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Setting myself up for the Fastlane - Corporate vs SMB Job

A detailed account of a Fastlane process...

yxsg

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I have read MJ's books and understand the concept of the Fastlane. At the moment, I neither have the money nor an idea to execute a business so I have identified that the first step is to get a job.

A bit more about myself, I have action faked for 2 years and I am now in my final semester of college, with the goal of getting a 'safe' and 'recognized' job at a multi national corporation because that's what most people do with their degrees - its the scripted path.

However, I recently caught up with a family friend who may have an opportunity for me to join him in a small local business in the home renovation/interior design firm.
(NOTE: He is not the business owner but has worked his way up and is doing much better compared to his two decades long stint in the corporate world.)

This made me rethink my original plan of working for a large corporation and the likelihood of pivoting into a fast lane business from it, as opposed to joining the local firm.

My thoughts is that I will be a larger cog in a small local firm, which would allow me to gain greater exposure to the industry and potentially set myself up with the skills, knowledge and network to enter the fastlane in the future. This industry also has its fair share of complaints that provides potential opportunities to value skew. But I know better than to get ahead of myself as ideas are worthless without execution.

I have listed out pros and cons of the two paths:

Corporate Job
Pros:
- stability (steady pay check and increment)
- recognized by corporate world, which would allow switching of jobs periodically to accelerate income
- better starting pay
- typical leave and benefits scheme of a corporate
- lower risk path

Cons:
- only build knowledge in your specific domain / scope of work
- specific knowledge unlikely to lead to fastlane

Local business
Pros:
- potential to learn the industry and start my own fastlane business
- work closely with industry veterans to accelerate learning

Cons:
- likely lower starting pay with the need to learn from scratch and work my way up
- chance of things not working out and starting my corporate career later, where experiences may not be valued
- higher risk path
- less prestigious and may be judged by peers and family

My gut feeling tells me that going for the path less travelled - the local firm is the way to go. But I still have my doubts and would love to hear what the forum thinks about this.
 
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Jobless

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In which of the two environments would your personal characteristics lend themself to you thriving?
 

yxsg

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In which of the two environments would your personal characteristics lend themself to you thriving?
I definitely feel more comfortable in an MNC-based desk bound environment as I had done several internships. I know I am generalising a lot but it will mostly be powerpoint slinging and excel reporting, something I am already familiar with.

And I got to be honest, the thought of switching to the home renovation industry actually makes me a bit queasy as its something I have no experience in and it will definitely challenge me a lot. But at the same time, this feeling is what's reaffirming me that its the right thing to do.

I spoke briefly to my family friend yesterday and he told me that it will be a combination of design + selling to home owners + project management of the renovation. These are all areas I have no prior skills in, so I feel like I have a lot of upside gain from this switch.
 
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Saint

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It may not be the best time for real estate and related stuff, but that seems like always a good industry to get into in the long run.

I'd say go with the smaller company, especially if there will be an opportunity to work on the business itself and with the owners. Or look for other opportunities at smaller companies.

My experience has been going from F500 to progressively smaller and smaller companies. I think you're right to think you'll be a small cog in a wheel at a bigger company - that's what I've seen and experienced. My experience has been better the smaller I've gone for many reasons, maybe most significantly because of more opportunity for more responsibility and impact, and less company politics.

I joined a very small company a few years ago, and working there has given me the confidence to get started myself after years of action faking. Seeing the founders of several successful previous companies (and this one I'm at) still having no idea what they're doing half the time, and getting to develop critical processes myself has given me a ton of confidence that I can make something happen.
 
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