Why I Decided to Leave a Large Corporation to Work for a Small Business

In today’s growing economy, with more and more opportunities available for those who are interested, a lot of professionals of all ages are faced with difficult career choices.  There is a lot to consider when changing jobs including the top three factors for me: family, career growth & development, and compensation and benefits.  As I understand there are many other factors in making a jump from a large corporation to a growing small business, these are the key factors that ultimately led me to my decision.

As I progressed in my career over the first 11 years with a large EPC Corporation, I was given many opportunities and offered reasonable benefits (401k, decent health insurance, and industry-specific training).  With the nature of construction projects, my career provided opportunities to move around the United States to places I would have otherwise not had the pleasure to see, but these moves began to be more and more challenging as my kids got older.


I am now in my 30s with a wife and two kids, which is not as conducive to moving hundreds or even thousands of miles every few years.  My family was the number one factor for me in making this decision.  As my kids started school, I wanted to settle down closer to my family allowing my kids the same opportunities I had growing up to develop a relationship with aunts & uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc.

Not only was Nexus PMG close to my family, but they also provide more flexibility to work from home and take time off when needed so that I do not have to miss those special moments with my family.  This flexibility does come with an expectation that you will put in the extra time to complete projects with tight deadlines when necessary, but that expectation fit my expectations.

Career Growth & Development

In a large corporation, there are many opportunities for growth, but there are also multiple layers of politics, years of service constraints, and an ever-growing concern of being treated as another number instead of a contributing individual especially during cyclical downturns.  I began to reflect on my career and realized that being at the company for 11 years, I had developed limited management skills and felt less and less like I was making a difference.  The organizational structure and reporting often offer the “that’s not my job” excuse/mentality as acceptable, and it begins to take the wind out of your sails.

Therein lies the challenge.  Most large corporations start with a passionate team that believes in the vision and purpose of the company over their individual gains.  As companies morph into these large over managed organizations, they, in turn, decrease the probability of continuing to hire individuals who are as driven and motivated by the business.  The business demand and “shareholders” begin to drive the company to grow at risk of diluting the culture and pride that once existed and this decreases the ability to attract and retain the best employees.

In a small business, every individual contributes to the shared success or failure of projects.  The team collectively tackles projects and grows together through them.  Individuals are expected to help wherever possible for the greater good of the company and in turn, share the benefits of the success that they help to develop.  The opportunity to have influence and be challenged daily with new tasks inspires me to learn more and grow my knowledge of the industrial business sector.  Also, the opportunity to be a part of the success and gain a vested interest in the company over time was a huge part of my decision.

Last but not Least Compensation & Benefits

With a larger corporation, there are generally good benefits and compensation is relatively comparable to other similar companies.  Rarely do large corporations offer incentives (stock options, bonuses, company stake) beyond general benefits to anyone outside of management.  As you move through your career at a large corporation, compensation becomes more and more political and less about your contribution or ability.

Within a small business, your contributions and ability to deliver are often compensated, and incentives like bonuses, stock options, commissions, etc. are more likely to be provided.  This provides an added incentive for personal growth and development.  Small businesses generally offer smaller benefit packages, but these may be outweighed by the incentives they offer.  Rarely would there be a situation where I would suggest a move from a large corporation without some element of increased compensation.

All things considered, the transition to a small company seemed to be the right step for me at this point in my career.  It has reignited my passion for learning, motivated a good work ethic being around like-minded team members, helped me to be more confident in taking on new challenges and provided me the opportunity to be closer to my family.  Although challenging and somewhat scary, sometimes you have to try on new shoes to see if they fit, and if for some reason they don’t you will be all the wiser for trying.

Bryant Fortner
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