I got a new job last year. Upon handing in my resignation, my soon to be ex-boss tried to convince me to stay. He asked me this question:
You are a big fish in a small pond here, while over there, it’s the opposite. Which do you want to be?
I was set to join a company of a bigger scale, hence, the question was asked. I didn’t budge and left, but the question lives rent-free in my mind. I wasn't sure what he meant with that question.
6 months into my new job, I now have an answer to it. There is no right choice because it is not wrong to prefer one over the other.
If you are comfortable to be where you are, why bother thinking about the other pond? And if you are not happy being where you are, why stay?
The idiom suggests that you are bound to stay in a pond, but what if the ponds are connected? What if you don't live in a pond; instead, it's a stream that connects many ponds.
And those ponds are just stages of life. Sometimes it's a small pond, other times it's a big one. No matter the size, moving on to the next pond will help you grow and experience something new.
It will always be challenging to leave your comfort zone, and you may not always be ready to do so. That's okay because "the pond" should be a place that makes you happy.
If being in your comfort zone makes you happy - then so be it. Don't move to the next pond. But if you can't find what you are seeking in this pond, then move along. Don't waste your time for too long.
So, the question is no longer valid. It's not about choosing the smaller or, the bigger pond. It's about finding your own happiness.
Some people say that being a big fish in a small pond is too cowardly because you stay in the same place and does not seek new challenges. Nope, doesn't matter to me.
Some also think that being in a bigger pond is like working as a small cog in a giant machine. You do your job, but only as a replaceable spare part. I don't think that matters too.
You can always find your own pond, a place where you are happy at. And it doesn't have to be at work; you can be in many ponds at the same time. Heck, you can even make your own pond and be the only fish in it.
The pond can be translated into work, life, communities, relationships, your circle of friends, and so on, but what matters the most is how you enjoy being in those ponds.
Now, ask yourself this question: