As a Symantec alum who co-founded a startup, I’ve had the opportunity to gain a unique perspective on business by working both for a global industry leader, as well as launching a new venture. I’m proud of the grounding Symantec provided for me as a new business leader – my Symantec experience provided a macro perspective that many startup leaders don’t have. One of the most valuable takeaways from my Symantec career is the positive, productive community I found there – a supportive network that rightly takes pride in working for the industry’s best company. But how do the two workplace experiences differ?
Working for a smaller company is a great education – an opportunity for a manager to wear many hats and gain experience with a variety of roles. But working for a large company is equally valuable: being part of a diverse, knowledgeable team is an education that is just as essential and also transferable to all business environments. At Symantec, I learned that it is important to know your role, and know it well, in order to benefit the larger team.
While smaller organizations are known for their ability to move quickly in response to changing business conditions, large, well-run companies like Symantec have an important advantage: established processes and systems. People who spend their entire careers in the startup world can miss out on this vital structural support, which ensures attention to detail and emphasizes the significance of quality.
Another skill people who succeed within larger enterprises develop is the ability to communicate across multiple disciplines and levels. In a small startup, communication is simple, speedy and direct within a fairly flat organizational chart. In a larger company, employees learn the chain of command, how to “manage up” and how to influence people they don’t directly manage to build consensus among employees at all levels, an invaluable skillset that is also applicable to smaller businesses.
Not all large companies choose to invest heavily in developing their people, but working for a company like Symantec, which is committed to staff development, provides an incredible range of professional development opportunities. In addition to formal training classes, Symantec employees are also mentored by the top experts in specialized fields and learn to play a key role in the larger technology and InfoSec communities. This is a considerable asset for Symantec employees, positioning them for success in any business environment.
During a career that includes significant time at Symantec and a key role in launching a thriving startup, I’ve been fortunate to experience the advantages and growth opportunities in both work environments. I have an appreciation for both, and, with my colleagues at Conventus, strive to model the best of both business worlds. For all these reasons as well as the wonderful Symantec family (now partner ecosystem), commitment to success, dedication to top tier products, consulting and support...I still bleed yellow.
(Sarah Isaacs is Managing Partner of Conventus, a Symantec National Platinum Partner that specializes in endpoint and server security, compliance and data loss prevention. Sarah co-founded Conventus in 2006 after working as a Technical Manager for the central region at Symantec, where she consulted on the implementation of antivirus and client security technology products for numerous corporate and government enterprises.)