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I recently interviewed for a position at a large Fortune 500 company at the recommendation of a friend. Yesterday, they made me an offer for 55k. I currently work at a small, 35 person company making 50k. I interned there for six months, and was converted officially to a full time employee a year and two months ago (I worked full time as an intern but had no benefits).

Pros about the company I'm currently with:

  • Small, I can talk to the boss directly or pull him aside whenever
  • Wide array of responsibilities - I can go from doing .Net development to working on a database at any given time. May program one minute and talk to our customer for clarification the next.
  • Very comfortable. I love the people I work with. We get a lot of awesome small benefits that would come with a small company. Family atmosphere - very close to who I work with.
  • Excel at the job. I do what I do very well. There's a future in terms of job security.
  • Passionate. I love what I work on - aeronautics. I find it fascinating. The big company works with trading stocks, and I have no care for that field at all - I fear I'll get bored because of that.
  • Vacation hours. 24 vs. 12 at new company.

Pros of big company:

  • Work alongside two great friends. They have personally attested to really enjoying the job.
  • Better pay, better benefits.
  • Much more accelerated skill set development. Where the small company lets me flex a wide array of skills, this company will ultimately make me a better programmer, as I feel that I'm not quite learning as much as I should - they aren't entirely up to date on some higher level programming concepts.
  • Recognizable name may get foot in the door later for better jobs elsewhere.

The decision has me wrecked. I'm not quite sure what to do. Advice? I don't plan on staying at the small company forever, as I'd like to go somewhere that pushes me harder and allows me to learn a lot, but I'm just not sure if this is the place I want to jump to. Should I, or should I keep looking?

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I did that once in my early in my career. I ended up going back to the small company after about a year at the big one (both have been out of business now for over a decade). It sounds like you're trying to talk yourself out of making the move. –  jfrankcarr Feb 23 '12 at 16:57
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Career advice is off topic here. However, it sounds to me that you should stay where you are, unless you really need the additional $5K and benefits. –  Bernard Feb 23 '12 at 16:58
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I would say that if you are not feeling challenged in your first job out of school, it is time to jump. That doesn't mean this is the job. You need to understand from your friends why they really enjoy their jobs. What motivates them may not motivate you. –  Lou Feb 23 '12 at 17:00
    
I shouldn't say that I don't feel challenged. There is some work that does, but a majority of it doesn't. I just hear of people who say they're constantly learning new things, while I feel like I've been learning stuff here and there. –  Ian Feb 23 '12 at 17:02
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Hi Ian, welcome to Programmers! Unfortunately, career advice is off-topic here: we don't know you well enough to anything more than guess what you should do with your life. Consider talking to friends and colleagues—who do know you—for advice. –  user8 Feb 23 '12 at 17:15
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closed as off topic by Bernard, kevin cline, FrustratedWithFormsDesigner, Mark Trapp Feb 23 '12 at 17:14

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3 Answers

Passionate. I love what I work on - aeronautics. I find it fascinating. The big company works with trading stocks, and I have no care for that field at all - I fear I'll get bored because of that.

That swings it for me, stay where you are. You spend more time doing your job that almost anything else, you should enjoy it. Reducing that enjoyment for 5k really isn't worth it.

I would mention the other companies offer to your boss though. They may choose to match the offer or at least take it into consideration at your next review

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Well, it depends, I think you love working in the small company because you can do whatever you love. I think it is up to you, if I were you I go to the big company, because money is my first priority over joy.(Because I live with my parents:( ) And think whether you have anything to learn from the small company.

Good luck with your decision.

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Go after developing your skills.

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