Corporate IT will waste a huge amount of your time

If you work in a large organisation you will probably be issued with a standard Windows laptop with the standard corporate image. If you can do your entire job using only Microsoft Office then this is great (or at least adequate).

However, as an engineer you probably need some specialist software installed, so you can now look forward to several weeks of simultaneous negotiations with the IT and finance departments. If you want to install something open source then they will be deeply suspicious, and if you want to run some software which you wrote yourself then all bets are off.

In contrast, working at a small startup is a breath of fresh air. On your first morning they throw a Macbook Pro at you and give you the admin password. If you want a big monitor or some expensive software then you can choose whatever you like and within reason they will probably just give you the company credit card and let you get on with it.

The essential difference is trust. Rather than assuming that every user is an evil idiot, the small company trusts you. If you have the luxury of working in the small company environment, make sure you deserve that trust. Back up your files and ensure your software is kept up-to-date. Store data where you are asked to, and ensure that you have a legal license for all the software you install.