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Gabrielle had discovered ways to identify firms with a large number of employees. Our next step was to have to explore the growing job market in small firms. Looking into small firms may strike some people as unappealing. An image of the low-skill, low-pay, low-prestige job seems to persist despite significant
evidence to the contrary. Some people still limit themselves to large firms with wellknown names, even though many of these companies are downsizing.
We will look into this perception problem. Then we will leam how to access this growing but hard to identify market.
Some of the members were discussing their outreach strategy. "I am going to focus on the Fortune 500," Jeannette said "I want to play ball in the big leagues." Bill had a similar view, but with a different reason. "After busting my tail to do well in college, 1 don't plan to tell my friends that I work for Mom & Pop
Enterprises. I deserve better." Lauren seemed to agree. "We have emphasized the value of research. It has to be easier to identify and research large firms than small firms. Mom & Pop Enterprises may not even publish an annual report."
I listened carefully to what the members were saying. Given my job as a career professional, I accept everyone's feelings about a job situation without passing judgment. However, it is also important that people base their feelings on accurate information. Here are some of the ideas I shared with them to help them see a fuller picture of the big employer / small employer reality.
The value of prestige : There may well be more prestige in working for a well-known firm and well-known usually means large. But once you start working, the substance of your job and your working environment will be the critical factors. The value of prestige tends to pale by comparison. Big is better-known, but not necessarily better for you.
Compensation : Big salaries go with big companies at the top of the ladder, but not necessarily on the first rung. Sometimes we read about a senior executive of a large firm making millions of dollars in compensation. But how many seven-figure salaries are there and what would it cost you in terms of your lifestyle to get there? Overall, compensation packages for the typical employee vary among big businesses as well as small. Generalizing based on firm size may be a major mistake.
Mobility : There has long been a feeling that having the name of a well-known employer on your resume would be an asset in moving to a new job. This was often true, partly because every large firm had a corporate bureaucracy with jobs similar to those in other firms.
Whatever its previous merit, this idea is probably less valid today….. Large employers are downsizing in general and cutting corporate bureaucracies in particular. Big corporations are reorganizing into smaller, more directly accountable business units that are beginning to resemble small businesses.
Today, successful experience with a small firtn may lead to broader responsibilities and greater job mobility than being a corporate bureaucrat for a large firm.
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