So I just asked my first question here on Workplace, which by the way I specifically mentioned on the question body. It turns out the majority of the people who saw the question resorted to giving or upvoting snarky comments or outright voting to close. Apparently one person decided to downvote the question even..

I feel it's a pity, since I put quite a bit of time and work into formulating the question. Tried to be very specific with what I am asking, alas the question was put on-hold on the basis of being too broad.

I am confident that the question is relevant and should be improved to the point where it can be re-opened. More specifically:

  • The question isn't about whether or not I am willing to take the risks, but rather how to minimize the risks involved

  • The question is essentially asking for important parameters that are worth checking. It may sound like it to some, but I wasn't asking "OMG, what should I do?"

  • There are two relevant and useful answers, demonstrating that the question is indeed answerable. There might be more people with useful insights out there...

I will try to edit the question eventually to attempt to improve, but I figured I'll ask here on Meta if there are any constructive feedback about what should be improved/edited.

Note: This question has been re-opened.

  • 1
    I'll let others comment on how to edit your question, since I don't really understand why it was put on hold. I suspect you might get better information from the startups stackexchange site at startups.stackexchange.com. Consider posting your question there and seeing what happens. Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 12:30
  • 1
    A few pointers: 1) shorter is almost invariably better. Long posts aren't bad by definition but typically benefit from or even require a TLDR or highlighted core question. 2) Questions aren't put on hold as a forms of punishment. The goal is to prevent people from answering when the question needs work or is unclear so it can be improved and answers can be submitted for the most clear version of your question. That seems to have worked out here fine. I've yet to see anyone use close votes with malicious intent. 3) The odd downvote also isn't a problem and generally not something to focus on.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 20:14

3 Answers 3


The question has too many moving parts. You could literally write a book on the topics you have asked about and there are several already.

You could choose to focus a question (or several questions) on one of the last 3 bullet points.

  • salary/benefits being less than optimal (as first employees, not sure what to expect)

There are already quite a few questions about this subject on the site. Read through these. If there is still something that you do not understand make sure you can ask that in a way that it is clearly not a duplicate or very similar to existing questions. If you think that there may be a question that is similar link to that question and explain what is missing from that question that you are wanting to understand.

  • being "boxed out" of the future of the company, when/if things start to go well

You could probably focus on this topic and make a good question. Be sure to include what it is that concerns you and how you perceive being boxed out and why it would be a problem for you. I honestly am not sure what you mean by this though I could guess, I am not at all confident that what I think you mean here is what you actually mean.

  • being abruptly put out of a job, if the budget/timeline doesn't go as planned

What are your concerns here specifically? Why do you think this is risk that you need to address? These things are important in helping you find the answer to this problem. But if you properly ask this question I think it could be a valid and successful question on the site.

  • being legally bound in an unfavorable way

Unfavorable is a very Bad Subjective term to use in a question. Maybe you do not want to be tied to a company for 5 years, but some people might find 5 years of security comforting. What exactly do you find to be unfavorable terms for your first job. Then do a search on those things as many of them have been addressed on the site already. If you still have questions after doing that research then feel free to ask that question. Again make sure you spell out why your question is different from any existing questions that might be similar. I am sure there are thousands of aspects of this topic that have not been addressed and could be great questions.

If you ask several questions and then find that you are having difficulty resolving how to accomplish the results of 2 or more of your questions feel free to ask a new question that links the original questions you asked and explain how you are having difficulty accomplishing both and ask how to resolve the problem. Having that scope defined will help make sure the focus is enough that is answerable in the SE format.


As one who voted to close, here are my reasons:

It was too long, too ranty, and too unfocussed.

Also, mentioning that it's your first post is unnecessary.

Edit it down to be concise, and focused.

Remove your disclaimer, it annoys people and is irrelevant. The next for paragraphs should be reduced to the bare bones.

We don't need to know that you're a researcher. The fact that you are in Sweden should be a tag, not in the body of your question.

Also, avoid words and phrases that are unprofessional. Words like "screwed" aren't going to get you favorable attention.

Your entire question could have been little more than:

My question is what can I do to ensure to minimize the risk of being in a bad situation?

Specifically I am concerned about:

•salary/benefits being less than optimal (as first employees, not sure what to expect)

•being "boxed out" of the future of the company, when/if things start to go well

•being abruptly put out of a job, if the budget/timeline doesn't go as planned

•being legally bound in an unfavorable way

Is there anything else I should be wary about? What are some typical deal-breakers from my point of view?

  • 1
    I agree that the revised question would be better, but I think it would still be to broad which is why I choose not to edit the question down to something similar in the first place. I think if the OP focused on any one of the last 3 bullets for a question it could work. the first bullet has many duplicates already on the site. Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 14:23
  • I forgot the country tags instead of putting in text in my answer i will edit accordingly. Thanks for the reminder.
    – Walfrat
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 14:33
  • 1
    Using the location tags is important, but there's no need to exclude that information from the question. In fact, it helps to say "I'm in Sweden" or wherever in the question, because the tags (on the web interface) show up down at the bottom, after the point where you needed that context. Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 15:34
  • @MonicaCellio True. Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 16:19

I think you detailed too much your own history

I think your question should look like :

What are the risks of being the first employees on a startup ? Eventually considering the following :

This is my first job outside of academia

The domain of the companie is biotech/pharma (which is a very competitive field)

Add your country by using the relevant tag.

After this you can add some extra information about how do you feel towards them, in case this rings some bells to people here :

In general both of the founders have good credentials; ...

The part that feels fishy is that in the process of negotiating, the senior founder followed a rather pushy approach (IMHO)...

So people can first address your general concerns, and use extra information is they can have a more accurate answer along with it.

  • The risks of bring a startup:s firs employee are essentially those of working for a startup. Being first may or may not get you additional ownership points; it may or may not put additional demands on you. But those will vary on a case by case basis.
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 12:08
  • @keshlam if this is the answer and anything that OP said don't really change anything, then it is the answer.
    – Walfrat
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 12:26
  • 1
    This question is too discussiony and too broad. Its not the type of question that works well at SE. Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 14:24

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