beep. crack. Boeing.
Distractions are the nemesis of the flow state — blissful lock-in mode, revered by engineers as the space where their best work is done.
still a technician Love pinball. The cacophony is part of the charm because the challenge is to overcome it. Local pinball leagues are filled with technicians from teams with names like “Tilty as Charged.”
Jane Verws, a user experience designer in Chicago and one of the top ranked female pinball players in the world according to one rating system, said: “The better you get at it, the more control you have over the situation,” she says.
That sense of control is lacking among tech workers these days as a wave of layoffs sweeps across the sector. According to Crunchbase, by 2023 he will already have 102,000 tech workers out of work at US-based tech companies such as Microsoft and Alphabet (Google). Last year, the cumulative total exceeded 140,000.
Chicago’s tech scene has been largely unaffected so far. But in this decade of his, in an industry known only for rapid growth and big money, layoffs are a sort of ominous trend that’s getting a lot of attention. Perhaps it encourages a retreat into comfortable spaces like arcades.
Conversations can get serious between turns at league venues like Logan Arcade and Emporium Wicker Park.
Verwys teammate Mike Pantoliano, vice president of software company Ookla in Seattle, said: A former US Top 200 player, Pantoliano moved to Chicago in the fall.
Pantoliano is a Jedi in flow and prides himself on his focus. He also feels a little uneasy about the threat of layoffs. This is like playing Johnny Mnemonic on league night and getting into his mind and staying there even while serious players try to unlock the “Spinner Millions” bonus. Knowing is the key to victory.
The goal remains in a flow state, but getting there and staying there becomes more difficult, fragile, and fleeting.
“There’s a switch to flip when it’s my turn to step up. A lot of the time, how I perform depends on how well I can isolate and focus on what’s at hand.” he says. pinball.
Tech companies face similar dynamics amidst a wave of layoffs and layoffs, said Gail Wilkinson, founder and managing partner of Chicago-based venture capital firm Vitalize.
She said she was working hard both in Chicago and across the country, not only for those who were laid off and rehired elsewhere, but because the remaining workers “have to watch what’s going on at the board of directors.” We expect to see a significant reorganization of the technology workforce in
“What happens next depends on the personality of the worker. Some people say, ‘You have to go from a high-risk position to a low-risk position,'” Wilkinson said. Otherwise, Big Tech workers will decide that “the stability that these companies have historically provided doesn’t exist right now,” prompting them to make big bets such as creating their own startups. .
This is a jarring calculation, especially for young tech workers. Many coders and their UX designers turned to technology in the first place because of the promised financial stability.
Take Taylor Bancroft, for example. She lost her job at a brewery in Portland, Maine, early in the pandemic. She worked in software development and moved to Austin, Texas where she soon found a job at a startup and a part-time role as a technical lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin.
This was the kind of meteoric rise that I could call my own shot, so Bancroft brainstormed her ideal job and actually got it. I work for Elk Grove Village-based pinball maker Stern on the team that oversees the function of the company’s new machine.
For several years it was going full speed ahead. But now Bancroft and her friends find themselves speculating as to who will lose their jobs first. It could be senior employees with higher salaries or newcomers like Bancroft.
“I don’t have a lot of fired people in Chicago around me,” says Bancroft. “It’s just like this air of uncertainty. And it felt like this strong, upward momentum in my career was happening very quickly, but right now, nothing is really stable.” .
Werwis knows this firsthand. Although she has spent most of her last year unemployed, she recently started her new job as a digital product designer at SRAM, a Chicago-based bicycle parts manufacturer. She wants manufacturers to be isolated from Big Tech layoffs.
Steve Hendershot is a Chicago-based freelance writer.