Monday, July 14, 2008

Big vs. Little

Over the last nine years of my "illustrious career," I've bounced back and forth between working for small firms (fewer than 25 people), and working for large firms (300-1000 people). There are good and bad things to both, of course.

Here's the breakdown on how the current place (17 people) measures up:

Good: The dress code is very relaxed
(not that we actually even have a dress code). I am allowed to, and often do, wear this shirt.

Bad: I have gained so much weight as a result of stress eating, that I couldn't wear any of my suits if I wanted to.

Good: things that I couldn't do at my previous, large-firm job, that I can do now:
  • take 90-minute to 2-hour lunches, and nobody says a thing
  • drink beer at lunch
Bad: things I could do at my previous job that I can't do now:
  • work 40 hours a week maximum
  • take vacation without having to answer my phone for a work-related call

Good/Bad: I didn't have Project Manager duties at my last job. I do now.
Bad: I'm getting paid less than my last job, though I have a whole lot more responsibility.

Good: I can cuss like a motherfucker, out loud, and it's perfectly acceptable.
Bad: I often have good reason to need to (see next item).

Bad: Things I had at my previous, large-firm job, that I don't have now:
  • in-house ability to print larger than 11"x 17"
    (My first job while in school was at a firm of 7 people. They had a plotter.)
  • a copier and/or scanner that will handle larger than 8.5"x 11"
    (we have a multifunction fax/copy/scan/print thing that is 5 years old, and does 90% of our printing)
  • access to anybody else's calendars
    (We don't have an exchange server. Seriously.)
  • e-mail that will send files larger than 5MB
  • IT support
    (We have a guy, who is friends with Dude, comes from a wealthy family, and only does IT as a time-filler for when he's not playing golf.)
  • access to MEP/structural consultants who are worth a damn
  • a boss who allows me to look at the project contracts
    (I only care about looking at the contract to determine what our firm's project-related responsibilities are. Dude is concerned that the staff will see "the numbers," by which he means "what the partners are getting paid." I really don't give a damn about that.)
  • paid disability leave
  • a retirement plan
  • performance reviews
  • a clear-cut timeline of when I could possibly receive a pay raise
  • direct-fucking-deposit
    (The absence of this, of all possible benefits, pisses me off the most.)

That puts the tally at 4 Good, 6 Bad.

But wait, should the last item count as one thing, or twelve? Some days it counts more heavily than others. For example, it was definitely a 12 during the week we were moving offices.

This is what our office felt like during that week:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

as you have already found out, welcome to the wonderful world of the small architectural office. been there. done that. took 10 years to wise up. far too many stories to tell that led to the breaking point. strangely enough, now being part of the "borg", is so worth it.