Everyone Has a Number. What’s Yours?

by / ⠀Startup Advice / December 9, 2011

Everyone has a number.  No, I’m not asking for your number ladies. I’m asking what it would take for you to quit your startup and work for someone else. Okay, maybe you wouldn’t be fetching coffee all the time, but seriously, what would it take for you to work your ass off for someone else? Your company goes on hold and you join the great American workforce.

Here are a few things for you to consider.

This opportunity must:

1. Work somewhere that you have an opportunity to learn a few things.
2. Be in a city where you’ll be moderately happy.
3. For our purposes, you’ll be locked in for two years, make bank and leave to start your company.
4. Your work will be slightly less than interesting.

Recently, Silicon Alley Insider published a rumor that 80% of  Goldman Sachs interns turned down their full time job offers.  Is this a sign of the times that the brightest young business minds would rather work for a startup and eat Ramen Noodles than caviar right of school? We’re not quite sure.

What we do know is these kids will have no life.  We’re talking 6 hours of sleep max.  Burnout city, here we come.  It’s not that we have lives as entrepreneurs, but at least we’re in control of that.  Hoodie to the office because you’re hungover?  Sure.  Take off Friday afternoon to beat traffic and make up for it by going all out on Sunday?  Yes, please.  Not spend your time working in a stuffy environment having small talk with people you can’t relate to?  I think you know my answer…

See also  Should You Be Paying Yourself More?

Most recent college grads at top tier investment banks can hope to make between $100-150k.  According to Business Insider, private equity firms are paying young Wall Street analysts up to $300k.   If you are an engineer and your services are in demand you could rake in this much as well.

Of course, what I hope it really comes down to is that you do something that makes you jump out of bed, pumped to go kill it, instead of feeling beat down day after day like many of our friends in corporate America.  Whatever that is, is different for everyone. And yes, we’ve all heard that our generation wants to be fulfilled by our work and make a difference too, but idealism aside, what’s your number?

I’m confident that in two years time I could build a business from scratch, where my portion of the equity would be valued at greater than $500k.  While I may not have liquidity at that end of two years, and I am fully capable of failure, I would be building something of my own and in the end it’d all be worth it.  I guess that leaves my number at $300k yearly salary, spending $50k a year living comfortably and grinding out my two years of employment.

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