Author Topic: Taking a step back in career and impact on unvested stock award  (Read 760 times)

ItsALongStory

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 522
  • Location: Somewhere in Europe
Taking a step back in career and impact on unvested stock award
« on: November 16, 2019, 09:00:30 AM »
Hey,

This may be total paranoia but I have a bit of a debate with myself on my path to slow down in my career. I currently work in big tech, been here under 4 years at this time so I'm still accumulating stock awards at an accelerated pace. I've been promoted a few times which has increased the likely award in future years.

My plan for fire is to slow down and move to an area with a lower cost of living (Portugal is high on the list) as a transition/slowdown opportunity. Initially I was thinking of just quitting and finding a position over there but I've started to think a bit more about the unvested money I'd be leaving on the table by doing so. Let's say I'd move to Portugal and drop down a few levels in the organization. I would probably take a pay cut in excess of 50% anyway but with my continued vesting I could actually be a really good spot earning an additional 50-60% from vesting. I don't feel comfortable asking HR about this so I figured I'd ask here since there is a huge big tech representation.

In essence my question is as follows: In a scenario where I would take a step back from let's say director level to program manager would there be any impact to my unvested stock schedule?

plog

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 243
Re: Taking a step back in career and impact on unvested stock award
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2019, 06:00:05 PM »
Quote
I don't feel comfortable asking HR about this so I figured I'd ask here since there is a huge big tech representation

Your asking the internet about the specifics of your organization's stock options vesting policy.  I don't see how we can offer any real assistance other than have this conversation with HR:

'I meet with a financial planner and part of my homework to lay out my plan with him was to get all the data I could about my stock option vestings.  Where can I get a copy of the plans and who can I ask questions to?'

ItsALongStory

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 522
  • Location: Somewhere in Europe
Re: Taking a step back in career and impact on unvested stock award
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2019, 06:41:51 PM »
Yeah, reading my question again there really isn't any reason I couldn't ask HR about the policies for unvested stock when making international moves. They are quite common after all.

secondcor521

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3648
  • Age: 51
  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Big cattle, no hat.
    • Age of Eon - Overwatch player videos
Re: Taking a step back in career and impact on unvested stock award
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2019, 09:40:43 AM »
My experience with options and big tech organizations (worked for two of them) is that your granted options would continue to vest on the original schedule as long as (a) you're alive, and (b) still working for the company as an employee.

You would likely not get anywhere near the amount of additional options granted once you dropped down in org level.  With the way you're thinking about it, that could be OK.

Once you leave the organization, you sometimes have a period of time after leaving where you can exercise vested options.  Sometimes it ends on your last day of employment.

Whenever I was granted options, I was always given paperwork telling me what the vesting schedule and rules were.  You could ask HR for a copy (they don't care one way or the other), or check and see if you have it yourself.

It seems like a reasonable plan as long as your org either has an office in Portugal or is willing to let you work remotely from there.

seattlecyclone

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5857
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Seattle, WA
    • My blog
Re: Taking a step back in career and impact on unvested stock award
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2019, 03:20:04 PM »
Not exactly what you're looking for, but I switched from full time to part time at a big tech company for the last three years before FIRE. When I made the switch they kept my number of unvested shares constant, but the rate of vesting was scaled down proportionally to my new percentage of full-time work. For example if I had switched from full time to half time, a grant with 100 shares remaining that originally was scheduled to vest at a rate of 10 shares per quarter over the next 2.5 years would now be vesting at a rate of 5 shares per quarter over the next 5 years. Of course that's just what one company does in one circumstance that is similar in some ways to what you're looking to do. Your company will probably do something different.

WalkaboutStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Re: Taking a step back in career and impact on unvested stock award
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2019, 04:23:42 AM »
Read your plan documents. There will be a bunch of mumbo jumbo , but the real meat if your question will probably take no more than 2 pages. Chances are they stop vesting once you leave, and expire within 6 months or so after you do. You may have the option to pull money out of your pocket to essentially buy the options and hold them to exercise later (not sure how attractive that is to you).