Not everyone is suitable for a small company, some think they are but have no small company skills.
* Do you go home at 5pm everyday?
* Do you take lots of vacations ?
* Have you ever thought "that's not my job?" ?
* Do you have other financial responsibilities (family)?
* Do you prefer to keep your head below the parapet ?
If you go into a job thinking how do I protect myself from stock dilution, how can I make up for pay cuts I took ? You should stay where you are. You don't seem to have the right risk profile for a small company.
No reasonable small company would give you anything but a negligible share of the stock pool - and if they do I would treat that as a red flag. Theya re paying you a salary - if you want significant ownership you need to be there before that pay salary (i.e. founder).
I've taken multiple pay cuts and I know I make less that I could elsewhere - but I would argue that each position I took helped me get to where I am now (second start-up founder), but I could' have know that when I started trading pay cuts for different jobs 20years ago.
Would you have taken a 20% pay cut to leave the company I'd only ever wanted to work for my entire life (I was third generation at the company)
Would you have taken a 20% pay cut to team up with your ex-boss when he got a new job in a small company ?
Would you have given up that job to then start your own thing ?
When that company was acquired, would you have left the acquirer and thrown away a $750k retention package to try it again ?
All were risky adventures - but they were adventures. Not everyone is an adventurer, you won't be happy until you work out what you want....
Salary is how others value you, how do you value yourself ?