So view market-rate compensation simply as table stakes, and spend your energy focused on the next level of Maslow’s hierarchy of employee happiness: opportunities for growth, the ability to have impact towards a purpose, and a caring environment that makes them feel valued.
There’s this default human condition to trust others and give the benefit of the doubt. Some may question why I took the job in the first place or continued to work for them when there were so many red flags. To those people I say this: there is also a default human condition to not give up. In hindsight, yes I could have probably saved myself the heartache, but in the end I took a risk I thought worth taking. It brought me to Silicon Valley. I met new and wonderful, smart, talented people. It felt great to work my ass off. I had the opportunity to sit across major VC investors and learn the right questions to ask. I’m not as naive with Silicon Valley and startups. I learned how the state of California fiercely protects employees’ rights. I came to appreciate Dallas more and all the things I took for granted like proximity to friends, family, wide open spaces, and a place to call home. I haven’t given up on Silicon Valley or California, and I sure as hell haven’t given up on good people. I hope you never have to experience what I went through, but if you have, please share your story so that others may learn and know that they are not alone when it comes to startup fraud.