Views #632 | Intermediate 5

Big vs. Small Company

Tom and Martin debate working for a big or small company.

Martin: Hey Tom, where've you been lately?

Tom: Oh, I've been doing loads of job interviews. You know I'm graduating soon. I've just got to work out what to do next. I'm torn between a big company and a small company.

Martin: Really? Personally I would choose the small company. What are you thinking?

Tom: Well, see I was going to go with the big company because if it is bigger, it's got a bigger financial base, it's more secure, it's not likely to fold in a couple of months. And also as a big company with a high profile they've got to follow the laws. You know, toe the line on looking after their employees. So things like pension and insurance are all going to be sorted out.

Martin: Hmm. Well, I think a small company for almost all different reasons, it's a lot more exciting, you're gonna be treated, most importantly, like a person, not just a cog in a wheel and you know, you're young, you don't need to worry about you're pension just yet. You're not that old, you know, you can get by. And it would be nice to have the
relationships with your coworkers on like a human relationship instead of just one giant building and you're not feeling like a human there. And especially with your boss, I think that's always important to get the recognition that I think you deserve.

Tom: I mean you've got a good point about the personal relationships but that can also work against you I think. If someone who's not as good as you are has a good tight relationshiop with the boss then they're going to get the promotion and you're going to get passed over. That kind of closeness, that kind of family thing, that doesn't really seem fair.

Martin: Well that is a good point but I think also if you look at a small company that most of the people working there are going to share a lot more of your ideals and you're gonna have a better time of integrating yourself in there and I think it's gonna be fairer by and large because it is smaller.

Tom: I'm gonna have to give this more thought.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

loads of

I've been doing loads of job interviews since I'm graduating soon.

'Loads of' something just means 'a lot' of it. Notice the following:

  1. I have loads of new music on my computer.
  2. There are loads of different things to do in this city.

financial base

If a company is bigger, it's got a bigger financial base and is more secure.

The 'financial base' of a company is the amount of money that it has to work with. The more money a company has, the less of a chance that it will have financial problems. Notice the following:

  1. If you plan on starting your own business, you will need more of a financial base.
  2. They have a very large financial base, because they have been so successful for so many years.


A big company is not likely to fold in a couple of months.

When a company 'folds,' it has failed financially and is forced to close. Notice the following:

  1. After three years of an economic recession, the company was forced to close.
  2. Everyone was shocked that a big corporation like that folded.

toe the line

A big company with a high profile will toe the line on looking after their employees.

If you 'toe the line,' it means that you follow the rules. Notice the following:

  1. He has always toed the line and been a very good student.
  2. If you want to keep your job here, you are going to have to toe the line.

cog in a wheel

In a small company, you're going to be treated like a person, not just a cog in a wheel.

Here 'cog in a wheel' is an idiom that is used to refer to something that is the same and just as useful as all the the others. If you are a 'cog in a wheel,' you are not that important and can be easily replaced. Notice the following:

  1. He said he wants a new job, because he feels like a cog in a wheel here.
  2. Most entry-level jobs will make you feel like a cog in a wheel.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Vocabulary Quiz

loads • financial • folding
the line • a wheel
  1. It would be better to have more of a base before you quit your job.
  2. Many companies are because of the bad economy.
  3. At a job like this, you will be a cog in , but nobody will bother you if you do your job.
  4. If you want a government job, you will really have to toe .
  5. There are of books you can borrow over there.

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