There’s a myth that surrounds the business world, and it’s that if you want stability, you go to a corporation—companies that have been around for decades that have the resources and capital to do big things, and that will likely be around for years to come. “Likely.”
These companies are doing some incredible things, don’t get me wrong. Each person has their path and their goals and their dreams, and sometimes it involves a corporation. But if we want to talk stability, these corporations are just as vulnerable as startups.
The Destabilization of Corporations
There are numerous corporations in recent years that have shown some vulnerability, proving that startups aren’t the only risky move in business. Sure, startups are certainly a risk, but there’s the saying “the higher the climb the further the fall.”
From airline mergers to the expansion oflike razors, contacts, dinners, and clothes, as well as the growing ease of starting a company in the digital age, people are finding new ways to work.
And with the growth of startups comes the threat to traditional business practices that have previously served corporations very well. Consumers now have greater options, and these options are coming from companies that are changing long-held beliefs on what business is. Whether it’s choosingover the glasses giant Luxottica or choosing local when possible, consumers are adopting this new type of business as quickly as businesses launch.
The Growth of Startup Culture
There are also challenges in a growing startup. How do you hold onto the tenets of a nimble company making quick decisions when it scales? How do you keep your employee-focused culture and the perks that make many startups enviable when your number ofhas tripled?
The stories of founders selling companies for millions of dollars makes the startup community enticing, but the news also doesn’t cover the failures founders have along the way or the risks they took to make their companies successful.
Both sides of this discussion have the same problem: it can all go away tomorrow. That shouldn’t scare us, though. It should invigorate us. It should keep us moving and growing as people are looking for the next product or service to create.
The Stability Challenge
So we’ve talked through the good and bad of corporations and startups, but what now? Is it bad to crave stability? Not at all. But can I challenge you on something? Or rather, can a friend of mine challenge you?
A few months ago a friend and I were talking about our careers over drinks, and I made a comment about how I wasn’t sure that I should take a chance on a small but rapidly growing agency across the country and instead find a job here in Nashville with a larger, established agency.
He responded with this: is a larger company more stable? Any company can go under, and any agency could suddenly lose all clients and be forced to close down.
And that myth continues that if you want a crazy and exciting career, you choose the startup life. It’s certainly those things, but there are also the boring days, long hours and. A corporation can offer you more resources, but they are also less nimble and have more levels of management.
So, Corporations or Startups?
It comes down to this: Nothing is certain in this world, so do what you love and don’t let the illusion of stability guide your choices.
Is it bad that you want your startup to grow and take your industry over and become a big player? Not at all. But don’t be fooled by the myth that you’ll be stable and nothing can take you down when you reach that point.
Focus on what you can do now to set yourself up for success later, and know that you’re doing what you can. That uncomfortable feeling is motivating and you can use it to push through those days you want to give up.
Wherever you go in your career, know that what you choose is the best decision for you, and that you’re creating your own unique path. If you feel like the startup lifestyle isn’t for you and you want to work within a corporation, do it.
The most important thing is to push ourselves to be the best we can be. And do something that scares you. The instability of a startup looking for funding scare you? Maybe turn down that job at a Fortune 500 company and take the job that may not last more than a year or two. I can guarantee that you’ll grow more than you thought possible and learn some lessons, both big and small.