I’ve generally avoided the startup scene as a general rule. Some of my friends have gone that route and their stories essentially warned me away. The good part of working at a startup is that they’re often like training in a hyperbolic time chamber. You have to push real hard and wear a lot of hats to cobble things together, so working at a startup is really good for leveling up a lot of skills really quickly.
The first major drawback is that you’re generally not compensated well for your work. Most startups offer significant shares of ownership of the company by getting in on the ground floor, but that comes at the cost of other forms of compensation. The pay is lower, the benefits are not as good, the vacation time is non-existent, people are constantly crunching to meet deadlines, and there are usually no bonuses to be seen anywhere. In exchange, you get ownership shares in the company. If you’re lucky, your startup succeeds and your shares become a life-changing amount of money. This leads us to the second major drawback of startups.
The second major drawback is that the majority of startups fail. Around 90% of the time, ownership shares in a startup are going to be worthless because the startup runs out of money and isn’t able to reach sustainability or get acquired by a bigger company. 20 million shares of something worth zero is still zero. Working at a startup is a gamble with bad odds at best that can takes years to pay off.
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