My dream was to own or work for a great startup. A little over a year and a half ago, that dream came true and I started working for a startup. I was in heaven, the hacker startup life.. Oh boy did that sound amazing! Long days doing what I loved, coding in an office with other like minded people doing the same thing. Group outings as we take a small break and go grab some dinner, or do something together. We even had a beer pong table in the office. It was awesome!
Then it started to really sink in after the honeymoon phase was over. 12+ hour days meant I spent no time outside of work, I didn't spend time with friends, I didn't even go out and see the big city I was living in. That sucked. For the first time in my life, I actually was getting depressed.
I realized that the startup world lures developers in with this sense of excitement, the "culture" would be awesome, how can I not take this?!? It'd be so great! Yeah having that beer pong table in the office seemed cool, take a 10 minute break from working and play some beer pong, or foosball. Or anything else that is part of the startup "culture". Or don't, because you feel like you're slacking off, or the boss tells you to get back to work.
All those things are just to get you to work there, to tell you the culture is awesome, you get to mix playing and working, life is great! It's not.
I did learn something great in my year and a half working at a startup. Startups suck.