Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bigger Not Always Better


I had a brief thought today about the difference in working for a small company rather than a large corporation.  It crossed my mind because I needed to do just a bit of work from home, and though I had a hard copy of the necessary document, I decided electronic was really the way to go.  So, I logged in to my work computer via LogMeIn and did what I needed to do.  But slowly.  It’s so mind-numbingly painstakingly slow to do anything through that connection.  It made me wish for the technology of my last job, and its true remote server access, and how you might even have a dedicated laptop already loaded with company software.  The only thing slowing you down then was whatever ISP you happened to be using at the time.  Oh, those were the days.

But then I remembered all the bad things that came along with access to that technology.  Starting with the idea that that sort of access was necessary because people needed to do work from home a lot.  Now, I stay late at my current job pretty frequently, and sometimes I even go in early, but it’s pretty darn rare that I still end up with carry-home work.  My last job I also stayed late and went in early, but it wasn’t at all unusual to still have work at least on my days off, and sometimes even just in between leaving one shift and going back the next day.  I don’t miss that part of it.

And then there was the stress.  I think I might’ve said before that our senior partner is very firmly planted in the “A Type” column, so he can be demanding—and sometimes downright cranky—more often than he probably needs to be.  I’ve seen him make more than one employee cry on more than one occasion, and people walk on egg shells hoping they’re not the ones who’ll have to give him bad news on any given day (Last week I had to break the news that we lost a summary judgment; yuck.).  And then there are the clients with crazy questions and sometimes crying of their own.  And all the rules—who ever knew there were so many rules to follow when you’re suing someone?  I mean, even the font type and size?  Please, how much can it possibly matter?  But it’s all critically important if you want to do your very best for your client.  So, in a nutshell, there’s a lot going on on an given day.  But I still say that when it comes to stress, the worst day I’ve had here is better than the best day at my old job.  That might not all be because of big employers vs. small, but I think it has a lot to do with it.

And why does that matter?  I think it’s because I always feel like a person at my small firm.  With my larger employer, I mostly felt like a number, and, honestly, that’s not such a good feeling.

Truly, the only place the big company wins is money.  There’s no denying that larger companies, by and large, have a greater ability to pay a decent wage.  I’m currently working for not quite half of what I made at the larger company, and you gotta admit, that’s a pretty hefty percentage to give up.

But, you know what?  It’s worth it.