It’s absolutely true that your work will never love you back. This is proven by the recent rash of tech layoffs alongside quarterly reports of increased revenue. For most employers, you are a resource, just like the coffee makers and copy machines. You just cost more and want to take weekends off for some reason.
That doesn’t necessarily reflect how your co-workers may feel, though.
For all the discussion of Big Tech, it’s actually composed of a number of fairly small factions. There are clusters of folk that tend to bump into each other at various jobs, which makes sense, because those jobs tend to look for the same sort of skills. If you write game code, you tend to work for gaming companies. If you write Java, you tend to work for B2B sorts of companies. i work on large data backends for websites, so i tend to bump into a lot of folk that i’ve met at other jobs. Colleagues float between companies because, frankly, that’s the only way to get a raise that’s actually above inflation rate.
What’s more, we all talk to each other. Probably a lot more than the companies we work for would prefer. There are whisper networks about how some companies are worse than others about certain things, and how some companies absolutely nail the right approaches to other things. No company is perfect. No industry is either. We all have our scars and habits grown from the weary battles and share stories at conferences and meetups.
i mean, tech folk aren’t special. We’re no different than any other professional group. Lawyers will talk with other lawyers about their craft, as will plumbers, pizza delivery folk, brain surgeons and rocket scientists.
This is one of the reasons that i can’t believe that the state of mentoring in our industry is so, damn, awful. Mentoring is a key way to foster a network of folk you can rely on. They’re the web of trust you have to check your assumptions, and are the first to reach out a hand when you need it. What’s more, for the same reason you don’t put all your servers in one colo or region, smart folk are ALWAYS looking to grow their network to include more people. Mentoring (and being mentored) is an absolutely fabulous way to do that.
The Lone Coder valiantly hacking away and building something from scratch is a myth made up by the same folk that thought having two people type on a keyboard was a good idea. Don’t believe it. Great Coders have a strong network of people they rely on.