It’s easy and kind of fun to get cynical about the tech industry, particularly after you’ve worked in it for a few years. Once you’ve had a clueless boss or two, endured a cruel round of layoffs, watched yet another hype cycle come and go — it’s hard to get too excited about anything.
Part of the reason I left Google was that I could feel that cynicism creeping up on me like kudzu. That’s not a knock on Google, it’s just the danger of life in big tech. You can cocoon yourself up all warm and safe like a caterpillar in a chrysalis, while a steady drip of vesting stock options eats into your ambition and sense of agency, breaking down your decision-making faculties into mush. What nobody tells you about submitting to the big tech cocoon is that there is no guarantee you will turn into a butterfly. You can just dissolve, a dangling sack of goop, until some disruptive event like a re-org or a layoff breaks the pod open and your quivering remains schlorp out onto the ground, wet and useless.
There are lots of voices out there, more coherent than mine, dissecting all that’s wrong with tech. Many of them are doing important work and I’m glad they exist. Personally I find that when I give into snark and cynicism, it just drags me down too. I think a lot about these words by the late author Frederick Buechner (emphasis mine):