The Ruins of Tech

I don't really like remote working, but it is currently the only option I can find. Tech companies during the pandemic all closed their offices. A lot of companies went out of business as the pandemic destroyed the economy. Those that survive let their leases expire. Even the big-name company I worked at before only half-finished the office buildout they began in 2020.

I work remotely, but I don't have a quiet home office or a nice home to enjoy between Zoom calls. My overpriced apartment is in a very loud area and I have had problems with my apartment complex fire alarm system. Seven false alarms this year alone. So to escape the noise and focus, I go to coffee shops. I feel like a nomad, drifting from one place to another.

Outside the coffee shop I have been frequenting in recent months, there is a building courtyard with additional outdoor seating. This building had a bunch of offices in it. All around me I see the ruins of tech. Offices abandoned in a hurry. Many with fancy standing desks left by the previous occupants.

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And nobody is coming to rent this space. There is no new hot startup to occupy those desks. There are no more big silicon valley companies moving in from California. That trend is over.

I've worked in tech for fifteen years now. I worked hard to grow my skillset as a developer and to be excellent at what I do. And I like to think I am better than most. I've seen a lot at this point. I have continuously taken on new challenges and kept up with changing technology. But it just does not feel like there is any demand for those skills right now. And it also doesn't feel like anyone values experience in technology. If anything, years of experience seems to be viewed negatively in this field.

My last company had an unofficial hiring freeze on US hires; the only hires we were able to make were in Europe. The company I worked at before that outsourced all tech to Ukraine. Another company I am familiar with has moved all but the senior leadership to Turkey. Still others on LinkedIn list openings in Mexico and Argentina.

Is it possible that tech will go the way of auto manufacturing?

These are thoughts that run through my head as I sit in the courtyard looking at these empty offices and wondering what it would be like to have an actual office with coworkers who you can get to know. Imagine having a dedicated workspace, paid for by your employer, where you could go to escape the noise of the world and focus on your work.

I never would have imagined before that I would long for those simpler days when everyone was expected to drive or take a train to work. It didn't feel like such a chore back then, when it was the norm. Now I wonder what it will take to bring it back.

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