By my friend and former coworker, Meaghan O’Connell:
If you’re an early employee and the company is new, your options are pretty much worthless for now. If the company succeeds later on, though, this is to your advantage. This is why people shittier than you always want to “get in on the ground floor.” Getting in on the ground floor just means you paid less to get more. Your “strike price” is way lower, and maybe you got your option grant before they hired a lawyer who advised them to stop giving people so much stock, you newbs, you’re giving away the farm.
TIP: Always join a company before the lawyers do.