New Job Expectations


Hi guys, shortly I will be starting a new a job in a large firm with 40+ employees. Having only worked for a small firm of only around 10 employees this will be a completely new experience.  

I am looking forward to this experience, but I am not 100% sure what to expect. I was wondering if anyone could provide me with info on what to expect working at a large firm.  

While if someone has gone through the same experience of moving from a small firm to a large firm it would be great if you could provide me with some useful hints and tips.

Thanks in advance.

Aug 30, 14 7:45 am

I initially started at a 40+ firm, and also worked at small firms too. In larger offices you can expect to work in teams, usually 4-6 ppl. There will be quite a bit more structure in the pecking order, with usually a licensed architect/project manager running the show, and breaking down from there. Usually 2-3ppl in every team are the 'interns' that do most of the CDing. They are handed redlines from high ups, and tasks that are ran into during the DD of the project. I really think that it is important for ppl learn the basics that I definitely got from working at my first initial large firm. I think if you haven't worked at a large firm the coordination that goes into larger projects will amaze you. You should also hopefully learn a lot that you didn't in school. The one thing that can be a negative from larger firms is that the potential of getting pigeon'd into certain menial tasks and climbing a ladder with so many ppl on one ladder.

Aug 30, 14 9:46 am

I spent the bulk of my career as the Managing Principal of a firm that generally hovered around 40 people.  DeTwan offers a pretty clear picture of the environment in such firms.

Even so, there can be considerable variation depending on the sort of work the firm undertakes. Some firms that size pursue very large projects - such as hospitals - so they tend to have fewer projects and therefore larger teams that stay together for a long time. Other firms that size go the other way and are comprised of a large number of smaller teams that constantly are reconfigured as required by the work. 

Moreover, I will say that - in my experience - a 40+ person firm generally is not considered a "large" firm. Firms of that size more typically are considered "mid-sized" firms. 

Stay flexible -- and, good luck.

Aug 30, 14 3:12 pm

I started out at a large firm - SOM - very professional and I learned as lot - then the recession, and a series of working in small firms where there was a lot of chaos, less organization, low pay and always in a rush. My advice is to stay with large firms and build a career - you can get beaten down in small firms - now I work for a large firm again - 

Aug 30, 14 7:03 pm

40 people is the sweet spot. Not too personal like a tiny office, not to impersonal like a big one.

Aug 30, 14 11:55 pm

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