If you are a recent midlevel Square employee, you are likely to have gotten 10k-25k RSU’s vested over 2 years. That’s about $130k-$325k pre-tax over 2 years, assuming today’s stock price. (the throwaway-authored reddit post could be completely made-up, but these numbers are not far from what I’ve seen at Uber and 3 other startups)
Folks who joined before Square introduced RSU’s (which, looks like, were issued for at least the last 2 years) likely had to pay for their stock options, and it doesn’t look pretty:
21 million options have been awarded at a value above the $13.07 closing price of Square’s stock today
“Awarded at a value above the price today” means “currently worth less than toilet paper”. Of course, those 21 mil options could have been bonuses on top of RSU’s, which would make this a bit more palatable.
If you got in a bit earlier with a strike price of $1 and an options grant of 25k, then we’re looking at $300k before tax. I have no idea what a typical options grant was in those days, again just going by what I’ve seen at 4 other startups. If you got a royal grant of 100k, then it’s closer to real money – $1.2 million before tax, but clearly that has quickly dried up in value as the strike price went up and over the current ~$13 stock price, leaving the people who joined at the later stages of the stock options program with not much.
Also worth noting is that a decent engineer with a $150k/year in salary at Square (according to Glassdoor, which unfortunately does not offer a time filter on those salaries, but let’s assume for a moment that it’s a relatively recent number) – the same engineer could probably pull $200k (or maybe even $250k) at the big 4, all things considered. That’s at least $100k extra for the 2 year period. That does not make one filthy rich, but apparently neither did the Square IPO so far.
I do believe however that it’s a viable business, and the stock price may (or may not) go up during the lock-up period significantly.