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What's the difference Between a Corporate Office and a StartUp?

Steve Jobs once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

With the growing popularity of startup culture being romanticized in the media, a duel between  “traditional corporate” and startup companies has emerged. But the question is: What are the benefits and downfalls of each career field? A startup environment may promote a self-starter mentality within an employee. On the other hand a corporate setting promotes structure within an employee. There are many factors within each field that play into which environment is more beneficial to the employee and the company as a whole.

The culture of both a startup and a corporate office varies. Within a startup there is a more laid back culture that allows certain perks to be a part of its overall culture and environment; typically these perks are catered toward the forward thinking, young individual. For example, Facebook has a barbershop on its campus that offers up free hair services to all staff. While some startup perks may be a little more reasonable, but still fun, such as offering booze in the breakroom. A corporate office, on the other hand, offers more streamlined, long term conscious perks, such as life insurance and a 401k, sometimes even a gym membership.  Although some may argue that a corporate office’s perks may benefit an employee in the long run, the inclusive culture of recognition within a startup may be more alluring.

Both a start up and a corporate office have a certain amount of flexibility. According to a case study performed by Corps Team, 73% of working adults agree that flexibility is one of the most important factors when looking for a new job or deciding which company to work for. A startup will generally allow a fair amount of flexibility. Within a startup, an employee may start as a salesperson, and then the next month be a coder, depending on the company’s needs at the time. A startup also typically offers more flexibility when it comes to a work/life balance as well as vacation time. However, within a corporate setting, an employee is given a certain area to work within, tasks will generally be repetitive and stable, and vacation time/work hours are pre-set and typically concrete.

There is of course the question of job security. How will the environment one chooses to work in impact their future? When working for a corporate office that is well established, more security and less of an instance of unpredictability or change can be expected. Studies reveal that 75% of every startup fails. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S Department of Labor and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a not-for-profit concern that encourages U.S entrepreneurship, while approximately 60% of startups manage to endure only up to the age of three, only about 35% survive until the age of 10.

Ultimately, the choice of startup vs. corporate boils down to one question: Is the environment of a startup or a corporate office going to be more beneficial to employee engagement and retention as a whole?