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Well, if the only thing you care about is compensation and work/life balance then of course, you should never work at a startup. There can be benefits though, arguably better personal development, a broader view of the entire tech stack, and potentially more personal satisfaction.

Of course, if the difference is 2.5x then it's a no brainer.. I wouldn't take more than a 20-30% cut to work at a startup.

One thing I absolutely agree with you on is the option exercise window. I think it's pretty common in the startup world, but I can't really understand WHY. I mean your options at a startup are already worth less than stocks at a public company, and they still do this shit ? With all the extra risk you'd imagine they'd have to get rid of the liquidity window just so they can compete a bit better with the big guys.




> There can be benefits though, arguably better personal development, a broader view of the entire tech stack, and potentially more personal satisfaction.

There's also:

1. Shitty bosses (this and the following can be found in any kind of company)

2. Being promised one thing and then being screwed over later. How many companies have screwed over their employees of stock options or those holding existing stock?

3. Terrible tech stack / less personal satisfaction -- especially if the startup hires lousy people and value code production over smarts.

4. Management defined engineering -- when managers make important technical decisions instead of engineers. ("We've signed up for service X, please integrate with them regardless of your thoughts on the matter").


The total liquid compensation difference can be huge, when factoring in all the public equity and big company benefits... Imo we’re not talking 20/30% here, but multiples...




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