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My $20,000 Lesson: Stock Options are BS

It’s been a while since I covered the bullshittery of startup stock options on this blog, but today life had led me to needing to put out a distress signal to anyone who doesn’t quite understand how they work and why they are really a load of fancy horse manure, slightly more valuable than a handful of lottery tickets.

What’s worse is those lottery tickets come with a price. I’ve explained this on my blog before, but feel like it’s necessary to cover this topic one more time, just to make sure that the point is clear.

When you join a startup, part of your total pay package is in stock options. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say you are a new employee, relatively senior, and you are going to be given $100,000 in total compensation. That compensation will not be all cash. Say you get $70,000 in cash, $30,000 in options. The value of those options is really where the bullshit factor begins. Options are priced at what the investors think the company is worth. The earlier the company, the lower the “valuation” (i.e. price the investors think the company is worth), but also there’s a lot of guesswork involved as well. What is the company going to be worth when it sells? How can anyone know that before the product is tested and it’s clear that people actually want to buy that product for the long term? Continue reading

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Massively, Massively Overwhelmed.

Life is good right now, so why can’t I let myself enjoy it? I have a new job, a new apartment with my not-so-new boyfriend, I’m moving up in the world, I’m excited about all the opportunities on the table, and yet I can’t just pause to relax and enjoy the present. I can’t take a week to just stop and reset. Instead, I feel like I have to close a thousand loose ends at my old company. At some point I guess I just need to walk away. But that’s hard for me. I know any projects I leave unfinished will remain that way. I like completion.

So how do I stop being so damn anxious all the time and just learn to enjoy life? It goes by fast and I’m watching it blur before my eyes. I want to take two weeks to go on a road trip and not have to worry about work or think about work projects, but unfortunately that won’t be possible as I start my new job pretty much right away. I don’t know when the next time I’ll have any real time off between projects will be. Probably when (if) I have a kid, and that certainly won’t be time to hit the road and drive to anywhere. This is it. This is really my 30s. This is feeling all the opportunity in the world as a pressure pushing down on me, trapping me, yet allowing me to fly. Continue reading

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Increasing Cost of My Health Issues

I’m the type of person who avoids going to the doctor like the plague until I already have the worst case of the plague. But after having ongoing spells — fits of strange feelings of sudden sadness, deja vu, a surreal feeling and metallic taste in mouth lasting about 30 seconds to a minute, et al — I felt concerned. I assumed it was just a panic attack, but after doing a quick google search and finding that my strange seemingly disparate symptoms actually were all descriptive of temporal lobe seizures. That got me to a doctor.

Well, actually I went in for a physical and mentioned my symptoms. The doctor seemed concerned as well and referred me to a neurologist. The neurologist, who happens to be a specialist in epilepsy (that’s what you get living near world-renowned hospitals/universities) actually didn’t think I was crazy either. I was pretty sure she’d take one look at me and say – girl, you have mild migraines — take some tylenol — or you clearly are having panic attack, here is some xanax and have a nice day.

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Put in Our Application – The Waiting Game Begins

Wouldn’t it be nice if spending $400 per month more than I wanted to on an apartment would guarantee that the place would be ours? Yes, our 700-square-foot one bedroom, should we secure the affinity of our potential landlord, will be $2200 per month. Not even the commitment to pay that much for a relatively small (and outdated) place gets us immediate confirmation.

At least we have good credit scores. I ran mine again (*expletive* Experian for being the most scammy spammy company around) and I’m  at 738. My boyfriend has a crazy good credit score over 760. I messed mine up with one or two late credit card payments in the past, but this was very clearly me forgetting the date to pay and not long-term collections type issues. However, the landlord seemed a little nervous when I told her I was changing jobs and going to work for a “startup.” I quickly responded “don’t worry, they’ve raised a lot of money. And we have enough in the bank to pay for a year of rent even if for some reason we ever did lose our jobs. Come on, how could you turn us down? Continue reading

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Just Pick a Place Already You Two!

My boyfriend and I are terrible - terrible - at making decisions. He’s so terrible at making decisions at 31 he has never left his house and after eight years of dating we’ve never moved in together. I’m slightly less terrible at making decisions, but I am not anywhere near good at making them either.

So finding an apartment is an extremely difficult #firstworldproblems challenge. We’ve seen over 40 apartments and every one is not up to my standard of living, especially for the price they charge! I always thought if I decided to move to San Francisco I’d be ok with paying an exorbitant amount for rent, but it feels wrong to pay so much to live in the burbs. I don’t care how great the town is.

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