Reading about corporate jobs, and looking back on my own experience implementing projects for large companies, makes me treasure the work we get to do right now, every day with our clients.
It's difficult to describe if you've never experienced the slog of marching toward an arbitrary goal created by an out of touch executive whose decisions are mostly being incentivized by his annual bonus or taking the job of his VP, who he absolutely despises.
The politics and bravado you experience daily has to constantly be reconciled with your own reason for being there. On a good day your validation comes from the slice of efficiency that you're providing to the behemoth, or the care you take in helping your colleague. (People, afterall will make or break any job.) But on the worst days, the health insurance and your next vacation are the only incentives to lift your chin and get back to the inbox.
Small business B2B work isn't as lucrative, or always as grandiose as multi-thousand end-user deployments. But that is far outweighed by the daily gratification of solving real problems. You're talking directly to the customer, listening to the "customer profile" without any managers in between. No made up goals. You get to brainstorm, with the customer or in your own mind, get your hands dirty, and then (hopefully) deliver a solved problem wrapped in a red bow and a smile.
To see the customer's appreciation immediately is such a validating experience. Yes I take it for granted and oftentimes just reply with a semi-scripted friendly farewell. But at its core, that's what I show up for: that personal interaction and the ability to help them on their journey.
Working with small businesses is stripped of the façade. It's extremely efficient, and there's no hiding your work. Every dollar counts when it's in a small business budget, and that level of accountability makes engagements clear, and swift. Fewer conference calls, less bravado, and politics is a just a channel on TV.
Sure there are benefits to corporate jobs, and not all companies are marching toward cubicle monotony. But for all the lavish benefits and headlines that big companies tout, at the end of the day we choose to work among small businesses, because the daily work is honest and invigorating, which makes it that much easier to close the lid with a smile at 5pm.