One common trait most writers share is freedom of expression. Your thoughts, your words, your construction, your result—the liberal arts version of a never-before-seen chemistry experiment. Some (not all) writers manifest that philosophy into a defiance of Corporate America:
“Why would I make someone else rich when I can work for myself?”
“This is the exact reason I wanted to be a writer… I’m not into the 9-5 thing.”
“I don’t need some MBA grad judging my work.”
Granted, these are legitimate reasons for being, at the very least, wary of swapping out your t-shirt and home office space for a collared shirt and cubicle. However, there are plenty of perks to working at a large company, and for those unfamiliar (and I certainly was at the start of my career), I hope to steer you toward your own decisions on whether a more corporate setting is your best fit.
Benefits: For What It's Worth
Chief among those benefits of going corporate are, well, the benefits. Many corporations will offer employees not only comprehensive health care plans, but 401(k) and other retirement account plans as well. Side note: younger savers may want to investigate the Roth IRA, which deducts slightly more money from your paycheck now, but at the advantage of paying no tax on your withdrawal later in life.
A smaller, more start-up type company could certainly pay more in cash—especially to Millennials, who baby boomers seem to hold in contempt—but for me, there’s nothing like the peace of mind of having strong health insurance, which is more likely to exist at a larger, more corporate entity. Breaking down deductibles, co-pays and HMOs is typically a job left to HR, which means less for you to try and discern. Knowing your options is still very important (as is having options in the first place), but if your corporate employer has a robust plan, you’ll appreciate the coverage.
Paid vacation and holidays are now considered part of an employee’s hygiene factor—in other words, a liberal vacation policy isn’t a perk; it’s an expectation. Tuition reimbursement and continuing education programs, flexible spending plans and potential bonuses are great if they can be had, but their exclusion shouldn’t be dealbreakers.
Telecommuting and remote working arrangements are gaining steam over the last half-decade, but you’ll still likely spend the majority of your work week in a cubicle. Here’s why that’s not necessarily such a bad thing: people. When you’re having difficulty making coherent words appear on your screen, as we all have, collaborating with a manager or grabbing a coffee with a colleague can help take a sledgehammer to that wall of writer’s block.
You’re an Investment, Not a Number
Despite the United States’ recent plague of job loss and unemployment, or perhaps because of it all, corporations don’t take their hires lightly. In other words, if you find yourself at a solid company, don’t assume that you’re simply a number without a face, and the next market dip could leave your job vulnerable. In fact, a corporate job may provide you with some stability that may not be afforded to you at a smaller company. It can cost up to 150% of an employee’s salary to find a replacement, a statistic with which Human Resources people are undoubtedly familiar (and are being measured on), so they want to keep you.
These days, corporations far and wide acknowledge writers as soundly contributing team members, and not simply dismissed as people who don’t want to get a real job. Whether it’s copywriting, technical writing (not as creative, but still vital for industries like financial services and engineering), or the ever-expanding content marketing, versatile writers do have a role in the “real world.”