As a sort of follow-up to my last post, I'd like to point you to an excellent piece by animation veteran Steve Moore over at the FLIP blog. It's a great look at studio politics in the present day and a warning about the rose-coloured glasses that animation artists often wear.
I'd point out, especially to students about to enter the workforce, that the large studios many students aspire to are often the most political. They are filled with excellent artists and those artists are also highly ambitious. It's the combination of those two qualities that got them there. That causes the political maneuvering for choice spots, whether it's job titles or the juiciest shots, to be extreme.
Smaller studios are generally lower pressure places. As an individual represents a greater portion of a studio's workforce, it means that individuals are treated better. Should someone leave, there's a larger hole in the project. Smaller studios are also places where you can make mistakes without the spotlight being on you. Smaller studios tend to work with smaller budgets and have smaller audiences, so the inevitable mistakes early in a career don't attract as much attention.
The "Frank and Ollie trajectory," as Moore describes it, was always a rare occurrence. It's good to remember that as much pride as you might take from your employer's name, it's most likely a temporary association.
And just so you don't think that Moore's opinion is the exception, read what Steve Hulett of The Animation Guild has to add.