Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Small Fish, Big Pond or Big Fish, Small Pond

My daughter has been in a great school district since kindergarten through her 8th grade year. This school district is ranked at the top in our state. Needless to say we have been very pleased with the quality of education she has received. It has, however, been growing rapidly. In fact, if I’m not mistaken it is the fastest growing school district in our state. Because she has always been a kid that tends to feel more comfortable in a smaller environment we decided to explore options for her for this upcoming school year. We toured some different schools and found one that seemed like a good fit. The school Administrator asked her, “Do you like to be a big fish in a small pond or do you like to be a small fish in a big pond?”

Small schools offer certain advantages, as do big schools. The bottom line, each individual must weigh out all these things and make the decision based on what is best for them.

This whole process reminds me of a question I often ask a candidate that I've met for the first time. That is, "Do you prefer a smaller company environment or a larger company environment? Or do you even have a preference?"  To be best positioned to assist someone on their search, understanding their interest only helps us better help them.

It is strictly a personal preference but there are, no doubt, things to be considered.

In a small environment you can often have more opportunities. More opportunities to take on responsibilities that perhaps in a larger organization you would not. In a smaller environment you are often challenged to push yourself outside your comfort zone. Not exclusive to a small environment, but often more frequent. In smaller environments often you can move more nimbly. More opportunity to put your thumbprint on something.

In a larger organization, on the other hand, sometimes you have access to more resources. You can have opportunities for more advancement simply because there are more positions in the organization and often more layers. You can have opportunities to steer your career in different paths that may not be available in a smaller company.

I could certainly take both of these lists much further. And many people certainly will have their own thoughts on how those lists should look. The thing to think about from all this is that this is simply another piece to the search equation that should be addressed. 

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