I spent the vast majority of my career thus far, working in small to mid-size companies. I always carried a bit of trepidation about working for multi-national conglomerates, so I stayed in my comfort zone. In retrospect, this wasn’t unlike how I chose where I was going to go to college back in the day. I was hesitant to go to a huge school and sit in a lecture hall with 500 strangers, mainly since I came from a smaller high school. Something about being lost in a sea of bodies was particularly offsetting to me, and this carried into my career.
Living in a Small Pond
Working in small companies, I had the chance to know my co-workers on a more personal level. It was also more comfortable to build relationships and move things through the decision tree process. If I needed to prod something along in Tech for a recruiting effort, going to the CTO and sitting down for coffee was as easy as me typing on this keyboard. In essence, the access was always there.
If I had technical issues, I’d parade myself down one floor to the support team and get the help of people whom I’d most likely sourced and hired into the company. One could liken it to the FastPass at Disney parks – straight to the front of the line. The same can be said for any system and procedural issues, whether that is a busted CRM, a benefits data snafu, or just getting office supplies, it was all at my fingertips.
The flip side of this, of course, is that with visibility comes accountability. There’s nowhere to hide in a small company when you mess up. You have to own it because there isn’t anyone else to pin it on. It seems trivial, and in most cases, I felt that was a good thing because it kept me on my game.
Moving to a Large Pond
When I finally decided to make a move to one of the world’s largest companies, I’ll admit I was a little scared. Would I get lost in the sea of endless employees? How would I distinguish myself from every other sourcer in the same role? I became a “level” instead of “Pete, the guy who does the tech recruiting.”
Most importantly, I was afraid I would find out that I wasn’t nearly as good at what I did for a living as I thought. Maybe I’d been in a safe space for too long. Regardless of my fears, it was time to take the plunge and see where this led me.
What I found was that accountability still matters. Relationships, while harder to build at depth with so many people, still matter in doing your job. There’s a level of self-sustainability that comes with being in a large company. You’re expected to find answers, seek help, and navigate things a bit more on your own, which is a refreshing reminder of how to rely on yourself instead of others. You have a bit more hands-on influence on your career path and opportunities, based on the size of the organization.
And while your employee number may resemble something that looks more like Pi than an area code, you start to realize the things you can do when you’re empowered to do so. For a sourcer, this is one of the better puzzles to have to solve.
So, if you’re in a state of doubt, thinking “should I” or “shouldn’t I,” take the leap, so you don’t keep guessing at the outcome. You’re more capable than you think. And if all else fails, you can always migrate back to the small pond.
*This article first appeared on SourceCon*