One day, as I was browsing through the profiles of my colleagues from the last 2 years, I began noticing with amazement the steps people had taken to arrive where they had in their careers. I concluded that there are broadly two kinds of people. One is the type who started their career with small companies and became part of the high-flying FAANG or should I say, MAANG. The other set of people who did get an opportunity to work with such big organizations early in their careers however, left them and are now part of other organizations that although are great places to work, are not as well established as the MAANGs. I was curious.

Why would an individual do that? Shouldn’t 100% of people in our industry belong to type one? I discussed this with folks at my current workplace Sahaj and my previous organization as well. After a few very long discussions with multiple folks, I started making sense of the situation. Here is what I have gathered.

When we talk about people, there is no one template to answer what an individual seeks from his/her career. Different people seek different things.

For a lot of us, a crucial factor is money. But there is another section, a smaller percentage, that seeks something different. I know people who prioritize other aspects of work over money. That is not to say that they are being paid very little. In addition to being paid a decent amount, they get other benefits that they value more. I will talk about them shortly.

After spending almost 2 years now at Sahaj and working with some of the most talented minds in our industry, I was curious — why don’t they switch to a better-paying company? So, I discovered some of the aspects that people prioritize over money and it had a profound effect on me as an individual. Let’s discuss each one by one:

  1. Working with a small, growing company:

Some people prefer to be part of a growing organization as opposed to working with an established one. Being part of such an organization where you not only contribute to your project but other aspects of growth as well can be incredibly fulfilling. In such organizations, you not only discover your technical skills but other important softer professional skills as well and observe how an organization builds brick by brick.

In a small and growing organization, one can see how what they do is needed and creates an impact to achieve the larger purpose of the organization. This exposure is very limited and visible to only a handful of people in a big, established organization. The job is limited to a role. Very rarely, people get involved in other aspects relating to the company’s growth. If you are the kind of person who wants to mind his own business, meaning, you love the part of the job you do and don’t want to tinker in other things, this aspect does not apply to you. Simply put, some people want to work at a small firm and make a big difference rather than working in a big firm and making no/little difference.

  1. Nature and quality of exposure:

When I say nature or quality of exposure, I mean the opportunity for you to interact with a rich variety of people — people who are doing totally different work and belong to very different functions than yours. Hierarchical and vertical structures in many big companies isolate people resulting in the deterioration of the quality of communication between people. I feel that for people new to the industry, these interactions can be vital in seeding and nurturing critical and holistic broader thinking. Even if hierarchies are to be maintained, they should not become barriers between individuals.

  1. Variety of technologies:

Some people are very particular when it comes to brand vs technology. Some prefer the brand even if the technology they are working on is old. But some prefer the tech stack over the brand. Both have their pros and cons.

  1. The organizational culture:

We all have different thoughts when we hear this term — “Organizational Culture”. After working in different companies over a period of time, we realize what kind of culture is conducive for us to grow professionally and personally. This surely does not relate to the company being a huge brand! I have already now seen and interacted with people who worked in big MNCs but now are working for much smaller organizations; one of the crucial reasons for them to make this choice was the organizational culture.

  1. Privilege to explore other opportunities:

We are constantly exploring ourselves. After working in a certain role, we can understand if we want to continue on that path. But it is hard to assess which role would we enjoy the most. At this point, I would like to talk about Sahaj where you can explore different roles and take on different responsibilities as a solution consultant and hone your skills. Right from being an analyst, full-stack developer, tester, DevOps, etc. to product manager, you can be all of this every single day! This type of environment can be highly productive for people who want to work on projects end to end or for people seeking their core area of interest.

  1. Work-life balance:

Isn’t this the most discussed aspect of our work/lives these days? Many of us hardly find time for anything other than work — time to pursue a hobby, for example. It should come as no surprise then that this is one of the major factors people take into consideration when choosing the company. But this also depends on our interests and aspirations — what exactly do we want to do in life?

While I have listed some of the reasons that I think play a crucial role in making career choices, I am sure there are many more. And most importantly, there is no right or wrong. Every individual has priorities in life and takes decisions accordingly. At the end of the day, getting what we really want is the key to satisfaction and happiness — the basic aim in life. My intention behind this blog was to make you think — what really matters to you and possibly help make some career choices a bit more wisely.