This article is an organic submission. We do not edit the article aside from formatting and grammar. The opinions of the author are solely theirs and not affiliated with IRL. Since the dawn of time immemorial, people have been trying to hire other people to work for them. I\u2019ve been applying to jobs for the past six months, and I\u2019ve noticed two trends of note. The first is that there are a serious number of start-ups during what is supposed to be a very difficult economic period. The second is that these start-up companies are all posting job descriptions with a large number of similar-sounding offers \u2014 about the office, the culture, and the place. Here are some of them that I have successfully decoded after too many face-to-face and virtual interviews over the past 8 months: When talking about what they do: There is always an \u201cexciting new technology\u201d that is probably in development and as yet unproven and probably untested, and not safe to deploy. Needless to say, it is going to be very \u201cdisruptive\u201d to the status quo which is why they have not been able to find a client\/buyer\/customer for said new technology. When they talk about finding the right personality and attitude \u201cLooking for a Ninja\u201d means: Someone young (under 25) and passionate for the team who is going to be doing the dogsbody work of photocopying, buying coffee, picking the dry cleaning, generic office management, and paper filing. You may also become the office chauffeur. \u201cLooking for a Rockstar\u201d means: Someone that survived the \u201cNinja\u201d phase and is a bit older (over 25), has managed to get some experience and can do a few things. You\u2019re still going to be the chauffeur, but at least now you get to sit in on those meetings. Whether you are a \u201cNinja\u201d or a \u201cRockstar,\u201d you have to be passionate about what you will be doing because the salary is going to be lean, so \u201cattitude\u201d becomes very important. When they talk about their culture: \u00a0 \u201cWe have a flat structure\u201d means: The CEO has all the decision-making authority. Nobody else wants to make a decision without his input, because he is out \u201cworking hard and playing hard\u201d with clients. There will be an \u201cAdvisory Board\u201d comprised of important folk who get free equity because they either lend credibility to the start-up or gave a loan. But they can\u2019t make a decision without the CEO\u2019s input either. Another feature of these flat structured startups is the culture of \u201cwe all wear many hats\u201d \u2014 so everybody does everybody else\u2019s job, and no one knows what\u2019s really going on most of the time. But since everyone wears more than one hat, they don\u2019t have job titles like \u201cManager\u201d. This simply means that there are no clear lines of authority, no clear line of promotion, and no mentorship. The \u201cfast-paced environment\u201d generally means everyone is pretty stressed out, because no decisions can be made due to having a very flat structure and an Advisory Board. \u201cWork Hard, Play Hard\u201d means that you will work hard, while they play hard and bill it to the company under the guise of \u201cbuilding relationships\u201d with clients and business partners. But don\u2019t worry, because \u201cyou\u2019ll have lots of autonomy\u201d \u2014 this means that the CEO will make all the decisions and then call you to do things, regardless of your working hours or schedule. When they talk about working hours: \u201cFlexible Working Hours\u201d means: You can work 24 hours, 7 days a week. You are expected to work these hours but they won\u2019t hold you to it, until they need something very urgently, at three in the morning. \u201cFlexible Working Schedule\u201d means: You are on call 24\/7\/365. You will be called and expected to do things immediately because everything is urgent and can only be done on weekends. Good thing you\u2019ve got lots of autonomy, because \u201cUnlimited holidays\u201d means no paid holidays or paid leave. Needless to say, when they say \u201cwe are like one big family\u201d, you can take the job, but keep looking, because you will not have a career. For more stories about careers, read: 4 Career Lies We Need to Stop Believing Right Now and I Quit My Job To Be A Manager \u2013 Here\u2019s Why I Regret It.