We all know most tech giants can offer designers pretty sweet incentives, but in my experience, there are some skills you are only able to master—and perks you can only get—when you’re at a small agency.

The ability to change gears in a moment’s notice.
When in a small team, you not only have to learn to move fast but you also will be put in a situation to jump from one task to another without much of a heads up. While this is not always how we want to spend our days, it certainly is a pretty cool superpower to have—and, bonus!—it can prepare you for entrepreneurship

The capacity to wear many hats.
When I was in school, I’d always dream about that day, the day I’d become an Art Director and spend my days art directing… Well, I have news for you, a good AD has a tremendous eye for design and can give great design direction—but a great AD, on the other hand, can also think strategically, guide and mentor non-designers, build relationships with clients, help scope out projects, and so much more. When you’re an AD in a small team, you get more opportunities to develop and master these skills—as they’re absolutely crucial to your success.

The confidence experience gives you.
Expressing your opinions and ideas can be pretty intimidating when you’re a young designer—the fear of “is this question going to make me sound stupid?” could come to haunt you during meetings and brainstorming sessions. The good news? The more you do it, the more you speak up, the faster you’ll grow out of your fear. The even better news? That process is so much more painless when most meetings are quick huddles with three peeps instead of large, very official-feeling gatherings.

The connections you can make.
Here we go again. Joining a 200+ people team can feel pretty overwhelming, all the new names, the titles, etc. The idea of having a meaningful connection with all (or even some) of those individuals won’t seem feasible. Well, when you join a small team, learning names and processes will most likely feel less stressful. You’ll get to talk to almost everyone almost every day, and by working closely together, there’s a good chance you’ll get to connect with (at least) some on a more personal level—and let’s be real here, that just makes happy hour way more fun

The making of the rules.
If your boss is as awesome as mine, you will have the chance to bring your dog to the office, work remotely when visiting out-of-state family, design cool shit stuff, and even add your favorite snacks to the office supplies list! The smaller the team, the better chance that you’ll have a say on pretty much everything that helps create an ideal work environment.