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Underrated: Working for a “Normal” Company

For those of you who are in the earlier stages of your career or maybe aren’t working in tech yet, I bet that you have a goal in mind. The goal is to work for a “tech” company.

But I’m not writing this just to see if my assumptions are correct.

I don’t want to discourage you if your goal is go work for a big tech company like one of the FAANG companies. If that’s your dream, you should absolutely go for it. But… before you make that decision, it’s probably a good idea to truly evaluate whether or it’s actually the type of career you WANT.

Most people just assume that working for a tech company is the right answer or maybe the only answer when it comes to having a career in the tech space, but there are so many other options, and today I’m going to share with you why working for a “normal” company might just be the career path for you.

So, let me just get into the meat of it. Here are 4 solid reasons you might choose to work for a normal company instead of a tech company.

Stability and security

Have you seen the tech industry job market lately? Yeah, not so hot. Unfortunately for people that work for tech companies, it has been and will always be a bit of a rollercoaster.

These companies tend to be pretty “boom and bust”, and have proven to be like this since the very beginning. On the other hand, there are hundreds of thousands of medium size normal companies out there that have IT departments and digital marketing teams that are responsible for all the tech stuff. Jobs at places like this don’t follow the same trends as the tech industry. They have a completely different target market and continue to operate at full speed while the tech industry is laying people off at a breakneck pace.

To add to that, from my personal experience, small and medium size companies tend to care about their employees just a little more than big tech. I don’t want you to think that any company out there is going to go out of its way to keep your job around when the revenue starts to slide, but there are plenty of places that will try way harder than the big tech companies.

Better work-life balance

Maybe some of you are really looking forward to putting in an absurd amount of hours at work and dedicating your life to furthering your career, but I’m willing to bet that most of you prefer to have a balance where you work hard during work hours and then stop working to continue your normal life.

One thing you’ll find with big tech companies is that many of them simply expect you to work way outside of a normal work schedule to meet deadlines or further your career. On the other hand, working for a normal company usually comes with normal expectations for how much you work. For example, at my job (which is one of these normal companies) it’s pretty frowned upon if you are found working nights and weekends except for extremely rare occasions.

I don’t know about you, but for me, that is an amazing benefit. I know that I can be done working at a normal time and nobody is going to look down on me for doing that.

Opportunities for growth

This one is going to come with a healthy dose of a reality check. Big tech companies pay big tech money and expect their employees to perform at a very high level. For 99% of the planet, this means that while you might feel like you are doing above-average work, it’s just normal work at these places. Moving up the ladder at a tech company is hard and very competitive. In most cases, there are several people with your exact job title and description. They are all trying to move up and that means while you are working alongside these people, you are also competing against them.

In contrast, working for a normal company allows you to stand out. A lot of times, you’ll be part of a very small group of similar job titles or possibly one of one in a position you hold. When you put in hard work people are way more likely to notice. In general, doing the right thing and getting stuff done will gain you recognition. People will know your name!

All of that leads to a much easier path to you getting a promotion or that job title you’ve always wanted. Sure, the pay probably won’t be as good, but is that all that really matters to you? Really think about that before you jump in head first to the big tech job market.

A broader range of work

This one is my absolute favorite when it comes to working for a more traditional company. I think that as tech people, we really enjoy the challenge of solving the puzzle. Taking on a new and unknown task and just figuring out the best way to get the results.

When you work for big tech, at least when you first start, you won’t really be given opportunities to take on some new task. In most cases, you will be a cog in the machine. You’ll be improving some process or fixing bugs or just generally moving things forward incrementally.

On the other hand, at a traditional, small to medium size company, you’ll find that they are constantly looking for people to step up and solve a problem. They aren’t going to pin you into your specific job if you are volunteering to take a broader problem and solve it. This means that you can take the opportunity to recommend new tech and propose totally new things as long as it helps them solve their problems. This leads to even more opportunities for growth and recognition.

So hopefully I’ve given you a little bit of info here that will you in your decision-making process. Like a said earlier, my intention here is not to discourage your from going after your goals. It’s really more to help you get an understanding that working for a big tech company isn’t for everyone. At the end of the day, if you are going to spend nearly a third of your life working you should try your best to think about the kind of place that you actually want to work. What type of environment do you thrive in? What type of expectations do you have from your employer?

And just in case you haven’t found this totally obvious at this point, many of these thoughts and opinions come from my own personal experience. I’m really interested to hear from those of you who work for a larger tech company or just completely disagree. Leave a comment below and let everyone watching this video know about your work experience. What do you think about working for big tech versus a smaller more traditional company?

Until next time, happy coding!