Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Lindsey Pollak on Working for a Small Company

We had a popular discussion on this blog last summer about the differences between working for a big publisher and working for a small publisher. So Lindsey's blog post this morning on the advantages of working for a small company caught my eye. She quotes a Wall Street Journal article on the subject and goes on to explore whether these advantages hold true for younger professionals just starting their careers. She concludes that they do.

I'll add my voice to the chorus: Don't overlook the smaller companies. You can get some excellent experience and contacts there, and these companies tend to not have the kinds of mass layoffs that the larger ones do.


Krisan Matthews said...

Working for a small publisher (or the book publishing team at an association, as is the case for me) definitely has some positive aspects but also some negatives.

On the plus side, you get to see a book go through the entire publishing process - from acquisition to print. And you also get lots of hands-on experience in different areas, such as developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading. This is especially good for someone just starting out in publishing (like me).

On the downside, the staff is obviously much smaller. So you might end up working on tasks that might not jive with your job title because there isn't anyone else to do it. For example, I wear many hats as editorial assistant, permissions editor,and general administrative help for my team. This can make things difficult because some days, I'd rather focus on developing a manuscript than doing administrative tasks like mailing letters or packages. Also, because there aren't as many people to get the job done, there can be delays in the publishing process. I've seen projects that have taken years to get from acquisition to print.

But I'm glad that I work for a small publishing team because I have been able to get my hands dirty over the past few by working so closely with the editors. I think that I may have felt lost if I had started out at a large company. I'm grateful to my colleagues who have taken me under their wing and taught me everything they know.

Lindsey Pollak said...


Thanks so much for linking to my blog post and continuing the conversation on this topic. I'm glad to know about your blog and will add it to my blogroll.

There are definitely pros and cons to working at a small organization and this path is not for everyone. It always surprises me, though, how many job seekers don't even consider smaller employers. In a slowing economy where jobs might become scarce, I think it's really important to cast a wide net and consider all options.

Lindsey Pollak