It was 2012 when everyone gathered around a cubicle, carefully trying not to step on each other's toes. “So sorry!” one would say. “It's fine.” another would answer. It was an important day in tech and stepping on someone's toes to get a look at the dual monitors was only a minor offense. But the monitors were not the main attraction. It was what they displayed. The manager opened two browser windows. One on each screen and scrolled one at a time to allow everyone to see it.
There is a special feeling I get on a Sunday evening. Sunday is the weekend and I am home relaxing with my family after a well deserved break. But Sunday evening is the end of the weekend, the end of that pleasant break. I have to go back to work the next day. This is the time I like to sit by the kitchen table by myself, thinking about a better future. One where I don't have to obey the traditional rules of work. I don't want to put my life on pause on a weekly basis and dedicate the time to my employer for a modest fee.
In 2006 at around 4 am, a man appears at the door of a security booth in Downtown Los Angeles. He slowly opens the door, being careful not to be noticed. He grabs the key attached to a small crowbar hanging by the door, then slowly heads back to his truck. 45 minutes later, he comes back the same way and drops the key off then leaves the premises.
"Can I have some chewing gum?" I asked. "Perdon?" she answered. "Chewing gum" I repeated. She looked at me confused. I was giving up but she was still looking at me, as if she was trying to make the effort to understand me.
As a Linux user, I can't help but spend most of my time on the command line. Not that the GUI is not efficient, but there are things that are simply faster to do with the keyboard.
Starting a small business is hard. Just ask a small business owner, they will tell you how the economy is not in their favor or that it is hard to find good loyal employees. The cost of business is becoming ever more expensive. The owner of a small business is likely to have saved up some money for years, quit his job, then started a restaurant, hardware store, auto repair shop, grocery store, etc. Startups however are the hip new thing young people do. The stories from "founders" start with sleeping in a van for 3 months. Then against all odds, they make a big demo with scraped resources. Finally the jackpot when the round of funding arrives.
It was 7am when my phone rang. Instead of an alarm, it was my recruiter disturbing me from a pleasant dream. It was too early for a phone call or to be caught off guard, so I did not answer. I went to take a shower and get ready for the day. On my way to work, I listened to the voice mail she had left.
Not too long ago, I made a living working as a contractor where I would hop from project to project. Some were short term where I would work for a week and quickly deliver my service. Others lasted a couple months where I would make enough money to take some time off. I preferred the short ones because they allowed me to charge a much higher rate for a quick job. Not only I felt like my own boss, but I also felt like I didn't have to work too hard to make a decent living. My highest rates were still reasonable, and I always delivered high quality service. That was until I landed a gig with a large company.
When was the last time you needed to buy a new PC? Two years ago? Three years ago? The last PC I built was in 2009. I had to upgrade because I pushed the previous one I built to the limit and that was in 2004. A 2009 desktop is old in computer years, but not so much in processing power. It maybe true that there are a zillion new processors out in the market and their benchmark show exponential improvement. But to me benchmarking is just a marketing gimmick. PC sales are plunging but they are the wrong indicator to determine the advancement of the technology. The reason we are not buying PCs anymore is because those we have are already pretty amazing.
After the explosive reception of my story, The Machine Fired Me, I set out to write a book to tell the before and after.
I started as a minimum wage laborer in Los Angeles and I set out to reach the top of the echelon in Silicon Valley. Every time I made a step forward, I was greeted with the harsh changing reality of the modern work space.
Getting fired is no longer reserved to those who mess up. Instead, it's a popular company strategy to decrease expenses and increase productivity.
Tip of the day
Every little corner has a story. Sometimes a camera tells the story and a picture is worth a thousand words.
There are professional photographers and then there is me who happens to have a camera on my phone. Here's to what came out.