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123

The Quality of Personal Life in Silicon Valley

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Krantzler, M. and Biondi Krantzler, P. (2002). The Quality of Personal Life in Silicon Valley. In Krantzler, M. and Biondi Krantzler, P. Down and Out in Silicon Valley. Prometheus Books, pp. 123-150

126

[...] they were feeling depressed; while the stock market soared, their souls were plummeting. They were unhappy, but the media was telling them that the size of their bank accounts and the prestigious jobs they held qualified them to be exceptionally happy. They were feeling guilty because they "should" be happy by the standard our society dictates for happiness. And because they weren't, they felt guilty, since they played by society's rules and yet did not receive the emotional benefits they thought they were entitled to. They had conformed to society's criteria of happiness (that is, wealth and a good job as the tickets of entrance to an exciting life filled with love, emotional satisfaction, and a future of ever-expanding possibilities for triumphing over new challenges life would present in the subsequent years).

The men and women we saw who expressed to us their depressive feelings in the face of material success thought they were exceptions to the rule and felt something was wrong with them for feeling the way they did. [...]

They were looking for answers in all the wrong places. For they weren't abnormal people [...] unhappiness was - and is - a national problem, not a sign of individual failure. [...]

on the people who sought them out for counseling. damn

—p.126 by Mel Krantzler, Patricia Biondi Krantzler 4 years, 8 months ago

[...] they were feeling depressed; while the stock market soared, their souls were plummeting. They were unhappy, but the media was telling them that the size of their bank accounts and the prestigious jobs they held qualified them to be exceptionally happy. They were feeling guilty because they "should" be happy by the standard our society dictates for happiness. And because they weren't, they felt guilty, since they played by society's rules and yet did not receive the emotional benefits they thought they were entitled to. They had conformed to society's criteria of happiness (that is, wealth and a good job as the tickets of entrance to an exciting life filled with love, emotional satisfaction, and a future of ever-expanding possibilities for triumphing over new challenges life would present in the subsequent years).

The men and women we saw who expressed to us their depressive feelings in the face of material success thought they were exceptions to the rule and felt something was wrong with them for feeling the way they did. [...]

They were looking for answers in all the wrong places. For they weren't abnormal people [...] unhappiness was - and is - a national problem, not a sign of individual failure. [...]

on the people who sought them out for counseling. damn

—p.126 by Mel Krantzler, Patricia Biondi Krantzler 4 years, 8 months ago
131

The companies they worked for created wombs in which all their creature-comfort needs could be satisfied. It seemed great at the time they started their employment, but three or four years later [...] began to understand that a career was just a career, and a company was only a company, not a lifetime culture. For it is the very nature of a company to be solely concerned about its own profits and stock-market price. A company's loyalty is to its own bottom line, not the welfare of its workers. If the welfare of its workforce enhances the bottom line, fine. If not, increased productivity demands and downsizing will substitute for workforce creature comforts. [...]

not the most elegant phrasing but an important thing to remember

—p.131 by Mel Krantzler, Patricia Biondi Krantzler 4 years, 8 months ago

The companies they worked for created wombs in which all their creature-comfort needs could be satisfied. It seemed great at the time they started their employment, but three or four years later [...] began to understand that a career was just a career, and a company was only a company, not a lifetime culture. For it is the very nature of a company to be solely concerned about its own profits and stock-market price. A company's loyalty is to its own bottom line, not the welfare of its workers. If the welfare of its workforce enhances the bottom line, fine. If not, increased productivity demands and downsizing will substitute for workforce creature comforts. [...]

not the most elegant phrasing but an important thing to remember

—p.131 by Mel Krantzler, Patricia Biondi Krantzler 4 years, 8 months ago
136

The twenty-somethings, not having developed a long-term sense of self that enabled the older men and women to prevail over expected economic tribulations, were vulnerable to psychological onslaughts on their sense of self [...] They had graduated in complicated technological arenas and felt smug about that fact [...] they had a skillful relationship with things; they delighted in solving technical programs, repairing, building, and creating new tools [...] The challenges were endless, and the delight in overcoming those challenges was enormous. It could be the best drug in the world and more satisfying then eating a decent meal or sleeping as salve to the soul. A king-of-the-world feeling.

—p.136 by Mel Krantzler, Patricia Biondi Krantzler 4 years, 8 months ago

The twenty-somethings, not having developed a long-term sense of self that enabled the older men and women to prevail over expected economic tribulations, were vulnerable to psychological onslaughts on their sense of self [...] They had graduated in complicated technological arenas and felt smug about that fact [...] they had a skillful relationship with things; they delighted in solving technical programs, repairing, building, and creating new tools [...] The challenges were endless, and the delight in overcoming those challenges was enormous. It could be the best drug in the world and more satisfying then eating a decent meal or sleeping as salve to the soul. A king-of-the-world feeling.

—p.136 by Mel Krantzler, Patricia Biondi Krantzler 4 years, 8 months ago
138

With few exceptions, these twenty-somethings had boxed their lives into a tiny corner of experience: they were only high-tech workers who thought that their title was the key to the universe. Most of them had chosen a high-tech career because they felt it was a safe place to exist. In school they had been called geeks and nerds by students in the social sciences and humanities, who were adept at connecting their lives with other human beings. But the "geeks or nerds," labeled as such by their fellow classmates, felt demeaned as outcasts. They were "weird," which was the operative word the more socially oriented students used to describe them. [...]

There were many reasons why this kind of self-isolation felt safe and comfortable in contrast to associating with the world where people connected with each other [...] Best to isolate oneself and get away from threatening interpersonal relationships. Machines were the solution: they didn't talk back, neglect you, abuse you, or demean you. Since you were in control of the machines instead of them controlling you, they were safe. Isolation was safe; nobody could harm you.

too real

—p.138 by Mel Krantzler, Patricia Biondi Krantzler 4 years, 8 months ago

With few exceptions, these twenty-somethings had boxed their lives into a tiny corner of experience: they were only high-tech workers who thought that their title was the key to the universe. Most of them had chosen a high-tech career because they felt it was a safe place to exist. In school they had been called geeks and nerds by students in the social sciences and humanities, who were adept at connecting their lives with other human beings. But the "geeks or nerds," labeled as such by their fellow classmates, felt demeaned as outcasts. They were "weird," which was the operative word the more socially oriented students used to describe them. [...]

There were many reasons why this kind of self-isolation felt safe and comfortable in contrast to associating with the world where people connected with each other [...] Best to isolate oneself and get away from threatening interpersonal relationships. Machines were the solution: they didn't talk back, neglect you, abuse you, or demean you. Since you were in control of the machines instead of them controlling you, they were safe. Isolation was safe; nobody could harm you.

too real

—p.138 by Mel Krantzler, Patricia Biondi Krantzler 4 years, 8 months ago
140

All of these avenues of anguish were ways they were protecting their long-developed self-images that they were valuable human beings solely because they were high-tech careerists. For hadn't they had the last laugh on all of their former high-school and college classmates who thought they were weird? They had been making $75,000 a year, with options added, while their former classmates were lucky to make $30,000. They could flaunt their economic superiority as payback time for their being shunned in earlier years by their classmates.

But now their self-esteem was under attack. Many felt their stomachs turning into empty pits of fear. If they had no career identity, then they were nothing! That feeling is the equivalent of death. [...]

aaaaahh

—p.140 by Mel Krantzler, Patricia Biondi Krantzler 4 years, 8 months ago

All of these avenues of anguish were ways they were protecting their long-developed self-images that they were valuable human beings solely because they were high-tech careerists. For hadn't they had the last laugh on all of their former high-school and college classmates who thought they were weird? They had been making $75,000 a year, with options added, while their former classmates were lucky to make $30,000. They could flaunt their economic superiority as payback time for their being shunned in earlier years by their classmates.

But now their self-esteem was under attack. Many felt their stomachs turning into empty pits of fear. If they had no career identity, then they were nothing! That feeling is the equivalent of death. [...]

aaaaahh

—p.140 by Mel Krantzler, Patricia Biondi Krantzler 4 years, 8 months ago