Worth switching to FAANG for less comp?

New trmind
Apr 29 29 Comments

Hello Blind,

I am severely burned out and depressed by my current job situation, so I hope I could get some wise advice.

I have 8yoe and I was an early employee at a startup that is growing quite well. As a result, my compensation is significantly high due to valuation increase, and I am currently sitting at ~800k TC (250k base + 550k equity), based on the last valuation. The equity part is currently illiquid, but the company has been doing periodic buybacks considering the late stage of the company (Series E) and the bullish stance of management (they are shooting at 2X-4X the current valuation in the next 3 years). I have personally taken advantage of the buyback opportunities for some of my shares, and they bought them at the price on which I based the 800k calculation (this is for all the folks who'll mention common vs preferred, my calculation is based on common buyback price).

I have a lot of already vested and exercised stock options because I've been here a few years, so if I leave I have my lottery ticket. Still, every month I vest new equity up to the ~800k/y mentioned above, and this grant is going happen for the next 3 years.

The problem is, I hate this job, as the startup grew (we are in a very boring enterprise business) a lot of crappy management and engineers have been brought on board (since it doesn't pay that well for people who are getting new grants, so the best folks go to FAANG), I despise everything and everyone basically. I start getting heavy depression on Sunday thinking about the work week, and on Monday I'm spending my morning writing this on Blind rather than working. It's awful and also eating in my personal life (lots of fights with my partner due to my bad mental state and negativity).

I interviewed at FAANG recently and haven't been able to get a similarly high compensation, the maximum I've been offered is in the 400k range (FB E5, Google L4, Netflix senior engineer, specifically).

Do you think it would be wise to forfeit that much TC with the goal of a new work environment with better challenges?

Thanks

Age: 32
TC: 800k
Net Worth: ~1.5M (all in Vanguard)
Expenses: ~50k/y

comments

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TOP 29 Comments
  • With 8YOE and a startup success story under your belt, I’d expect 500k+ is attainable.

    Maybe it’s because you may not have prior FAANG experience? I know a guy with 5 YOE but G and some unicorn experience, plus top CS school, who got 400k offers from F, U, L, and Airbnb.

    I’d say keep interviewing until you crack 500k+ which is at the high end, but I think possible for your YOE. (Also depends on how well you perform in the interview.) Your existing offers aren’t running away anytime soon.

    Either way — 400k at FAANG isn’t bad. Think of the long-term growth opportunities there. You could probably get promoted and be making 500k+ and 600k+ as you rise the ranks.
    Apr 29 10
    • New trmind
      OP
      What’s your point? FB stock is very volatile anyway, so by the time I join or not it’ll surely be +- 10%, which makes the 30k difference basically noise. With that little difference I care more about the quality of the work and specific team.
      Apr 29
    • Microsoft plistbuddy
      Point is, learn to calculate
      Apr 29
    • New trmind
      OP
      Most people, including the government, would consider the sign on bonus as part of the first year TC (certainly the IRS does!), it doesn’t make sense to divide it by 4, I get it all NOW. Where does your 4y even come from? It’s completely detached from the RSU vesting schedule, it has a clawback clause of 6-12 months. In 1y I might be at a different company and gotten another sign on bonus, or just a higher refresh at FB, and the original bonus is still all in my pockets.

      So, FB offer might be considered even higher than netflix (not that I do, due to the cash vs stock inherent risk), so stop being a moronic troll and go study RSU vesting schedules and sign on contract clauses instead, one day you might get one too so you better be prepared.
      Apr 29
    • I’d go with FB unless N gives you much better commute time or something. Benefits and amenities are much better.

      Plus, FB is a tier above N when it comes to resume and career building.
      Apr 29
    • Quora vhQW50
      Google's offer really sucks these days, not mentioning they downlevel crazily. However, I am confidence to say despite how insulting their initial offer looks like, they may try a close match to you other offers.
      Apr 29
  • Metromile / Eng FoHm60
    Tbh, OP is in such a privileged position I’m surprised the comments have been so supportive. Either decision will leave him firmly inside the 1% in terms of compensation and net wealth.

    Personally suck it up for 2-3 years and then be even more financially secure. I’ve been truly poor so I really don’t understand this guy’s angst one bit. Either decision is massively awesome compared to the average person, many of whom are actually happy. Kinda sounds like he/she needs therapy wicked bad if he/she is inventing inhappiness in thay situation
    Apr 29 2
    • New trmind
      OP
      I have been truly poor as well. Grew up dirt poor in Eastern Europe, never had any money whatsoever and even when I was in college (in Europe) having 5$ for discretionary spending was something rare, maybe once every couple months.

      I came to the US about 9 years ago with no belongings and absolutely 0$ and started working via internships and such, and over time I was able to secure more rewarding positions and ultimately move to this startup as I got my green card after a long H1B wait.

      Let me tell you: I was in a better mental state when I was poor and hustling at full pace to improve my situation, than here with these golden handcuffs where I am forced to do nothing all day and stay paralyzed in this position just in the hope of this big payout that one day might come (or not).
      Apr 29
    • Quora vhQW50
      ^ this is an inspiring sharing. Thanks
      Apr 29
  • New NcEf26
    I would never leave in that situation. If the value of that equity doubled then you’re making 1.6M a year. Take that money and reinvest in the tech sector. You’re basically done working by 37. Then you can do anything with you’re life.

    Also, don’t underestimate grass is greener. You don’t know if you’ll like working at FAANG. Maybe the issues for non happiness can be solved by exercise, therapy, etc
    Apr 29 1
    • New trmind
      OP
      That’s what many people told me. I’m just really afraid that this will destroy my confidence and my mental sanity and would lead me to a dark place.

      Since I don’t do anything interesting at work, I started studying and reading a lot of material about software (books, articles) at night and during the weekend just to feel I’m not wasting my time and not progressing in my technical growth. This has been eating in my relationship with my partner and a decrease happiness in life.

      I already exercise, sleep and eat clean.

      I have a very strong passion for software and computers and if I can’t exercise that on my daily job I have to keep growing it in my free time, else I feel like a failure.

      I was hoping that being at FAANG I would work on challenging problems that would keep me busy on that front, just like I did when the startup was not full of bozos who literally don’t care at all about tech.
      Apr 29
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • New trmind
      OP
      That’s what many people told me. I’m just really afraid that this will destroy my confidence and my mental sanity and would lead me to a dark place.

      Since I don’t do anything interesting at work, I started studying and reading a lot of material about software (books, articles) at night and during the weekend just to feel I’m not wasting my time and not progressing in my technical growth. This has been eating in my relationship with my partner and a decrease happiness in life.

      I already exercise, sleep and eat clean.

      I have a very strong passion for software and computers and if I can’t exercise that on my daily job I have to keep growing it in my free time, else I feel like a failure.

      I was hoping that being at FAANG I would work on challenging problems that would keep me busy on that front, just like I did when the startup was not full of bozos who literally don’t care at all about tech.
      Apr 29
  • Seagate toti420
    You’re not settling for 400k from FB/G to substantially improve your personal life? Human greed has no limit indeed!
    Apr 30 0
  • Indeed lndeed
    depends on your financial and personal situation. 1.5mm is a useless metric without context of your needs and desires.

    I’d say calculate the post-tax take home diff between the top offers and the diff in life satisfaction expected and go off that.

    Not ideal to make millions but lose your partner.
    Apr 29 0
  • New qeerty
    I think you’re secure enough to take a risk. If you’re miserable it should be easy to move to a company where you think the current issues don’t exist. Imagine not being sure if you hate your current job — that makes it much more difficult
    Apr 29 1
    • New trmind
      OP
      Yeah, I know for sure I hate my current job. But I’ve had people in real life telling me that I would be stupid to leave that much TC on the table (especially if the company really does 4X in 3 years). They said my situation is exactly the reason people join startups early, to hope to get to my point where they vest high TC, and they they don’t just leave. That’s the whole problem.
      Apr 29
  • Segment / Eng sinkorswim
    Do whatever you like, man! It’s your life.
    Apr 29 0
  • Dropbox puts&calls
    Why not another unicorn/pre-IPO company instead? Are you looking for liquidity?
    Apr 29 2
    • New trmind
      OP
      Yes. I feel like I have already a lot at risk with the amount of illiquid exercised equity I have, so I’d like to have more liquidity this time.

      Plus I feel as a software engineer I might benefit more from a more structured environment like a large company this time. I’m a bit tired of the chaos of early stage companies. Things are never executed the proper way and scalability issues are often not as challenging due to the lower user base.
      Apr 29
    • Dropbox puts&calls
      Then, it sounds like you have already made up your mind then. Good luck!
      Apr 29
  • New adjkfie
    I’d just stick it out a couple years and retire with a couple million, really impressive btw! Though obvi you’re the one in the situation so no one knows better than yourself what’s going on
    Apr 29 0
  • Periscope Data / Other
    dnb90

    Periscope Data Other

    PRE
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    dnb90more
    You’re in the 99.9th percentile of wealth for your age range. Mental peace is priceless. If there ever comes a time that Sunday would fill me with dread, I’d be looking for work elsewhere regardless of the pay cut.
    Sep 1 0
  • Bloomberg donalddack
    Talk to your management / founders about other role for you. E.g. try working as a TPM. Or consider relocation to an overseas office if there is one. It might give the routine a new spin.
    Aug 5 0
  • Snapchat lullerina
    Any update on what you decided?
    Jul 23 0