Today I wrote our CFO an email after having a discussion with him about our stock option plan. I had complained to him that I was SOL if a corporate transaction took place before the one-year anniversary of my employment. He agreed in our face to face meeting, but insisted (to my constant agreement) that it was a good plan. He kept saying that it was a standard sort of options plan and that technology companies everywhere did the same thing.

In my email, I explained that the corporation is an evolving structure and that one of its traits is the coersion of individuals into patterns of behavior that are good for the structure but not so much for the individual. The lack of a trigger in the options plan was my case in point. I proposed that employment agreements be affixed with a statement to the effect of "In order to make the company more attractive to potential buyers, stock options granted to employees hired less than one year before the transaction will vest only if the new owners want them to." I admitted that this would not be good for the company, but it would be good for the potential employee, and this contention highlights the point I was making.

A little while later, I was called into the vice president's office where I found the engineering lead for my team, the CFO, and the vice president. We discussed at length the possibility that my email contained some subtext about my dissatisfaction with management, while I continually assured them I had written everything I was thinking, and that Idid appreciate our management (it is a good bunch as far as I can tell). They seemed much more comfortable once I agreed that my email was "strictly in the realm of philosophy" and therefore had little to do with our present situation.

Anyway, I'd just like to write a small open letter to the jackass who started the trend of writing options plans without triggers:

Dear jackass,
You are a jackass.

Some random employee

If you are ever in a position to take one of two jobs offered, consider asking if any options you are being offered will be useless to you in the event of a corporate transaction before your vesting cliff.