Photo by HBO
Several times a month, I get calls from tech nerds just like the ones in HBO’s new comedy called Silicon Valley, looking for jobs. I think some higher power was sending certain kids to me so I can set them straight before they enter the brutal world of the technology workforce. I tell them all one thing, “If you are not prepared for a constant sea of changes, then this is not the niche for you.”
I have been working 48 years this September, and I can honestly say that I have never seen such a fast-paced and fiercely competitive landscape as the one in tech today. If you are not confident (and comfortable) within your own skin, be ready to be eaten alive. Only people who truly like themselves, enjoy challenges, and read and think all the time, can make it. The rest go running home to mommy and daddy.
Most of us over 50 have no idea what goes on today at tech startups or at the new types of work environments like those in Facebook and Google. Everyday there are new adventures, with new demands that are tremendously difficult to achieve. We liked knowing what was in-store for us in black-and-white. We didn’t like surprises. Tech workers today have to be ready to reinvent themselves over and over. Everyone has to think creativity all the time. No slackers allowed.
The acting in HBO’s Silicon Valley was way too dramatic and the script was juvenile. However, the series could still be a major success because it touched on points that the younger workforce can relate to. For example, a young inventor of “compression algorithms” has to choose between one company who wants to buy his technology outright for $4 million and another one who wants to give him $200,000 for a small percentage but will help him grow what he already started.
The entire scene was very real because it showed how people interact with each other today and the kind of fantasy work environments that are created to entice the younger generation to work around the clock.
I guess the point of this blog post is to make you aware that your children and grandchildren live in a work environment that none of us ever experienced or could tolerate. This is all they know, even though it is totally foreign to us.