IBM to Startup... Do it with paycut?

Dec 18, 2019 22 Comments

Hi everyone,

I've been at IBM for a bit now s my only first/big job and I got a compelling offer from a startup (100 mil funded, started 5 years ago, Series B) in an industry that I always wanted to get into with a title bump (Principal level... aka I'll be the first of my role in that company). The team in IBM isn't that great but the company itself has treated me very well so far. However, my growth (as well as estimating my potential growth) and the team dynamic has been really eating away at me.

The startup is offering me to create a new line of products that will be part of their core business model and I'm excited by it (and the fact that I will be in the industry that the startup is in). I'm fairly confident that I will be able to deliver and learn a ton of new things in an industry that I am fairly new to. Another aspect I thought of, is working in a different environment with arguably smarter people as IBM was my first/big job.

I'd also have to cancel a purchase on a house and move from Austin to DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia) area. Fortunately, no debt and a US Citizen.

I'm in the upper range of 20s and I thought if this is the time to take risk, this is one of my last chances to join a startup. Should I suck it up and stay at IBM and try to move teams / work things out?

Startup: 180K Base + Options (0.05-0.075% stake). Relocation included. Likely to get Security Clearance. No room for negotiation.

Current: 210K Base, 85K RSU

<7 YoE


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TOP 22 Comments
  • It’s better to regret doing something than not doing it. Go for the startup if you like the role.
    Dec 18, 2019 0
  • IBM / Eng yikyakker
    What band are you at in IBM? Must be STSM at that salary level. I guess it depends whether you're willing to take the risk for more growth or continue with IBM which is more stable. No telling if the startup will be around in 5 years or when a recession hits.
    Dec 18, 2019 5
    • IBM / Data bbWI22
      Change teams
      Dec 18, 2019
    • IBM / Project UmmYeah789
      I wouldn't say IBM is stable, that have way to many layoffs each year. isn't the cost of living more in DMV? When I got cut by IBM I went to a start-up with a very nice increase.
      Dec 21, 2019
  • Microsoft wyc123
    If you care about pay that much, why stay in IBM in the first place. Go find a job at FANG and make much more than IBM
    Dec 18, 2019 4
    • Microsoft wyc123
      There are plenty of trash in FANG, it is all up to you if you want to join or not.
      Dec 18, 2019
    • What’s ‘trash’
      Dec 18, 2019
  • IBM KgLd81
    I can’t believe you’re getting that comp at IBM especially in Austin. I call BS.
    Dec 20, 2019 1
  • Amazon / Eng Dude58
    Should be %ownership, no BS, simple conversion to shares on IPO (if that ever happens).
    Dec 18, 2019 1
    • IBM Cekc61
      Yea ISO. I guess I can exercise the option if it IPOs or if the price goes higher. Not really ownership.
      Dec 18, 2019
  • LinkedIn U💰S💰D
    That startup TC sucks. 0.05% of the company is worth $50K unless you believe their BS valuation.
    Dec 18, 2019 5
    • IBM / Other

      IBM Other

      Yes, rsu/iso/sign-on, whatever you want to replace/add it. The genral idea is that startup TC should exceed your current salary.
      Dec 18, 2019
    • IBM Cekc61
      I don’t think it’s cut and dry like that. Options of a non publicly traded stock is guaranteed of value once you vest VS having non publicly traded ISOs having no value even when able to be exercised.
      Dec 18, 2019


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