with the Recession looming it feels like another era of reckless tech spending is coming to a close
i was 8 years old when the dot-com bubble popped so my memory is a little fuzzy i was more concerned about beating PC games like Roller Coaster Tycoon, Theme Hospital and Zeus and Poseidon
but as i entered the tech industry as a worker and talked about things like our wall of snacks that stayed stocked with goldfish, m&ms, almonds or the drinks fridge carrying every color of the la croix rainbow my friends outside of tech were like ….
“um. wut? we’ve got a box of granola bars and the drip coffee maker”
the longer i stayed in tech the more these types of perks became normalized - great snacks, annual
adult summer camp I mean Very Official Corporate Offsite involving countless flights, miles of roads traveled, basically renting out an entire hotel, and activities galore!
team bonding with Air BnB Experiences or craft-a-longs like a woodburning class were held regularly (to my delight)
to be fair - this is the perspective of someone who bounced from mid to late stage startups that had that sweet sweet VC money banked up. I’m not sure what perks look like at hyperscale myself but I do know that Heroku gives out hecka nice workaversary gifts so idk I figure its still plush over in the Mega Enterprise….
anyways all this to say I learned early on how ridiculous tech office environments are compared to other types of offices and the more experience I got the bigger my paycheck got (which duh right? but outside of tech its not a given to get massive life-changing raises staying at the IC level or you know at all…)
then the pandemic hit and suddenly purse strings got tight and budgets seemed to matter - I watched many orgs choose layoffs and hiring freezes.
all of a sudden this era of lush office environments and sponsored work vacays started looking a wee bit irresponsible (imo)
the dynamic is shifting a little bit more in favor of the companies - in that hiring goals aren’t as massive as previous years even though afaik solid engineers are still in short supply….
i’ve been prepared for this lack of job security since my first year as a SWE - one of early questions I asked after getting my first paycheck was
“…..so what’s stopping this from being another dot-com bubble?”
after 5 years I felt like the math didn’t add up, from the massive amounts of money pouring in from VCs for hare-brained startups most of which don’t strike it rich, like even the household names that are still unprofitable (cough cough Uber).
plus I also just have trust issues with institutions so early on I decided to interview for a new job at least 1x a year as a way to:
- keep my interview muscles strong
- build relationships with recruiters/companies
- check my market rate and compare to current salary
- to identify companies I do not want to work at
OK so most of the time I trail off and don’t finish the kernel of the thought here but I’m halfway through my Shrek Lotus morning energy drink (don’t ask) so let’s give it a go
the tl;dr is
it feels like no job is secure and accepting/preparing for that up front can help weather the cyclical economic storms
pay tf attention to how the business itself is doing, for the engineers who are so removed from Product/Plans/Pricing/Packaging…..idk what to tell you, I’ve been able to jump ship at most spots before things take a nosedive mostly by paying attention at a macro system level. (or perhaps I’m a startup bad luck charm!)
actual life-supporting bennies like pensions dried up and companies now lean heavily on at-will employment and restrictive contract clauses like binding arbitration 🤮 🤮 🤮
so imo I treat my employment with companies the same way they do - a contractual business arrangement that should be mutually beneficial and following the terms of our agreement.
“i’m loyal to people, not companies” - paige (and many others, probs)
It Came From The Internet
meet Furbicorn (furby + unicorn)