Life: Locally Rough Times

One of the things that is easy to take for granted living in the innovation hub of the San Francisco Bay Area is that there are jobs. There are absurd boom-bust cycles here, along with lots of companies that ride a wave of hype-based funding into nothingness, while a tiny percentage go on to become improbably massive employers. After each cycle, there is always a New Thing, and the cycle starts again.

In the core business districts, some of which have been lively since the gold rush of 1849, the success of any industry feeds others by catering to the workers in the booming sectors, creating ripples of success for businesses offering essential supplies, convenience, and services. Famous universities and even more famous hospitals anchored companies in the area, providing a flow of research and graduates.

Or, at least it did.

From my apartment this past year, I have read of mass layoffs in tech, and within weeks I watched the lights go out up and down the apartment building across the street as it emptied of workers who could no longer afford them.

It is happening again.

Across multiple industries, including my own.

Across multiple employers, including my own.

And the wave of trying to refer people for jobs, screening lists for potential roles for them, comforting people with survivor’s guilt, being sympathetic to colleagues who set work goals for the year that are now impossible to meet, those are all happening again, too.

Superb HR colleagues are reposting departing colleagues’ work-seeking announcements, which are all quite concisely written for this purpose, and are easy to respond to for boosting purposes on LinkedIn, which is new to me, and really good.


Things are rough. Be extra compassionate to everyone you interact with. Lots of people are in uncertain situations. This is something that is always true, but this comes in waves, and some waves are bigger than others.

If you ever wonder about the scale of local layoffs, or want to scope out the habits of specific companies, those of us here in California can read the WARN filings of companies engaged in layoffs.

It is not pleasant information, but it is a lot of information, and some of it is useful. Scope this out before accepting a job offer, so you know how potential employers have operated on this front historically.

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