The Rise Of “Fake Work” And The Mixed Reality Of Silicon Valley

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We are seeing thousands of employees at tech companies being let go.

Twitter has few employees left, but it seems to doing just fine (in terms of not breaking down).
The economy seems to have avoided a deep and long recession.
Still, the economy is very lumpy (and very fragile).

Why are all of these tech companies letting go of tens of thousands of people every week?

Maybe they hired way too many people during the pandemic?
Maybe – even after letting so many people go – they still have a greater headcount than the pre-Pandemic world?

Well, if you thought “quiet quitting” was something, we’re now hearing a lot about “fake work.”

These tech companies that got ahead of their skis and hired too many people are now letting those people go.
These people didn’t have much to do, according to some, so if there’s nothing for them to do… is their work “fake work”?
Some of these people are saying that they didn’t have that much to do.

Here’s another data point (via McKinsey):

“One in 16 workers may have to switch occupations by 2030. That’s more than 100 million workers across the eight economies studied.”

Thanks, artificial intelligence and automation?

How about this data point (via Gallup):

“After trending up in recent years, employee engagement in the U.S. saw its first annual decline in a decade – dropping from 36% engaged employees in 2020 to 34% in 2021. This pattern continued into 2022, as 32% of full- and part-time employees working for organizations are now engaged, while 18% are actively disengaged. Active disengagement increased by two percentage points from 2021 and four points from 2020.”

What is making employees feel so disengaged?

  • The rule of remote and hybrid work keeps changing.
  • Lack of communication with management.
  • Lack of understanding what is expected of them.
  • Don’t feel cared for.
  • Don’t see opportunities to learn and grow.
  • A feeling that “no one cares about them.”

Does it get worse? It does?

“The remaining half of workers are just doing the bare minimum to get by, says Jim Harter, chief workplace scientist at Gallup,” according to the Axios article, Americans are increasingly disgruntled at work.

Is management to blame?

Could it also be that working from home isn’t the perfect model of “getting the work done” that everyone imagined it to be?
There must be some kind of balance here?
Work was always a complex system with many moving parts.
Work, it seems, is more complex than ever.
The pessimist in me worries about the future of work and the economy.
The optimist in me can imagine where everyone’s work matters more – to the individual, the organization and society.

Crazy work times.

This is what Heather Backman and I discussed over on 95.9 Star FM for a couple of minutes today.

What is Tech Tuesday?

Every Tuesday – for just a few minutes – I join Heather Backman (my old buddy from her days on CHOM FM and Jack 103) on the air at 95.9 Star FM to give a quick blast about the current state of technology, media and Internet culture.
We call it Tech Tuesday (and we do it in just a few minutes).

Once the segment goes live on 95.9 Star FM, I will post it here for you to listen in, learn, share and engage.

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