Working for a Global 500 Company

Ever since I started business school when I was 18, my goal was to land a position at a Global 500 company. I did everything I possibly could to give myself an edge including getting good grades, volunteering, being a leader, working for a start up (it just happened), and going for a Master’s. I was lucky to interview for some great Fortune 500 companies, and even luckier to land at one. I have now completed six weeks full time at my position. I’m by far not a seasoned employee, but wanted to share some things that I have already noticed.

  • Politics – I have dealt with politics before, but for the most part have been shielded from the tectonic shifts. As a newbie on my team, I am partly shielded from politics by my co workers and manager, but I have already noticed and been informed of politics. I am trying to be careful and not burn myself in this field.
    I will need to write another post on how I am avoiding politics.
  • Accountability/Responsibility – My company is heavily matrix-ed and we report to several people. Sometimes it seems, well, not sometimes, all the time it seems like there’s so many hands in the pot. It’s hard to tell who actually has final say on a project because there are so many voices directing the project. This together is another post I will have to write soon.
  • Experience Matters- I am lucky to have high performers on my team who are very bright and older than me. I am a newbie in all respects. At only 22, the next oldest person on my team is 30, the next is late 30s, early 50s. I work in a highly technical field, and it seems like half the conversation is via acronyms. At meetings, I rapidly write down as many acronyms as I can so I can figure out what it means. The people with more experience just know more, and I am trying to learn as much as I can from them.
  • Roles – Everyone from an engineer to a project manager to a sales rep has different roles to play and different performance metrics to meet. They all have different opinions on how a project should go; it’s a balancing game.
  • Processes – Large company means lots of processes. Our need to streamline everything to become more strategic is an ever constant challenge.
  • Paperwork – Enough said.
  • Silos – Every department, business unit, and region has different goals. It’s very similar to siblings fighting for the parents’ attention or the one piece of cake left.
  • You Are Replaceable – Remember who writes the paychecks.
  • Heels Hurt- After walking up and down the stairs, to colleagues’ bays, and to the restroom, my feet kill me by the end of the day. Which means those four inch heels I bought ’cause they were cute right before I started working are not practical. Wedges are my friend. I need to find some fall friendly wedges.

I have worked for small businesses, start-ups, and non-profits before. It’s always a challenge starting in a new role, but I am currently drowning in spreadsheets, numbers, and tasks. Do I have plenty of time to complete my tasks? Yes. Do I have enough knowledge to complete my tasks? Nope. Still paddling up a creek here.

Do you work for a large company? What is your experience so far?

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17 responses to “Working for a Global 500 Company

  1. I work for one of the biggest organizations in my province. I love it. There aren’t a ton of politics in my company but there are a TON Of processes. and it’s hard to learn it all!

  2. I work for a large company and it has its perks as well as its drawbacks.

    I find a large, well-established business is used to doing things a certain way, and is less open to making changes. Roles are EXTREMELY fixed, and responsibilities are either super specific or no one knows who’s supposed to take care of that.

    I have yet to work for a small company, but I would appreciate the opportunity to have a broader role. I think in a small company because there’s not as many people with niche jobs, you could gain a lot of experience in a number of different areas if you were the only one there to do the job.

    • It depends on how small the company is! Yes, in part small companies give you the chance of working in different roles, but I think working for a big company gives you the opportunity to move across departments if you wish to do so.

  3. I work for a small family owned company and I’ve never really worked a corporate job besides when I worked in retail but it wasn’t a corporate office job. But I’ll tell you, even though it’s a non-corporate environment there’s still lots of paperwork, politics, and we sometimes have too many hands in the pot so to speak. But luckily I don’t have to wear heels. It’s very casual here so I can wear jeans and sandals.

    • I don’t mind dressing up. I have plenty of clothes :) I actually like it. I don’t have a lot of casual clothes. My casual consists of shorts, tank top, and flip flops. It’s hot in Texas for most of the year lol.
      How big is your company?

  4. When I lived in NYC I worked at all the major financial firms and I can honestly say it was fun/exciting when I was in my 20′s. I mean happy hour is Manhattan….nothing like it! Anyway when I turned 30 I moved to NJ and I like the change of pace out here. Of course I now have 3 kids but I still work for a major real estate developer for NY & NJ and I love my job and co-workers. I also work a few hours a week at a medium sized not-for-profit daycare and I enjoy it too. I always believed what my dad told me….love what you do and you will never work a day in your life..so no matter where I go I enjoy my actual work.

  5. I work at a Fortune 500 as well but the funny thing was I actually wanted to work for a small start-up company. When I was job hunting out of college I just happened to be fit for this job. It required 5-10 years of experience yet I only had about 2 years of part-time experience. I’m glad they took a chance with me and I am also glad that I can still work there remotely while going to school. That’s the beauty of working for a large corp. They have the resources and accommodations to help you in comparison to a smaller company. The opportunities are also there for you – whether it’s at different locations, through clients, or whatever. I also enjoyed seeing an acquisition take place…it was really cool!

    • I need to write a post on my experience at a start-up!
      My role also requires more work experience than I have. But the VP saw something in me and took a chance on me. Talk about the pressure LOL really though…

  6. I have to say you have an awesome outlook. I’ve learned that 4-inch heels should only be left for the night scene and not for work–ouch.
    It’s great that you are learning what you can from others…which is critical for newbies to understand. Then, you can add in your ideas…you don’t want to come off like “not-it-all.”

  7. My first two professional jobs after graduation were for a large company. There was a lot of politics, paperwork and you were accountable for your work. It was stressful because the work we did was for clients, so we were pressured to finish things on time and keep them happy. My feet hurt wearing heels and I hated wearing pantyhose. lol.

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