SpaceX has a draconian stock options policy

Elon Musk is a fascinating character. It's only seven or eight years ago that I thought he was a once-in-a-century visionary. Start a successful car company? It's been nearly 100 years since anyone was able to pull that off. Start a private space company? Who's done that? No one. That's beyond Herculean — it's basically impossible. But Elon Musk did both.

I'm sure SpaceX has all the bullshit that comes with working for a corporation — horrible bosses, capricious rules, petty politics, HR overlords — but it also seems like it would be a genuinely exciting and endlessly fascinating place to work. I had a tour years ago and I was blown away. The whole building was buzzing with the kind of energy and unified purpose I've never seen anywhere else.

And, like any company, the top jobs come with perks like stock options. But according to this article in TechCrunch, if an employee is deemed to have "misbehaved," the company can block them from exercising those options. Turns out that privately held companies like SpaceX don't have to follow the same rules as publicly traded ones. 

SpaceX also gives itself the right to ban past and present employees from participating in tender offers if they are deemed to have committed "an act of dishonesty against the company" or to have violated written company policies, among other reasons.

What are the conditions that would trigger this? Essentially it's whatever SpaceX says it is.

These terms "keep everyone under their control, even if they have left the company," one former employee said because employees don't want to be forced to return their valuable SpaceX stock for no compensation. "And since there is no urgency by SpaceX to go public, being banned from tender offers effectively zeros out your shares, at least for a long time. Even though you paid thousands to cover the taxes."

Is this a common practice among privately held companies? It sounds unusual and onerous. I'd love to know if anyone has dealt with this elsewhere.

Here's a tangential but related question: what exactly happened to Elon Musk? I know he was always a difficult boss, a capricious micro-manager. But at least it was in service of tilting at windmills, at chasing the impossible dream. Now he just seems like a typical right-wing troll, pontificating on every subject possible from the most belligerent libertarian position possible. Here's but a few examples of his most wretched tweets — and this is from four years ago!

Was he always this guy and I just didn't notice? Or is he just drunk on his own rocket fuel?

See also: SpaceX sued for egregious harassment and retaliation