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Submitted by ghilios on


Hi folks, I currently work in a large corporation (Microsoft) and have been doing very well here. I have a solid relationship and trust of my management chain up through my VP 3 levels up. Last week I decided to make a leap to a significantly smaller software company (not a competitor) and accepted a role that will likely turn into a vertical move to upper management as it is growing. My VP is stunned by the news and is going to try hard to convince me to stay (in fact, we now have a meeting scheduled for the end of the day). We were previously discussing promotion and career opportunities and I'm preparing myself for him to bring those back up.

Finally, my questions: How do you recommend I handle this? I've really enjoyed working here, but my gut tells me I need to diversify my work experience since "big corporation" is all I've done since getting my bachelor's in 2006. M&M say "never accept a counter offer". What do you all think about this as a hard and fast rule? Another related question - do you think smaller, growing company experience is a critical piece for being an effective executive (my long term career goal)?

Thanks for the help.

donm's picture
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The subject line notwithstanding, you don't have an offer until you have an offer. I suggest you listen to "The Dangle" before the meeting. If it's too late for that advice, I suggest you listen to it before you respond. If it's too late for that advice, I suggest you listen to it, anyway. Promises are worth zero without a timeline and guarantee, which no one will give you.

The small vs large company is a personal choice. I prefer small companies, because I hate bureaucracy. Others thrive in such an environment. Bureaucracy is not necessarily absent from a small company, but it is usually less prevalent. Pretty much, when the lawyers and accountants have more say than the programmers and engineers, I find that is the time for me to leave.

ghilios's picture
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Thanks, that is really helpful. Turns out I was overly concerned about the conversation - we had a productive chat about what the organization could be doing better to keep talent, and my desire for something new was respected without tempting me via a direct counter offer. In this large company, engineers rule but there is still quite a bit of bureacracy. I'm excited to see how different a small company is, as well as experience first hand the things I've taken for granted.