Via Nicoleandmaggie I came across this post about whether to work for a large company or not:
This is what I imagine working for a big corporation feels like:
You’re somewhere in the belly of a huge ocean cruiser, making sure that some aspect of the engines run smoothly, but you do not see where the cruiser is going, why it is going where it goes, and you are not sure whether it might currently be in the process of running over a small fishing boat or polluting the sea with oil. But at least someone is paying the cruiser for what it does. You feel some loyalty to the rest of the huge crew in the cruiser and you know that they all depend on the engines working well, maybe you also feel loyalty to the passengers who are paying your salary, but the captain and his plans are extremely far away from you, and you suspect the captain may be evil, you don’t know, you will certainly never meet him except when you see him in the news.
But you are surrounded by a nice team of specialists working on the engines with you. You have fun together and you can use your talents and capacities really well. Your direct boss is likable and praises you for your effort. You earn good money and you can live a life in safety.
Is that good enough?
*Spoiler alert*: this post is a couple weeks old and the last comment says that they did decide to join the large company.
I really like the analogy of being somewhere in the belly of a large ship, not being able to see or influence where the ship goes. For now - with small kids who still sleep-deprive me more often than not and a husband working towards getting some stability in academia - I like being in this safe big ship. I like the people in my ship and the ship often sends inspirational videos of what happens out on the sea to inspire the people working in the ship. But it's a BIG change from academia where I felt much more like I could decide what to do and what to work on (which of course if you think about it is only true if the PI and/or funding agency allows you to work on it...). Now, I have to think about what my targets are, and which of those has the highest priority. And when I want to know exactly how something works scientifically speaking, the answer is that if it's not in the interest of the big ship, it's not something that I should be working on.