Call it the new American dream: hopping on board a pre-IPO dotcom with obscene amounts of venture-capital funding and creative energy, and riding the magic carpet of ones and zeroes straight to early retirement.
Not surprisingly, this scenario is just a delusion for the hundreds of thousands of diligent dotcom-ers who work until their fingers bleed, revise business strategies until the investors bite, and suffer anxiety attacks over the whims of venture capitalists who watch too much CNNfn. Meanwhile, more and more college graduates and old-economy refugees are starting careers at dotcoms without HR departments, employee handbooks, orientation procedures, or even desks.
The myth is crumbling.
As the first generation of dotcom startups enters puberty, more and more would-be Webbies are asking questions about the road ahead — and about what it takes to navigate the promising and often overwhelming future of stock options, all-nighters, and corporate mergers. So far, the answers are not encouraging. As the hazards of Internet life escalate, the rewards and protections seem to diminish at an unsettling rate. Sometimes, the speed of this new economy jeopardizes the health, happiness, and financial well-being of employees.
With this balance in mind, Fast Company has assembled the following Dotcom Bill of Rights for savvy Internet pioneers who aren’t willing to sacrifice life for work, or fulfillment for money.
Dotcom Bill of Rights: Introduction