Many people focus on base salary or salary and bonus potential when looking for a job. It's natural, we all want money and money can make life more comfortable.
Challenge: Small organizations don't pay market, or many don't anyway. They can't - the economy of scale does not always work. And to be fair, the jobs are often different. In a Fortune 100 company, a call center manager might manage 100s of people and a budget of 10s of millions. In a tiny company, the call center is three or four people.
But here's the rub - the total work experience is often better in small companies. You can have a lot of impact, blur job description boundaries, and be a part of tight and caring teams. Sure, you might experience this in a larger company, but probably more so in small companies.
The benefits at small companies are generally less. This is just the facts. You should still expect health care coverage and basic vacation pay benefits, but not much more. Small companies often can't offer a lot of upward mobility or fancy training programs. That said, outstanding performers might find that they get promoted more quickly if there are openings (small companies are more willing to roll the dice on high potentials and not get hung up on things like years of experience and degrees or certifications).
Here's the rub #2 - the intangible benefits are higher in small companies. Small companies are often more flexible, personal, and colorful.
What if the most amazing job experience you could encounter this year comes with a pay and benefits package lower than what you think you deserve? Would you consider a role that offers 1/3 less in compensation and 50% more in satisfaction and enjoyment?
Food for thought as we reflect on 2007 and plan for a great 2008.