Are You Cut Out for Corporate America?

Are you the type of person that is comfortable with established rules and regulations? Do you perform best in a position that functions within an established hierarchy? Are you comfortable with business meetings and the occasional office “politics” that are an inherent part of diverse teams? If so, then you might be perfectly suited for a career in corporate America.

Picking a career in this formal office setting should be a well-planned decision. The Census Bureau reports that companies with 100 – 499 employees totaled 350,102 and companies of 500+ employees totaled 1,149,454 in the 2009 – 2010 calendar year. So long as a given company isn’t on its way out due to mounting economic pressures, jobs in this sector provide generous benefits, opportunities for advancement, and competitive salaries.

Before you apply for a job in a corporate environment, research the company. Learn about the  founder, company’s history, key players, company culture, and business strategy. From here, ask yourself the following:

Do your work styles align?

Depending on your work style and outlook, performing even the most basic job duties may be challenging in a corporate environment. Your new idea to eliminate a task and thus streamline a process may not get a positive reaction from your manager who has a broader view of companywide operations. Your quarterly review may not commend your entrepreneurial drive. Acceptance of innovative ideas tends to be slower in corporations versus smaller organizations.

Additionally, your tendency to assert your opinions or inadvertently usurp authority will have to be curtailed. Corporations have behavioral guidelines and a tacit understanding of what constitutes appropriate behavior. Similar to the military, your position fits into a grander purpose. Everyone has a specific role that must align with the other members and departments, and with the overall company mission.

How has a similar job worked for others?

Picking a career can start by identifying someone who inspires you. View his LinkedIn profile, read his published works, and take other steps to learn about his career path. Assess the contribution of his corporate background. Request an informational interview or try to connect via email. Use this time to learn how being a part of corporate America played into his life successes and failures.

Are you a cultural fit?

Company cultures vary greatly in organizations, and large corporations are no exception. Factors such as diversity, industry, and management structure determine the atmosphere. Does the company you’re considering have casual Fridays? Do you even want casual Fridays? Are women in positions of leadership? What is the tone of communications, e.g., newsletter, blog and Facebook page? Does it match your personality?

An honest evaluation of your goals and mindset will help you determine the best job for you. A corporate career is not for everyone. But for millions of men and women who work for companies that have become household names and international entities, a position in corporate America is the ultimate career choice.

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