Michael O. Church raises some interesting points. Especially re: moving up in a company. I’ve seen it with a few friends who got in early at startups with expectations of rising to senior level positions quickly, only to be surprised when the founders bring in bigger guns from big companies for VP+ positions.
The equity piece is a good reminder too. Statistically speaking unless you’re a founder you have very little chance of getting rich off your equity. And by rich I mean the proverbial “FU Money.” You could net some great money but not the type of money where you can say FU to everyone. Many people have expectations that are just out of line with reality there.
I of course still think that the benefits of working at a startup will more often than not outweigh the cons. But it’s important to think hard about all these issues to decide whether or not a startup is ultimately right for you.