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>watching them get squeezed by big tech companies offering sky high comp fills me with glee.

Enjoy your new life as a corporate drone!

Note to the salty drones in the comments below: I started a business that was passively profitable for years and now pretty much just work on what interests me

I was self-employed for more than a decade and I made $300k - 400k for years. I'm not at all worried about the corporate life. If I don't like it, I'll go do my own thing again, no problem. What I won't do is work for a third of the income and convince myself that I'm one of the cool kids because there's a ping-pong table in my office and my "CEO" made some 30 under 30 list.

But it's not your whole life because we're living longer and it's enough money to retire earlier. Suck up the drone life, retire early and spend 50 years with no boss, no customers, just tooling away on whatever you please.

I find big companies to be incredibly frustrating. It is so hard to get anything done. As a result I have gravitated towards startups. I know I have made less money but I love the daily feeling of having an impact.

I think startups are great for junior employees because you learn so much so quickly. Eventually if you want to be successful in startups you need to start your own startup. The payout on 25% ownership at $10M or $20M is not bad and lots more companies can buy that sized company than a billion dollar one.

I'm hopeful that there's a middle ground. The company I chose is on the smaller side (think Dropbox, Snap, Twitter, etc) but still public. My team is even smaller, I'll be one of a handful of iOS devs on the product I work on. But we'll see, it might suck!

>I'm hopeful that there's a middle ground.

There absolutely is. I'm not sure why so many here seem to think that the only options are: BA startup, FAANG, Fortune 500 megacorp.

“They said from their desk at 8pm at night, while the drone had already gotten home, had dinner with their family, and was putting their kids to bed.”

Comp and work/life balance smoothes over a lot of negatives inherent in corporate life.

Enjoy having 90 days to exercise your worthless stock options!

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