you to meet expectations. You will probably have much better pay and benefits which can be important if you are focusing on family instead of career.

I think if you want to push yourself and grow as a professional, you will gain much more from a startup. Right now I prefer startup life :)

hellovietduc profile image
Duc Nguyen

"You don't have people constantly pushing you to be better." - This is so true! People just care about your work results. They won't tell you to go study this one new technology because it'll help you in your skills but because it'll be used in the next project.

highcenburg profile image
Vicente G. Reyes

I've worked with 2 startups but mostly doing sales. I think I prefer corporate first before startup just to understand what happens in the corporate world as a dev.

codingsam profile image
Coding Sam • Edited

I used to work at big companies. I am working at a startup for the last 8 months and it is being an awesome experience. The team is small so you have more responsibilities and people actually hear you. Your work has more impact on the product.
I was afraid when I got the offer but in the end I accepted. You don't have too much to lose. If it goes bankrupt you will not struggle with finding another job (I am a developer so I can only talk about my side of things).
Sometimes I have to work long hours but it is not that often (you do this also in big companies).
It's not perfect (there is no such thing as the perfect job) and it's not for everyone but I strongly advice you to try, because again, you don't have too much to lose. 👊

taragrg6 profile image

The mind set of people in startup are like: need to make it happen at any cost. If you are one in the team, you automatically get that vibes.

In corporate you just go and work. Try to meet the deadline.

I would prefer a big corporate build from scratch and have their own product to work on. Such corporate are always working to make their product better unlike corporation where they just serve the client

lepinekong profile image

I started to work as employee of a big corp at the beginning of PC era. One day the IT big boss came and said PC has no future, and we should go back to Vax (the dominant computer system at that time). I was shocked by his lack of vision, so I quit and promised to never work as employee of a big company again. So I refused a few jobs later in these big corps, but since only them have money to pay big salaries, I still have to work for consulting companies who put me to work inside big corps but at least I wasn't directly managed by a big corp and so I could laugh about all their inefficiencies, especially when they supposedly become "agile" :)

I have also known startups during dotcom as I had a company myself but they were only clients, I never went to work as employee for them. Problem with startup especially in France, is that they're are not stable, they can explode with a market crash due to lack of liquidity, nevertheless if you're young, not married and with kids yet, you can take the risk to work there: you'll learn 10 times faster than going in a big corp. And in fact, when I needed to recruit someone for a project in big corps, I liked to choose a developer from a startup, he has the chance to be much more productive than the others ;)

jaakidup profile image
Jaaki • Edited


Ok, startup has freedom to do whatever, you're working for shared goals, driven by passion. But it's also tough, tougher than hell. Probably long hours, constantly thinking up ways to improve. Thinking, did I do the right thing?

Corporate is stable paycheck for soulless work so that the the CEO can buy his tenth beach house, that you probably won't get invited to stay at!

Once you've become accustomed to the wilderness, sitting in a cage doesn't look so good.

Anyways, when I spend X hours a day perfecting something, I'd really like to call it my own at the end of the day.

martin profile image
Martin Beentjes

If I prefer startup or corporate life is dependent on the culture within the employer you are working for.

I work for a big company. But I work in a small team (10 people per team) which is part of a bigger department which is part of a bigger company which is part of an even bigger company.

I want to work at a company where a startup culture lives. Transparancy and a flat organizational structure is important. We as a team are the most knowledgable about the product we build and therefore we can make many decisions. We know who we need to make the right decision. I am not simply going to do work that is given to me.

I want to work for a company with a startup mindset, working lean where failure is also a success if learnt from.

sunnysingh profile image
Sunny Singh

Although my professional work experience is still limited, I have worked in both and definitely prefer startups.

At a startup, it's much easier to care about the work that you do, become recognized for the work that you do, and suggest/implement changes if something within the company isn't working well (e.g. deployment process).

Is this still possible in a large corporation? Sure. But it's usually difficult to see how your work plays a part of the bigger picture, and the process is so comfortable for many that suggesting anything new will typically become shut down.

promozseo profile image
Soumya Roy

I started up long back in 2011. And from my experience, I can tell that starting up was one of my best decisions so far.

But you need a lot of #passion, #consistency, #never-give-up attitude, and #learning for sure.

perigk profile image
Periklis Gkolias

I have done both and found value to both. The experience varies from company to company and person to person.

Though I believe the two things that stand up are:

  • In startups, you have more say and an exponential rate of learning, as you have more responsibilities in your day-to-day than an average big corp employee that has the same level of experience with you.
  • In corporate life, things are more predictable if you "just do your job and do it well". Politics exist, but if you dont get actively involved to dirty tricks (but still use common sense) or you are not extremely ambitious to be considered a threat, usually you can have set the foundation for a relatively quiet life (well, yes, this depends on many factors).
joehobot profile image
Joe Hobot • Edited

Depends, if corporate is still somewhat startupish in mind, then I don’t prefer either or .Otherwise I would prefer startup over corporate for many reasons one being just a badge #24214

sm0ke profile image

Startup. The learning path is exponential.

veebuv profile image
Vaibhav Namburi

Each to their own, I thrive in chaos and in an area with a sense of urgency. Which doesn't happen too often in corporate vs startup land :)

lscarneiro profile image
Luiz Eduardo Carneiro

Startup for the learning curve and speed.
Corporate for compensation.

At least in Brazil, it's pretty easy to give your life for a startup and be barely get paid.

swlkr profile image
Sean Walker


romainlt profile image
Romain Lt

Startup, because the atmosphere is better, we learn more and we can learn what we want, i think we have less pressure, and more flexibility with projects and work schedules :D !