Career Advice

Which Company

  • Option 1: Big 4 Audit Firm

    Votes: 8 21.6%
  • Option 2: Startup Firm

    Votes: 29 78.4%

  • Total voters
    37

Spinal

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Again with my stupid career advice! I've been put in the difficult position of picking between two very different, but very interesting companies... (I do IT sec consultancy btw)

Option 1:
* One of the big 4 audit firms
* £29000 salary (no bonuses, non negotiable)
* Pension matching 5%
* £600 for benefits (very little given that medial alone is almost £700)
* 25 Days holiday (but can buy 5 more at £1300 a day)
* no stock options
* start in October, so 6 weeks of holiday

Option 2:
* Startup company with a large amount of clients being passed onto them via the previous company (~£6m in contracts for the next quarter)
* £28000 base salary (+bonuses based on profit, salary possibly negotiable)
* Medical, dental, life insurances all included
* Pension matching 5%
* 28 days of holiday + an extra day every year of service up to 30
* As a "founding member" of the company, a share in the holdings of the company + stock options within 12 months
* start in September, so 2 weeks of holiday(ish)

I'm really at a loss as to which to choose... The startup seems to offer the bigger immediate gain, but who knows what a Big4 may lead too... that said, if the startup goes well, that may even lead to large gains...

Environment in the startup is people I know and trust, so that's another point in it's favour... but then again, the big guys can't have gotten there without keeping their employees happy... right?

Any advice?
 
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Spinal

Spinal

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Oh, forgot to say... would love to hear from some managers/recruitment people! What would you prefer? Someone with:

3 years as a SysAdmin
1 year as a ITSec consultant in one of the 3 largest software firms in the world

and then:
1/3/5 year(s) in a big 4 audit firm or 1/3/5 years in a startup?

M.
 

iscaboy

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[S-TAG]Environment in the startup is people I know and trust[/S-TAG]


What else do you need to know?
 

rossyl

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Will you be doing the same role in both jobs? Will you be getting further qualifications at either? How strong really is the start-up, chances of failure? What is the quality of the clients at the start-up?

To have one of the big 4 on your CV is always good. But it depends on the quality of this start-up, currently it's sounding a bit too good to be true in comparison with the Big 4 option. I have a tendency not to trust such things.
 

rossyl

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Oh, forgot to say... would love to hear from some managers/recruitment people! What would you prefer? Someone with:

...
M.

Phone up Reed/Hays...etc and ask them their thoughts? You've nothing to lose.
 
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Spinal

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[S-TAG]Environment in the startup is people I know and trust[/S-TAG]
What else do you need to know?
That's the main reason that I am (personally) tending heavily towards the startup; but then again, it's a big decision at this point, and I really don't want to screw it up!

Will you be doing the same role in both jobs? Will you be getting further qualifications at either? How strong really is the start-up, chances of failure? What is the quality of the clients at the start-up?

To have one of the big 4 on your CV is always good. But it depends on the quality of this start-up, currently it's sounding a bit too good to be true in comparison with the Big 4 option. I have a tendency not to trust such things.
That's what concerns me. The Big4 I was told I could expect to become a "senior consultant" in a year. The startup... who knows! I'm expecting a meeting with the CEO of the startup either today or Monday to clarify:
- my exact title (role is a security consultant... at the end of the day, if you're junior, plain or senior doesn't matter as you'll be doing the same job... the only difference is what goes on your cv)
- exact salary/potential for progression/salary negotiation

I was concerned about the startup myself; but we had a town hall meeting yesterday and they seem to have the backing of our old company (which is massive, 17K employees), some investors with quite deep pockets and the clients to boot. Oh, and the experience as the 3 "leaders" had a startup before, which went very well and eventually got bought by the company we all now work for (yes, ironic, I know).

The clients are essentially those I've been working with until now; so fairly large financial institutions and private sector (the plan is to transfer the govt work to another company that has already subcontracted most of the work anyhow).

Phone up Reed/Hays...etc and ask them their thoughts? You've nothing to lose.
Good idea!

M.
 
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mattc

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Option 2 does sound a bit too good to be true but this is not my field of expertise so maybe that's the norm?

£6m of contracts for the next quarter sounds great but where is the revenue coming from after that? The big 4 presumably have revenue streams they can depend on for years to come; what is option 2 doing to secure something similar for you? Its all well and good working with people you trust and we would all prefer that given the choice but where is the ongoing revenue coming from - this is what will kill the business if it dries up.

I dont know your personal circumstances but if you go for the 2nd option what sort of position will you be in if it goes belly up inside 18 months? The 1st option clearly offers a level of security/stability but the potential rewards for the 2nd could set you up very comfortably in later life.

My personal instinct would be to take the gamble if you can afford for it to fail - if you don't you will always regret having not tried and you are only on this planet once.

Good luck whichever way you decide.
 
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Spinal

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Option 2 does sound a bit too good to be true but this is not my field of expertise so maybe that's the norm?

£6m of contracts for the next quarter sounds great but where is the revenue coming from after that? The big 4 presumably have revenue streams they can depend on for years to come; what is option 2 doing to secure something similar for you? Its all well and good working with people you trust and we would all prefer that given the choice but where is the ongoing revenue coming from - this is what will kill the business if it dries up.

I dont know your personal circumstances but if you go for the 2nd option what sort of position will you be in if it goes belly up inside 18 months? The 1st option clearly offers a level of security/stability but the potential rewards for the 2nd could set you up very comfortably in later life.

My personal instinct would be to take the gamble if you can afford for it to fail - if you don't you will always regret having not tried and you are only on this planet once.

Good luck whichever way you decide.

You know, I think I'm going to regret whatever decision I take :p No matter how well either goes, I will always wonder "who knows what would have happened if I joined xxx"

Makes me want to go climbing... or do some Krav Maga... both very destressing and somehow I manage to think clearer when I'm 15m off the ground and about to fall...

M.
 

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How old are you? If you take option 2 and it goes belly up in 18 months can you find a job like option 1.? If you take option 1 and you don't "gel" how many chances are there in the future of finding an option 2 in your market place?

What personal commitments do you have? Mortgage? Wife? Children? etc....if all of these then maybe option 2 is too much of a gamble for you. If none then this may be the only chance of taking option 2 without worrying about others depending on you bringing home a wage etc.

Where do you want to be in your career in 3,5,10 years time - which option would allow you to grow the way you want to?

In other words no one can tell you or advice you which is the best option - you have to weigh up all the pros and cons and then make a decision.
 

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That depends on your age. If you are young, big audit firm. Having worked for a big company will open doors for future employment with any other big company further down in your career. HR people look for employees who have a demonstrated proven ability to work within a large organisation (not everyone can!).

If you do a few jobs for small companies, you might find yourself unemployable by larger ones, and that means sticking to a career within small companies (or run you own business). Not a bad thing by itself, but rather limiting unless you know this is what you want to do.

In contrast, experience with big company, will keep the door open for you to go either way later in life, i.e. the big company route or small company (smaller companies actually like to have people from larger organisation - they bring a lot with them).

If you are over your mid-thirties, then your type of work experience has already been pretty much established - i.e. if you have not worked for larger organisation by now, you probably won't either - and that means you can benefit from quickly rising through ranks as small company expands, as opposed to waiting for ever for promotion in a big company.

Said that - this is obviously a generalisation, there are always exceptions!
 
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Spinal

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Good question! I'm 24, no mortgage, no wife, no children and very few comitments (apart from a large loan at the bank which I used to pay for my masters).

I'm fairly confident I can find an Option1 job in the future... but then again, I think I could start my own company as well as I have done freelance before in Africa. I'm thinking that in 3-7 years I will want to either be managing an IT team or doing freelance consulting... and I that's where the problem lies. Option1 is great for the managing side and Option2 for the freelance side...

That said - I have worked for a big company... my current employer is one of the 3 largest software firms in the world... question is; is 1 year of experience "enough" to keep the door open?

huuuuummmmm.........

M.

P.S. It could be much, much worse and I could have no job whatsoever... so I'm quite grateful either way! I just don't want to screw it up now...
 

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Option 2 sounds more attractive by the minute - at 24 you can afford for it to go wrong. As you get older and your commitments increase you will posibly not have the opportunity again (or be able to take it even if you want to!)
 

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That said - I have worked for a big company... my current employer is one of the 3 largest software firms in the world... question is; is 1 year of experience "enough" to keep the door open?

My view - if future employer sees this on your CV, they will think that the 'big company' scene just didn't work for you.
 

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If I was 24 with no ties, etc. again, I'd probably take a punt on the start-up
If you have secured a big3 offer now, you'll probably get another one.
 
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Spinal

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My view - if future employer sees this on your CV, they will think that the 'big company' scene just didn't work for you.

Actually - that's one thing I'm not too concerned about... my first 3 years were in a medium sized international company that runs schools around the world and then the last year in an absolutely massive company.

Should someone from a large company ask my why I'm going back, it would be simple to say "I got moved to a small company from a large company, and now I'm seeking to get back into a large corporate environment".

Add to that the fact that although I would be working for a small company, 80% of my time would be spent with clients, which are truly massive. Just throwing some names around from companies that have agreed to having their names made public, I've worked on projects involving the FT, ING Investment, Xstrata... and those are just companies that have agreed to being case studies for our adverts...

It does feel like an opportunity I should seize... (Danger Opportunity anyone?) but I do want to see if I can negotiate on the salary... just in case it does go all t*ts up! I need to somehow repay the bank a small fortune...

M.
 

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at your age, option 2 is a no-brainer
 

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That said - I have worked for a big company... my current employer is one of the 3 largest software firms in the world... question is; is 1 year of experience "enough" to keep the door open?

No, I would not say so. Especially if this start-up flops, that'll make it look even worse.

I'd go option one.

Once you have solid foundations you can try and be a bit more risky, at the moment with only a year with the big boys, i wouldn't say that you did.
 

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The question is which one do you really want to work for. The choice is yours alone to make, so decide and go for it with all the enthusiasm you can muster.
 
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I go with Oldcro. There is an element of risk in either choice. You could be joining the blue-chip and see the Option 2 turn out to be the next Google. Option 2 could equally turn our to be a disaster.

A nice, but not so nice conundrum to have.
 

lxi

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elaborating this a bit: "Startup company with a large amount of clients being passed onto them via the previous company (~£6m in contracts for the next quarter)" isn't a start-up in the conventional sense.

Being in at the start is the only way to see serious returns - big4 pay well for sure but it's a salaried job.

In a smaller outfits the spectrum of involvement is much wider, so although you may not develop the "warm handshake and mohair suit straight down from Kings's" you will see much more of the bigger picture.

and if it all went **t's up, he has age on his side - I spent many years in this game and some of my best "hires" were the ones that had taken the risk with real-world experience
 

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