What is the “dark side” of Silicon Valley?

Workers’ health and physical limits are often disregarded in the tech industry. This results in repetitive strain and other physical injuries, as well as psychological damage and disability from excessive stress and destructive self-criticism. From the 90s until the present day, every tech boom has resulted in a large increase in RSI cases, Fibromyalgia and other myofascial and systemic syndromes, as well as hypertension and associated illnesses. Whether by their employers or themselves (in the case of entrepreneurial start-ups), people are placed in situations with inhuman stress levels and unsustainable, unrealistic expectations. While we all may want to be Superman, our bodies and our minds are only capable of so much. To exceed our capabilities often results in injuries that can take months, or even years, to heal. Some never heal at all. Careers are lost, along with self-worth. The stress of this and further depression take increased tolls, and suicide rates rise.

I worry about the future for current tech workers. When someone feels they have no recourse other than to “work until they drop,” they do just that. Serious injury is often the result, and the prognosis for recovery becomes darker and more complicated. We now live in an era of the ”disposable worker” – a Very Slippery Slope, indeed.

My colleagues and I feel there must be more stringent protections for tech workers. Management must be held accountable for the basic safety of their workforce. It’s just good business to retain talented, skilled people, and thus the investment the company has made in them. It also just happens to be, IMHO, the most moral decision.

Ultimately, however, it’s up to each and every one of us to take care of ourselves. What use are fame and fortune if your health and functionality are too “blown out” to enjoy them?