Working at the Office Ain’t Woke!

People are resisting going back to the office.

Business people using their phones
Photo by rawpixel.com is released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0 from PxHere

The Telegraph is trolling us with its report “Apple employees refuse office return because it will make company ‘whiter, more male-dominated’.

Employees of the tech giant Apple are revolting against a plan to get staff back into the office for three days a week, claiming it will make the company “younger, whiter and more male-dominated”.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has said his proposed “hybrid working pilot” for US, Europe and UK employees is an attempt to balance the corporate benefits of in-office working with the personal advantages that working from home gives staff members.

A group of US-based Apple employees have formed an organisation dubbed “Apple Together” and claim the initiative is “only driven by fear”.

The unnamed staff have sent an open letter to the executives of the multi-trillion dollar company and give six reasons why they believe the plan to get back to the office will fail.

Chief among them are concerns that it will negatively impact diversity within the company.

“Apple will likely always find people willing to work here, but our current policies requiring everyone to relocate to the office their team happens to be based in, and being in the office at least three fixed days of the week, will change the make-up of our workforce,” the letter says.

“It will make Apple younger, whiter, more male-dominated, more neuro-normative, more able-bodied. In short, it will lead to privileges deciding who can work for Apple, not who’d be the best fit.”

Examples of these privileges include being born in the “right place”, being young and having a stay-at-home spouse.

While these claims each have some degree of merit, they’re collectively rather silly. And, framed by the headline, the average reader—who has little choice but to go to their employer’s workplace in order to put food on the table—will naturally be outraged at these snot-nosed woke kids.

But the next paragraph answers the obvious question:

Thus far, the letter is believed to have garnered around 200 signatures, roughly 0.1 per cent of the organisation’s 165,000 employee

So, no, this isn’t a widespread movement at all. Indeed, I suspect the petition is a combination of performance art, people looking for any excuse to extend stay-at-home work, and genuine political activism. Regardless, at 0.1 percent of the workforce, it’s likely not garnering much attention at Apple HQ.

After a bit of discourse into the wider reluctance of people who got used to incredible flexibility during the pandemic, we get back to Apple:

The open letter to Apple’s chiefs is a direct response to an email from Tim Cook that revealed employees in the US, as well as those in the UK and Europe, would need to be in the office twice a week as of Monday – as part of the pilot – and thrice weekly from May 23.

[…]

“For many of you, I know that returning to the office represents a long-awaited milestone and a positive sign that we can engage more fully with the colleagues who play such an important role in our lives,” Mr Cook’s email said.

“For others, it may also be an unsettling change. I want you to know that we are deeply committed to giving you the support and flexibility that you need in this next phase.”

Part of that support and flexibility is the new option of being able to work remotely for four full weeks a year going forward, he added.

This seems pretty reasonable as an opening gambit. And one suspects Apple and other tech companies will be incredibly flexible going forward in response to employees’ needs to deal with child care issues and the like.

In retort, the Apple employees say that although they do see that in-person collaboration – which Mr Cook called “irreplaceable” – does have some benefits, they believe it “is not something we need every week, often not even every month, definitely not every day”.

The disgruntled employees also state that being in the office for three days a week provides them with “almost no flexibility at all” despite the fact they would be working from home, as they want, 40 per cent of the time.

“Stop treating us like school kids who need to be told when to be where and what homework to do,” they add.

Another complaint of the employees is that the commute is a “huge waste” of both time and resources. They claim that the average commute is equivalent to 20 per cent of a work day (more than an hour and a half) and that if forced to do this, they should be reimbursed for that time.

I’ve never worked at a tech company but would imagine that there’s great value to in-person collaboration. While Zoom can replace a lot of in-person meetings, I found during the short time that we worked remotely that we actually had way more meetings because it was so convenient to schedule them. At the same time, from a management standpoint, there has to be an ability to get people together. Everyone can’t simply work whenever the feel like it. Even if everyone isn’t 9-to-5, there have to be core hours when managers can expect all of their team to be available other than by exception.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kurtz says:

    Ha! You really are a mercenary, Joyner. Turning your back on your far-Left comrades today so you can shill for the corporate Democrats tomorrow. Or something.

    11
  2. Mu Yixiao says:

    “Stop treating us like school kids who need to be told when to be where and what homework to do,” they add.

    No privilege there. Nope. None at all. /s

    Kids? It’s called “a job”. You be where you’re told, when you’re told, and do the work you’re assigned. Don’t like it? Quit and go somewhere else. I’m sure there’s no shortage of people who would be happy to take your job.

    7
  3. Dave Schuler says:

    It’s unlikely I’ll go into the office unless I change jobs. The office is in London and I’m in Chicago.

    3
  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    I’m finding it difficult to summon much empathy for 10%’ers who would like to work from their vacation homes. Now get off my lawn.

    7
  5. drj says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    You be where you’re told, when you’re told, and do the work you’re assigned.

    Since when is forelock tugging an American virtue?

    Aren’t you supposed to be some libertarian-leaning guy who hates China’s rigid social control and discipline?

    And yet, here you are.

    There’s more to freedom than low corporate tax rates, you know.

    20
  6. Paul L says:

    The plague has shown there are some jobs that can be done as efficiently remotely. But corporate types want to return to the old way to survey their fiefdoms. But there is a labor shortage.
    Those tech employees are not Heroic Essential (critical infrastructure) Frontline workers and should understand how replaceable they are.

    8
  7. Mu Yixiao says:

    @drj:

    They’re being required to do the job they sought out and accepted.

    Oh! Boohoo! They’re being oppressed! The horrors!

    They have freedom. The freedom to leave the job and go somewhere else. Being asked to do the job you signed up for isn’t “oppression”. Software engineers at Apple average $130k-$210k per year. I’m supposed to feel sorry for them because they have to go to the office and do their jobs?

    Pffft.

    6
  8. Jen says:

    I am self-employed and realize every day how lucky I am to be able to work from home. This point was reinforced last Friday, when my husband and I headed into Boston. The traffic was ridiculous.

    I get that returning to an office isn’t going to be welcomed with open arms by all. Petty office squabbling, workplace annoyances, and the constant interruptions–these can be irksome to manage, particularly for introverts. While there is some value in occasional interactions, I found most of the meetings I used to attend to be tedious platforms for people to grandstand and talk over one another.

    It feels like there’s a need for some accommodation, and I think many companies are aware of that. I don’t feel terribly sorry for this lot. The ones I feel badly for are the people who don’t earn enough to counter the steep rise in gas prices.

    9
  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    The last time I worked at a place where I had to be at specific times was at Blue Moon restaurant in Portland, Maine. In 1990. I’ve been ‘experimenting’ with work-from-home ever since. Advantages: make my own hours, use my own bathroom, eat my own food.

    According to my Apple watch my morning commute involves 172 steps – and that includes emptying the dishwasher and starting a load of laundry. My boss lets me smoke cigars as long as its outside, and does not object to a post-lunch joint. My work uniform is sweat pants and a T-shirt, which really saves on dry-cleaning. And, I can curse freely and even sexually harass my one co-worker (coincidentally also my boss) without hearing from HR.

    OTOH there’s no office Christmas party for me to find an excuse to avoid, no boring co-worker who wants to lunch with me, no meetings, no lectures I’m required to attend, no memos to read, no arguments over expenses. . .

    Yeah, it’s a really close call.

    12
  10. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “Software engineers at Apple average $130k-$210k per year.”

    Which means they can afford a house costing $450,000, according to most guides.

    In California, that buys you a nice home in Tulare. That’s a mere 200 mile commute each way.

    My nephew, a brilliant tech engineer working for a fabulously rich start-up, and his wife, also in tech, are looking to move to New York, New Jersey or Connecticut because they want to buy a house and have kids. And because all the young couples they meet and become friends with have all moved away, because they want the same things.

    My nephew will continue to work remotely from across the country — because his employer understands that employees are not just game pieces to be moved around to make the boss feel good, but are human beings with human needs whose actual work product is a lot more important than their presence in a break room.

    But I guess to you that boss is a softie and my nephew is a loser who is too childish just to suck it up and do whatever he’s told.

    12
  11. Scott says:

    Then there’s this:

    Bosses Don’t Follow Their Own Advice in Returning to the Office

    Executives across the world are pushing their employees to return to the office, but only 19% of bosses are fully in-office themselves

    10
  12. Kurtz says:

    @Paul L:

    An agreement? Us? What?

    On a serious note, it is nice to agree with a comment written by someone with whom I usually disagree.

    7
  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I spent 35 years working job sites which nearly always involved a long commute, sometimes as much as 90+ minutes each way. My wife got to work from home on a semi regular basis, but I never did. THAT WAS DISCRIMINATION! I wanted to sue but all the lawyers just laughed at me. I never understood why.

    3
  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Same as it ever was.

    1
  15. drj says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Oh! Boohoo! They’re being oppressed! The horrors!

    Dude, these people are simply trying to improve their working conditions. But for some reason, you must turn this into a caricature.

    Why?

    Corporations negotiate prices and conditions constantly. Why is it suddenly a moral flaw if workers do it, too?

    You really should interrogate your motives here.

    TBH, it sounds like you don’t have anything to negotiate yourself and somehow you turned that lack of power (“you be where you’re told, when you’re told, and do the work you’re assigned”) into a virtue.

    Perhaps you should consider joining a union. They can do at least some of the negotiating for you if you can’t hack it yourself.

    18
  16. KM says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    They’re being required to do the job they sought out and accepted.

    OK, pushing back here. Job requirements change all the time from the employers point of view. New duties and tasks get assigned to roles that are not part of the org accepted position and yet employees are expected to just do it. Why? Because that’s part of the job! No job is ever exactly and precisely what they told you it was when you were hired and certainly not years down the line.

    Does this mean an employer can never expect an employee to take on a new duty or task since that’s not what the job seeker originally sought out and approved of by signing on? You can’t have it both ways – if the employer can change the terms, so can the employee when they have the power. Work isn’t a dictatorship no matter what capitalist thought has pounded into American’s heads; it’s an agreement and the terms can change as circumstances dictate. It’s just for once it’s the lowly peons making the demands and expecting compliance, not the CEO.

    12
  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    When we were first looking to move to the Bay Area we looked at Silicon Valley. Yikes! We decided on Marin County – third most expensive county in the country – for the bargains.

    3
  18. KM says:

    FYI doing this from the office for once. Have new hire and wanted to meet him in person so I carted myself down and wasted a normally productive hour in traffic. I’m more valuable to the company sitting on my couch then sitting in traffic – something my company understands and appreciates. I’m sitting in a huge empty building with literally 6 other people since the entire staff is WFH at will. We have only 2 folks who regularly come in daily by choice; most have children and being WFH means they can more effectively care for them. We also have several folks on the spectrum or are neuro-atypical that really, REALLY like not having to deal with people daily. One chats more with me online then I ever heard him says in person….. when we could cox him out of his darkened cube, that is.

    Right now I could be doing laundry and getting dinner prepped while my work compiles. I could be listening to a podcast in the background while I type. I could be working on my garden on my lunch or taking a nap. It makes so much more sense to not force people back into a small area solely for socialization and they’ve made it clear that’s really the only reason to do so. Call it collaboration, team work, synergy, whatever – it’s really the only thing office work has going for it. Otherwise, office work is Do As Your Told in physical form. Business understands it’s harder to control people spread out and not under their thumb so WFH hurts the whole mentality @Mu voiced. Why do they care if I’ve got Lower Decks on in the background while I write? It’s nothing but a power move to remind us we’re not in charge.

    9
  19. Mu Yixiao says:

    @drj:

    Dude, these people are simply trying to improve their working conditions. But for some reason, you must turn this into a caricature.

    Why?

    Because this 0.1% of workers isn’t “simply trying to negotiate”. They’re going public with demands and acting like children. I’ll bet that the remaining 99.9% are talking private with their managers to work things out to the satisfaction of both.

    Apple is offering a middle ground. There are 260 working days in a typical year (52×5). If you assume that Apple employees get 10 holidays and two weeks of vacation (and 60% of those fall on in-office days) along with the 4 full weeks of WFH, they’re being asked to be in the office 43% of the time.

    “Stop treating us like school kids who need to be told when to be where and what homework to do,” they add.

    That isn’t workers negotiating in good faith. That’s 200 petulant children throwing a tantrum.

    4
  20. KM says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    they’re being asked to be in the office 43% of the time.

    So?

    Explain why they have to be in the office any percentage of time other than the employer wants it. Unless the task demands being physically present, there’s no legit reason other than “we want you to”…. and frankly that’s not good enough anymore.

    7
  21. Mu Yixiao says:

    @drj:

    Also:

    TBH, it sounds like you don’t have anything to negotiate yourself and somehow you turned that lack of power (“you be where you’re told, when you’re told, and do the work you’re assigned”) into a virtue.

    I have no reason to negotiate. I’m in a good position, getting paid a fair wage for the work I do. I’ve gotten 3 raises in the past 2 years (25% increase). I have over 4 weeks off per year (and I’ve only been here 2.5 years), I have full insurance (my heart attack is going to cost me about $50 in co-pays), a great work environment and plenty of opportunity for advancement. Oh… and I can work from home on occasion if I want to (though most of my current work requires that I be in the office).

    Perhaps you should consider joining a union. They can do at least some of the negotiating for you if you can’t hack it yourself.

    Oh piss off.

    I was in unions for 20 years. They have their place, but not where I am.

    And… In 4 years in China, I negotiated raises that put me at 400% of my original salary, got work-from home when I wanted, and told a former Foxxconn exec to (politely) shove his contract where the sun don’t shine and give me exactly what I wanted. I got everything I requested. So… I know how to negotiate. And it doesn’t involve going on social media and whining.

    2
  22. MarkedMan says:

    This has come up a lot and is almost always presented as based on life style or commuting versus productivity. But there is another piece of this that deeply affects a very vocal minority in the company: geographic wage differential. A small but not insignificant portion of the workforce re-located to a different location during the pandemic, one with a much, much lower cost of living than the Bay Area, but continued their normal wages. Going back to work in person is going to cause a huge upheaval in their life if they have to move back to Silicon Valley.

    It brings up a more interesting and more global dilemma: if someone works in, say, Nebraska, should they be paid at Nebraska rates or the rates at the companies home base? It’s not an easy question. But if it is true that for a significant number of jobs a totally remote team can be just as productive as a local one, I think it will have an effect on the demographics.

    3
  23. Kathy says:

    @KM:

    Explain why they have to be in the office any percentage of time other than the employer wants it.

    I see it as akin to the “how long you must work” issue. Granted there are business hours and all, but if you can accomplish your work in less time, then why not? And if the nature of your work is such that you can’t work on something else if you have extra time, then why not leave early?

    I was unlucky in that the boss wanted us at the office at all times during the pandemic (save for a short-lived time in May 2020, which never worked as intended), but at least he’s smart enough not to set a fixed schedule or direct how the work has to be done, so long as it gets done in time.

    The last is important, as we have stringent, inflexible deadlines in every project.

    2
  24. Tony W says:

    @Mu Yixiao: This is not a group of petulant children – this is a group of employee leaders who are calling out Apple leadership on their own bullshit.

    Corporate America, particularly tech-focused corporations, are saddled with a ‘bro culture’. This largely comes from long hours in an office, particularly at deadline/crunch times. There’s a one-upsmanship that happens where people are rewarded for spending long periods of time at work, and away from their responsibilities at home.

    A single mom or dad with kids in childcare cannot do that sort of job – so that demographic is unrepresented in the workplace. A person who has physical disabilities requiring, for example, ready-access to their home bathroom, or a person who cannot drive, is similarly excluded from easily participating in the workforce.

    In the past we have dismissed those concerns as corner cases, irrelevant to the bigger market.

    Tech companies have realized over the past 15 years that these people are more numerous than they previous thought, and that their needs are not being served by existing offerings. That’s why diversity has become a strategy in these companies, rather than a compliance exercise.

    Boomers will always boom. They drove to the office just fine in 1972 and they don’t understand why today’s kids can’t just suck it up and do the same.

    They also left all kinds of talent on the table, unleveraged. Modern companies cannot afford to do that because their competitors will hire that talent and eat them alive in the marketplace.

    11
  25. KM says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Most of my team is remote and paid what they were where and when they were hired. This was an issue even before COVID. A team member actually moved to FL without telling HR – we figured it out because he called into a meeting from a number with a FL area code. Turns out he moved 2 months ago and HR was livid but had no recourse. He continued getting the higher salary but it counted against him on his evals so no promotion or bonuses that year.

    OTOH my sibling took a pay cut to be able to WFH 100% of the time but now the company is demanding they come in 2 days a week. When asked when the pay cut will be restored or even retroactive to account for missed pay, crickets. Wonder why they can’t get people to come back to the office and are now resorting to threatening more pay cuts?

    Going forward, companies can set a policy on moving’s effect on salary but it should not be retroactive. If you move after X date, you take the salary cut or boost relative to the local pay scale. That’s fair as that’s reflective of the new reality of work but for those who moved during the pandemic or choose permanent WFH, TS for the company. People realize they can leave crappy jobs now and WFH is no longer a perk but an expected benefit. All business can do is set new standards but try and take back what people have you’ll see them walk. The old mentality of Obey to Get Paid is fading as workers have remembered, oh yeah we can have a say in our workspace.

    5
  26. KM says:

    @Tony W:

    They also left all kinds of talent on the table, unleveraged. Modern companies cannot afford to do that because their competitors will hire that talent and eat them alive in the marketplace.

    THIS.

    In the end, it’s foolish for companies to push on this and risk losing out on talent. Someone else can also come and steal your employees out from under you with a simple “hey, we understand you have a life. WFH and get it done, we don’t need to watch your every move”. As the employee pools switches to more and more folks who grew up with the internet and understand that productivity can happen outside a cube, it’s not longer feasible to just demand people ignore work/life issues and grind out a pointless 8hrs when a more productive 5 at home will work. More individuals with diagnosed disorders also thrives outside of the forced interactions and culture of an office; if you can get 10 highly-skilled coders on the spectrum at home or 10 mediocre office drones doing half the work, it’s doesn’t take a brainiac to see what’s more cost effective.

    Capitalism favors innovation – adapt or die. Companies that can’t learn are doomed and WFH and diversity is the new reality.

    7
  27. MarkedMan says:

    @KM:

    Explain why they have to be in the office any percentage of time other than the employer wants it.

    My first experience working on an Engineering project with remote employees was in 1983 and I’ve had groups and parts of groups scattered all over the country and all over the world ever since, so I’m pretty aware of the trade offs. Modern video conferencing apps like Zoom or Teams has helped immensely but there are still unique and shared pluses and minuses for every different job type, and so I t definitely remains highly dependent on the job as to whether it is possible or not. For example, I have one remote employee right now and he is simply not quite as useful as my other people because of that. He is an EE, both hardware and firmware. In the past 3 years we’ve incurred significant expense in setting up a duplicate lab setup in his spare room/basement. Despite that, he can only work on the smaller devices and even on those he is limited to what he can do with because it could be dangerous to subject them to the types of things they measure without proper controls and monitoring. Also, the engineers here have to do things for him. Locate equipment and devices. Check it out. Box it up. Get it shipped.

    There are a some negatives that aren’t specific to engineering, but are more generally prevalent in smaller companies or ones that are more creative or breakthrough based. Remote teams require more project management. The project manager has to spend more time with each individual to make sure they understand exactly what they are doing, where they are at, and whether they are being overly optimistic on their efforts. You have to do that for everyone, but it takes more time with remote employees.

    And, as I manage these people and groups I pay attention to how much casual interaction plays a part in proper functioning. Just the other day one of my engineers brought in donuts for some of the production guys and in a passing conversation discovered a problem they had started seeing that we need to get on top of right away, rather than the couple of months it would have taken to show up in the reports. The remote guy is never going to interact with those production people except the few times he’s on-site and then only because he has worked with them when he was located here and knows them.

    7
  28. Sleeping Dog says:

    @MarkedMan:

    When the first wave of the pandemic was ending and the expected return to the office was Jan/21, Google announced a wage adjustment that caused a rending of garments. IIRC they backed off some, but mostly delayed the change.

    I suspect that this is a battle that will be fought.

    2
  29. MarkedMan says:

    @KM:

    Going forward, companies can set a policy on moving’s effect on salary but it should not be retroactive.

    I think you are completely missing the bigger picture here. If it is true that companies with remote work forces are just as effective as companies with on-site employees then this wage differential is just a temporary anomaly. Companies are going to pay what it takes to get the employees they need. The more of those employees that are located in low wage areas, the better for the bottom line. Why would I pay someone more because they want to live in Silicon Valley if I can get the same talent for 2/3 of the cost in Boise?

    5
  30. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: If Marin County were twice as expensive as Silicon Valley it would be worth it… I’m still in shock that you left Sausalito (Tiburon?) for LA.

    5
  31. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan:

    It brings up a more interesting and more global dilemma: if someone works in, say, Nebraska, should they be paid at Nebraska rates or the rates at the companies home base? It’s not an easy question.

    The global PR firm I worked at paid people based on local rates. The entry-level employees in New York made more than the mid-level people in St. Louis. Everyone understood what drove the rate differences, but no one really worked from home (at least not as we understand it now–sure, we’d take reports home to read them and we were available for calls, but not too much more than that).

    Salary arbitrage is done at individual discretion. It was always going to be a risk to assume that people could retain high salaries, IMHO.

  32. KM says:

    @MarkedMan:
    In your example it sounds like that falls under the “physical need” part of my statement. Setting up a dup lab sounds like a step too far – he should have be coming in if he can. Now, if he’s remote because he’s in another state, that’s a different argument. That’s a hiring decision rather than a practical work one.

    I’ve experience the passing-by-and-solve situation myself recently. Ran into an old acquaintance and started chatting how we’re suddenly the OG left in the company and he was able to solve a problem in 5 minutes the current dev assigned to me couldn’t in weeks. I never reached out to him since he’s on a different team and I didn’t want to step on any toes. However, in order to have spoken with him in office normally, I would have had to cross over into their department and chat with him at his desk, a huge no-no for that division’s boss. The interaction wouldn’t have naturally taken place so I can’t count that as a workplace win.

    I guess it matters how and when you’d interact with coworkers since for a lot of people, they get siloed in anyways and don’t talk to say Accounting or Receiving unless they were breaking the “rules” and standing around talking. You come across people naturally when you’re all together but that doesn’t mean meaningful contact comes from it. 90% of the time it was shooting the sh^t or sports instead of shop talk.

    2
  33. Matt Bernius says:

    @MarkedMan:

    It brings up a more interesting and more global dilemma: if someone works in, say, Nebraska, should they be paid at Nebraska rates or the rates at the companies home base? It’s not an easy question. But if it is true that for a significant number of jobs a totally remote team can be just as productive as a local one, I think it will have an effect on the demographics.

    At least in the big tech world, it varies from org to org.

    Here at Code for America (which is big tech adjacent), we do have location adjustments. I’m based in Rochester, NY so I don’t make as much as someone based in Brooklyn. We have also recently unionized and are bargaining our first contract, so that may be something that we return to.

    I know from local colleagues who work remotely for Amazon that they are currently making NY City rates (which means a lot for someone working in Western NY). I have yet to get confirmation from people at Meta if the same is true for them.

    I personally am a huge believer in salary transparency and that should include any cost of living adjustments as part of the discussion.

    5
  34. KM says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Why would I pay someone more because they want to live in Silicon Valley if I can get the same talent for 2/3 of the cost in Boise?

    Change Silicon Valley with America and Boise with India and you have the argument for outsourcing. Why is this suddenly a new concern when it’s been going on for decades now? Oh wait – because companies are mad and lashing out at employees for wanting something for themselves.

    Get the Boise talent at 2/3 and watch more people move there, raising the cost and ending back up where you started. India’s starting to see companies move away to cheaper places because cost have risen. Business will always seek out the cheapest means but that doesn’t mean it will stay cheap. Also, it would end up turning some red counties blue if people from high expense blue states relocate so I’m not seeing a huge downside here. My complaint is cutting existing salaries because employees take advantage of a loophole. It’s not their fault companies didn’t think to have a plan for something like this. Punish the workers for moving or choosing WFH and lose them to your competitors. The companies that don’t will prosper because they’re thinking long-term instead of the immediate cheap solution.

    3
  35. Scott says:

    First, let me say that this conversation is showing this issue is completely situational based on the job, skills required, location, specific corporate cultures, and so forth. So yelling at each other is pointless.

    That said, having just retired after two year WFH and 38 years in office (all in federal government, specifically DoD), here are my observations that may or not apply based on specific situation.

    1) A lot of jobs are not that specific with clear outcomes or outputs. So, whether in in office or not, there is a lot of tasks that are specific, routine, and necessary but a lot of time is spent on pop-ups and that time must be available in some way. On the other hand, much of the just in case time is just unutilized. It cannot be considered “wasted”. If you’re at home, you can vacuum. In the office, you can socialize or drink coffee, whatever. Bottom line, a lot of white collar office workers do not “work” 8 hours a day.

    2) During the pandemic, I watched a steady erosion of coordination and efficiency happen because there was little or no mechanisms to bring new people on board and socialized them into the culture. Organization behavior is still a thing that is grossly ignored these days.

    3) As it happened, my bosses firmly believed that the organization was more effective online than the traditional office work. I suspect they were projecting their own work output onto the organization as a whole.

    4) What each organization ends up doing is going to depend on the corporate culture more than any rational, situational analysis. Some with be happy, some will not. The Great Shuffle will continue for a couple of years.

    10
  36. Matt Bernius says:

    @Scott:

    2) During the pandemic, I watched a steady erosion of coordination and efficiency happen because there was little or no mechanisms to bring new people on board and socialized them into the culture. Organization behavior is still a thing that is grossly ignored these days.

    This was something that we began to think a LOT about during the first year of the pandemic. Also, because we’re an org that works in the civic space (including with criminal legal system reform) and we have a lot of BIPoC folks on staff 2020/1 really required us to find a way to share uncomfortable spaces together while being apart.

    Honestly, our current biggest concern is how will the partial return to the SF office for folks in the Bay area change that. CfA used to be in person first. Now we are essentially remote first. But there is a physical HQ… so that’s going to require another shift in our culture.

    3
  37. Jay L Gischer says:

    As a long-time engineering worker in Silicon Valley, I’d like to address James’ question in the OP. There is some value in being in the same place – walk-by conversations can be useful. From a worker perspective, anyway. And most engineering workers hate, and I mean hate interruptions. So hard walls and closed doors are sought after and aren’t much different from work from home.

    From management perspective, there’s also the issue of motivating people. Which can take the form of “rah-rah” meetings (common for sales, not so much for engineers). Or it can take the form of “social truth” – which is walking to the bathroom or break room and seeing lots of other people there also working on the same thing and counting on you to do your thing.

    Can anybody quantify that? I’m not aware if they can. I think there’s definitely value there, but probably not as much value as management thinks there is. I think management is going to have to figure out new ways to motivate people an give their work social meaning.

    5
  38. Modulo Myself says:

    I’m guessing WFH is great for people who do not map well into the idea of looking busy 9-5. Some people just can’t do it–for whatever reason they can’t play the part of looking busy and yet in the end they can do the same amount of work. Factor into that the fact that places SF are so modeled around a normative idea of social behavior, and you can see how the office might affect people who are not up from the right backgrounds.

    Of course, they’re not talking about angry white guys cancelled for complaining about pronouns or diversity. It might just be snot-nosed kids, aka single moms who grew up working class and who feel completely isolated and unhappy when they work with a bunch of Stanford grads whose parents kick in an extra 10K or so to fund their vacations and are pressured to take part in work culture, rather being at home with their kid.

    1
  39. MarkedMan says:

    @KM:

    Change Silicon Valley with America and Boise with India and you have the argument for outsourcing.

    That started off with an interesting observation and then you abandoned it. Expanding on that observation leads to an interesting set of questions: when has Indian outsourcing worked and when has it been a failure? How much money does it save in what type of project? Does it ever cost more when all expenses are included? What are the lessons learned? How many of the good or bad experiences have to do with cultural or educational differences?

    I’ve had experience with Indian outsourcing for twenty years. My rule of thumb, learned over many projects is that Indian outsourcing advertises at 1/3 the cost per Engineer, actually costs 2/3 when you factor in the overhead (they spec a lot of management and project management. A lot), and seem to take 1.5 to 2 times as long to yield the same work. And it requires a lot of project management on the non-remote side. It’s a net negative. Not all of this is due to them being remote by any means, but some is.

    What are the projects that seem to work well with Indian outsourcing? Ones that are software only, no hardware. Ones that are, essentially, version 13 of a long existing app and the changes and additions can be well specified ahead of time, with very little likelihood of a change.

    Look, I’m not for remote work, or against it. It has its benefits. It has its drawbacks. But, like I said, I’ve been doing this for 40 years and have a wide range of real world experiences under a lot of conditions. Continuing to insist there are no downsides and people within companies are only against it because they are evil or stupid is simplistic and naive.

    8
  40. just nutha says:

    I’ve always worked at jobsites. Of course, it’s difficult to load trucks and physically consolidate inventory from home (to say nothing of slotting deliveries on our receiving dock and other things). Mostly though, I’ve always preferred jobsite work because I’m too picky and irritable to have me as a boss in a self-employment situation and if I didn’t have a jobsite, I’d probably never leave my home. Sadly (or is that fortunately?), I’m not far enough along any of the usual spectra that isolation is a comfort–merely a relief sometimes.

    4
  41. Andy says:

    I think @Scott hits most of the important points here.

    A lot of this is situational. This, and other articles, focus on a small number of employees who want to keep working remotely. What’s missing from these articles is any other perspective.

    And we ought to acknowledge that remote work is only an option for a few types of jobs, most of them pretty privledged. The people at Apple who keep the lights on, the servers running, who fix the hardware, maintain facilities, provide security, etc. probably haven’t been remote at all. Not to mention all the people who work at Apples’ retail stores and those in Apple’s manufacturing chain.

    I’ve been on both sides of this. For the 24 years I worked in intelligence, there was no such thing as working from home. The government, for some strange reason, denied my requests to have a SCIF built in my basement to accomplish that. I’d get called into the office at odd hours having no idea why until I got there. And even as a DoD civilian, I was required to go – in person – to Africa for several months to carry out the government’s business in person. That’s the nature of the beast and what I agreed to when joining that profession.

    In contrast for the last 5 years I’ve been 100% remote. And the small company I work for is and always has been 100% remote since it started a decade ago. There is no office at all. And I do like that flexibility very much at this stage of my life. But I also miss interactions with coworkers and the social environment of a workplace. Despite claims to the contrary, Zoom and chat rooms cannot replace some of the benefits of face-to-face interaction.

    Also, I think there is a generational thing. Everyone at my small company is in their 40’s or 50’s. We have settled lifestyles, are a bit curmudgeonly and all but one of us are introverts. If I was still in my 20’s and single I’d hate the isolation of remote work. I look back on my younger years and the people I met and the places I went with them are what still sticks in my mind.

    Anyway, I don’t have a strong opinion on this. This article is actually pretty bad and doesn’t really tell us anything except that some people don’t want to go back to the office. That’s not exactly a revelation. We’ve got no idea about the opinions of the remaining 99.9% of Apple employees. But ultimately this is an issue for Apple and its employees to work out between them. Having never worked for Apple, I don’t presume to know enough to take sides here.

    7
  42. Scott says:

    @Andy:

    If I was still in my 20’s and single I’d hate the isolation of remote work. I look back on my younger years and the people I met and the places I went with them are what still sticks in my mind.

    I met my wife at work. Co-workers conspired in setting us up. Work used to be where a pretty large percentage of potential matchups happened. Is this still the case? It was for my son and his wife.

    2
  43. just nutha says:

    @Modulo Myself: In the settings in which I’ve worked, it wasn’t as much an issue of “knowing how to look busy” as keeping an awareness of what needs to be done that may not be assigned to anyone, but yeah, what you said. My current sadness is that the schools in my area are teaching students to pack up 5 minutes before the end of the period–because there is class equipment that needs to be stored–and then crowding the doorway waiting for the bell to ring. Luddite tells me that this skill is being transferred to the staff he works with at Staples. 🙁

    3
  44. Andy says:

    @Scott:

    I met my wife at work. Co-workers conspired in setting us up. Work used to be where a pretty large percentage of potential matchups happened. Is this still the case? It was for my son and his wife.

    Lol, same for me and my wife. Thank goodness for conspiring coworkers!

    I don’t know about younger generations but it seems dating apps are a really big thing now.

    2
  45. just nutha says:

    @Scott: Never dated a coworker. Ever. Of course, in the warehouse, the only single people worked nights (when I finally transferred to days after 10 years or so, I was one of two unmarried workers in a staff of about 50). After warehousing, my “career” consisted of gypsy work–day laboring and visiting professoring. If I’d not gone to grad school at one point, I’d never have met someone to marry–or gotten divorced ~10 years later (not all endings are happy).

    3
  46. Gustopher says:

    @Paul L:

    Those tech employees are not Heroic Essential (critical infrastructure) Frontline workers and should understand how replaceable they are.

    Takes about 6 months to fill an open position, even at Apple, because there’s a shortage of tech workers. And new employees make more than old employees, as the salaries have gone way up.

    Since Apple is one of the big names, I’m going to assume they use a very similar hiring process that the rest of the FAANGs do — a process that very few people get through, and which rejects many qualified candidates. It means the untapped pool of applicants is dwindling fast, as people don’t tend to interview again after being rejected. And it means that existing staff is spending 10% of their time interviewing.

    It also takes about 3-6 months to get up to speed on the tech stacks.

    So, these people may know exactly how replaceable they are — difficult and costly to replace.

    6
  47. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’ve had experience with Indian outsourcing for twenty years. My rule of thumb, learned over many projects is that Indian outsourcing advertises at 1/3 the cost per Engineer, actually costs 2/3 when you factor in the overhead (they spec a lot of management and project management. A lot), and seem to take 1.5 to 2 times as long to yield the same work. And it requires a lot of project management on the non-remote side.

    A lot of that is the quality of the Indian developers (the best come here), the culture (there are differences, and the mix can be hard), the motivations (consultants feel less ownership, and are less motivated), and latency added by time zones.

    3
  48. KM says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Continuing to insist there are no downsides and people within companies are only against it because they are evil or stupid is simplistic and naive.

    I never said that – go back and I pointed out there is some good that gets outwieghed. In fact, I cited collaboration as it! @Andy’s right as it is a generation thing but he got it backwards. It’s the 20 and 30s pushing for WFH, not those settled and accustomed to office life. That’s who has the young kids. That’s who’s concerned about housing and local prices. We’re seeing a new generation voice their preferences and it getting swept aside as a lack of work ethic or childish behavior. If you’re new to the job scene and lived a few years WFH then get introduced to a cube farm, it’s not going to go well. For a generation that lives and breathes on Tiktok and FB, Zoom meetings are nothing and constant reaching out to manage things is normal. Why wouldn’t the way they live extend to the workplace?

    I don’t think companies are being greedy or evil or stupid. I think they’re STUBBORN. I think this whole argument is people trying to defend a way of life from before and stubbornly insisting it has to be maintained because that’s what we’ve always done. Yes, the old ways have value but the youth isn’t interested in it the way grandpa worked…. and that’s ok. The world changes and this is one of the ways it will. As automation takes more and more psychical labor away, the idea that you have congregate in an area to do a task will become less common. This change happened rather suddenly so it’s more a shock then normal but insisting one must work from a specific place is losing appeal to upcoming workers. Fighting the tide rarely results in a loss for the water.

    6
  49. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Andy:
    @Scott:

    Met my wife at work as well. Except for friends that married their HS or college sweetheart, nearly everyone I know met their spouse, either through work or the person was a friend of a co-worker.

    WFH isn’t even ideal for those whose work allows it. The month before Covid hit, my nephew landed the job of his dreams, survived the layoffs (probably because he was at a lower cost than peers officed in NYC). He hated being remote as he had 3 roommates, two of whom worked in hospitality. He was very grateful when he was told that he could come in on the QT.

    3
  50. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Kids? It’s called “a job”. You be where you’re told, when you’re told, and do the work you’re assigned.

    The engineers with that mentality stay at junior level basically forever. And the organizations that have that mentality get junior productivity out of senior people until the senior people quit.

    The job is to translate under specified, changing and often unspoken business needs into a solution — there has to be pushback against the requirements to make sure they are right and feasible and important.

    4
  51. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @just nutha:
    Oh my, yes. And don’t get me started on the people who come to interview dressed in sweats or gym shorts for a retail job. And please take out the earbuds when you’re talking to me.

    Snarky rant over.

    But as Cracker & I frequently note, if you’re not paying a living wage, it’s hard to keep people, let alone keep them motivated.

    5
  52. MarkedMan says:

    @KM:

    I never said that – go back and I pointed out there is some good that gets outwieghed.

    Interesting. I went back and reread all your posts and they were more nuanced than my impression and on top of that I completely missed your most nuanced post in response to one of my replies. FWIW, and this is my bad, I mostly focused on the following comments you made, all excerpted from much lengthier posts.

    “Unless the task demands being physically present, there’s no legit reason other than “we want you to”…. and frankly that’s not good enough anymore.”

    “ Companies that can’t learn are doomed and WFH and diversity is the new reality.”

    “ Oh wait – because companies are mad and lashing out at employees for wanting something for themselves.”

    1
  53. MarkedMan says:

    I am going to call BS on one particular claim: that WFH for people with small kids and no day care can ever be a net good. Someone has to get the short end. The idea that you can be dependable as a team mate and show up undistracted to meetings and planning sessions while you are responsible for infants or preschoolers is just wishful thinking.

    I have one person like that, and he is the sole provider when his wife, a surgeon, was at work. On the days that his kids were home because day care was closed or they were ill, 90% of his work has to wait until his wife comes home.

    4
  54. Modulo Myself says:

    The bottom line is that people get paid for the work to do. If the work can be done at home, then why should they have to come in to do it? The answer is that there is no bottom line–capitalism is as much about social capital and conformity and class as it is about getting projects done, and a huge amount of social capital is invested making people have to do things for utterly pointless reasons. This trickles down to culture and dress codes and etiquette and the slavering obedience of people who need jobs as their reference point. It’s telling that Apple is about 5000% better of a place to work than an Amazon warehouse and yet they have to negotiate to 3 days.

    1
  55. Scott says:

    @Andy: As someone who is not, ahem, the most socially adept person, dating apps seem horrific.

    1
  56. Andy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I am going to call BS on one particular claim: that WFH for people with small kids and no day care can ever be a net good. Someone has to get the short end. The idea that you can be dependable as a team mate and show up undistracted to meetings and planning sessions while you are responsible for infants or preschoolers is just wishful thinking.

    That’s true for all work IMO. In my own case, I was the primary caregiver to our kids. I got off of active duty and became a reservist so I would have the time and flexibility to do that while still having some more flexible work while the kids were young. And yeah, that hurt my career and future prospects a great deal. But it was a choice I knowingly made and it was well worth it in the end and it allowed my wife to focus and excel at her career.

    Some of the couples with kids we knew who both wanted max full-time careers hired a nanny or had extended family (grandparents) manage the kids for them. There are tradeoffs there too.

    4
  57. Andy says:

    @Scott:

    Even as terrible as I was at dating (which was pretty terrible), I’m also glad I didn’t have to deal with dating apps.

    2
  58. steve says:

    Met my wife at work. I will also add that this is situational. I think younger people will underestimate the value in being in the same place so that ideas cross pollinate and you learn the work culture faster. Yes, the driving time sucks. Live closer or look for another job if that is an issue. I think it is especially hard for new people to integrate from home. Each individual company is going to have to sort this out and figure what works best for them. If no one in their industry wants to work in the office they will have to figure that out. If almost everyone in a given field thinks it best to work in person those who dont want to do that will have to seek accommodations or find a new job.

    Steve

    3
  59. KM says:

    @MarkedMan:
    You and the others brought up some excellent points as well. The conversation does tend to skew towed more of those that can do most if not all from home, as opposed to individuals requiring access to shared resources (including people). Not all work can be siloed effectively with only a few serving as project managers. I would imagine it would be much more difficult to WFH in fields where constant consultation is part of the job as opposed to someone who can work independently for days till outside input is needed.

    I think we keep seeing this as a tech job-related issue because it’s manifesting in tech-heavy fields first; that’s also where we are going to see machine learning and AI start to have an impact first once they kick off. A lot of computer work can be automated easier then some physical labor; a coder is going to be replaced by AI before someone who works with concrete. Knowing that, folks who are creating the things that will replace them seem less likely to want to spend that remaining time not in the comforts of their home.

    2
  60. just nutha says:

    @Gustopher: True. On the other hand, be where you’re told, when you’re told, and do what you’re told is a proven formula for success among the kids I’ve taught in schools for 20 or more years. The nail that stands above the rest will be hammered down. Makes what I did for during my teaching career tough to accomplish.

    It may be the reason that some of my very best student writers and thinkers over the time I did 2-year colleges were kids that had been kicked out of high school and former residents at the various homes for wayward boys and wayward girls. A kid who’s done times, been kicked out of school reads Plato’s Cave Allegory and The Myth of Sissyphus differently and more interestingly than the kids who “knew their place.”

    1
  61. just nutha says:

    @Scott: Not horrific. Merely something that I’d never use–like Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In already are.

  62. Michael Reynolds says:

    The temptation to go all Old Man is strong. Why, back in my day, etc… But one has to resist this because the world ahead is not my world, it belongs to the rising generations. If they have a path to improve working life, good on ’em. If WFH is a culture they can adapt to and be productive, why object? Maybe they’re wrong, maybe they’re right, but there is nothing sacred about people sitting at computer terminals in cubicles in big, airless office buildings. To the extent that they are less passive in the face of management assholery, that’s all to the good.

    About a decade ago I was house-hunting in NoCal with my techie daughter. I was annoyed because she wasn’t really looking out of the window to get a feel for the neighborhoods. Finally she began narrating: we are X miles from this office of that corp, the crime rate is Y, the average housing cost is Z, there’s a restaurant where people from Apple have lunch, here’s where the internet is slow, etc… All through her phone, she was seeing more than I was. I’m all for shooting down little pricks who get ageist, but a degree of humility is called for from us oldsters.

    6
  63. wr says:

    @Scott: “So yelling at each other is pointless.”

    Unlike in all our other arguments!

    5
  64. Gustopher says:

    @KM:

    A lot of computer work can be automated easier then some physical labor; a coder is going to be replaced by AI before someone who works with concrete.

    Um… no?

    There are definitely parts of the field that can be automated to make life easier — and even automated by an AI, but translating imprecise requirements into precise, secure, maintainable and reliable code isn’t one of them.

    Penetration testing? Absolutely.

    Stupid User Testing? Oh, you will not find a stupider user than a well done AI. This is almost exactly the same this as penetration testing at this point.

    Narrowing down causes of problems in distributed systems? Sure.

    Configuring alarms? Maybe.

    Writing code that moves money around? No.

    AI is really good at detecting patterns and deviations from patterns, pretty good at combining things and not so good at creating. And really bad at creating when precision matters. That’s the stuff that has been 10 years away for the past 50 years.

    3
  65. Jamie says:

    The standard Apple culture of terrorizing their employees behind closed doors is much harder to pull off over a video call. So I fully understand Cook’s position here.

    4
  66. EddieInCA says:

    Warner Bros just finished it’s merger with Discovery. Many WB employees have been WFH for two plus years. Some have moved away because they were told their jobs were going to be permanently WFH. My studio exec, the guy who I report to at the studio and who oversees my series, has been working from the east cost for more than two years. His wife has a job there, and they have a great life – making Los Angeles money – with Vermont/NH/Maine costs of living.

    Now the new owners of the studio have told employees that starting NEXT MONDAY they have to start reporting to the studio at least 2 days per week to work from there. WB is going to lose alot of good people. Or many are going to transfer somewhere closer to where they live.

    It’s stupid and short sighted.

    I don’t have the option of working from home, but if it was an option, I’d be all over it.

    9
  67. Kathy says:

    Once when changing copy suppliers, we were actually asked what kind of multi-function copiers we needed. I suggested one that could 1) staple photocopies and printouts and 2) punch three holes on the pages* (I’m not 100% sure this is a thing, but I’ve heard about it).

    We didn’t get that, but one of the higher ups asked me “don’t you want one that will assemble the proposals for you?”

    He thought he was joking, but I said “Isn’t the point of machines to do the work for us?”

    We didn’t get either capability.

    *Back then we had to make lots of copies, staple them in bunches, and punch holes so they could go into 3-ring binders. These days we mostly scan and then upload documents. Some can be”printed” as PDF files from Word “originals.”

  68. grumpy realist says:

    In the department of government I work in they asked us several months ago about coming back into the office. Roughly 75% of us said that we would quit if they tried to make us do that.

    I find this all very very ironic considering how for quite a few years I ran international projects which meant trying to get everyone organised for a meeting when the participants were videoing in from places like New Delhi, Tokyo, and Chicago. All at the same time.

    1
  69. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher:

    a coder is going to be replaced by AI before someone who works with concrete.

    Um… no?

    I think you are both right, but the way in which KM is right has a pretty big impact on our society. The parts of coding that are routine and repetitive are the most likely to be automated, in fact, they already have in many, many instances. Remember up above when I described what kind of tasks do well outsourced to India? The ones with minor updates to existing apps, one requiring hundreds of coders fulfilling requirements precisely spelled out? Those are the ones. And there are currently millions of coders throughout the world doing such tasks. What happens when that coding equivalent of plasterer gets replaced with the app development equivalent of drywall. (Okay. That’s a bit strained, but you get the idea.)

    The other day I was tinkering around with Apple’s FileMaker. It was widely assumed they were slowly killing it, but instead they have updated it and rebranded it as an “app builder”. Someone with no knowledge of coding can make apps (or at least ones centered around entering, manipulating and accessing data and forms) that run pretty seamlessly on phones, tablets and PCs. Spool back twenty years and the number of grunt coders it would have taken to do that would be mid to high two digits. Even ten years ago, it would have been a stretch.

    Drag this window on the app screen in development code and all the code is written in the background. Fill it with data from this spreadsheet column but sort it by this other column and allow the user to check or uncheck a half dozen boxes to show or reveal more data? All the code is written in the background, invisible to the user.

    So, Gustopher, when you say this,

    translating imprecise requirements into precise, secure, maintainable and reliable code isn’t one of them

    I think it is better to say that “translating imprecise requirements into a well thought out application isn’t one of them”. And you need a lot fewer of those people then of the code crankers.

    1
  70. MarkedMan says:

    @Jamie:

    The standard Apple culture of terrorizing their employees behind closed doors is much harder to pull off over a video call

    Admittedly this is just anecdotes as data, but I’ve known a fair number of people that worked at Apple both in development and a few in marketing, and while some liked it more than others, none would describe their experience as “terrorizing”. None of them were the type of people who would have stayed if they felt that way.

    The biggest feeling of angst is the same as in any large technical corporation: with hundreds of thousands of employees, by the time you can get to the level where you are in charge of something significant and can make real decisions, you are far, far removed from the day to day work.

    I swear that when Apple has genius programmers who are getting frustrated about having no real power, every few years they give them the Podcast app and let them try all their new ideas, just to give them a taste of the real world when a hundred million users start hating on their dumb changes.

    3
  71. MarkedMan says:

    @EddieInCA: In all seriousness, I wonder if that’s part of the goal. Every merger sees a bunch of analysts judging the execs who headed it to see if they can eliminate enough costs (read, jobs) to justify the cost. It’s a pretty high stakes game for them. This way they will get a bunch of resignations and won’t have to pay severance. The next round will be more expensive.

    1
  72. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I almost hate to point this out because it is way too late, but you’ve been able to buy pre-punched copy paper for years….

    1
  73. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’ve seen things like that in small bunches. Our proposals take literally thousands of copies and letterhead paper. I think the record was about 6,500 pages all told.

    Yeah, we’re killing the forests single-handed.

    1
  74. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: Unless I am missing something, those are frameworks. Written by humans to make developing things easier.

    That’s where the jump in productivity comes in. Put all of the hard technical stuff into libraries, and leave app programmers worrying about relationships of data and business logic.

    (And the big jump is going to be when someone replaces html and css)

    FileMaker was awesome for what it did, as was MS Access. And for a lot of systems that’s the right level of tool. DB might be replaced by a REST service, authentication gets passed off to another service, but by and large, graphically creating the UI and weaseling in snippets of code.

    But we’re not going to get to the spot where an AI can build either the framework or the app any time soon. Rote generation of a service from a schema? Sure, we should do more of that.

  75. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Okay I lied. Snarky rant part 2.

    IIRC, 3 bed 1 bath in apple land is $1m plus. Takes a lot less green to live in Omaha… or Klamath Falls.

    SWMBO rants about people being too lazy to take a minimum wage job. She says she understands the need to pay a living wage, but is not convinced that that will solve the problem. On the other hand, my SIL rants about the homeless busking for change in front of the store he works at. I’ve asked him if the store requires valid photo id, or a Social security card, or a legal street address. He doesn’t get that many homeless don’t have those things, making it impossible for Megamart Inc to even consider these people for the 23 positions open at his store. And if course, ex-cons need not apply either.

    I don’t have any answers, just questions. And a fear I’m gonna get to see this sucka burn…

    1
  76. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: Check out the latest version of FileMaker. For certain types of apps, you don’t need any programming experience.

    For a less intense version , check out Visual Basic from 15 years ago, or Borland Delphi from 20 years ago. An awful lot of code is generated by simply moving things around on a blank “interface” and setting properties.

  77. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    3/2, 788 square feet, 2.7 million.

  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: If you can’t get a machine that does 3-hole punch, the even better option is drilled paper. Our school used drilled pages for some documents. I didn’t like it (don’t use binders), but it is da bomb!

    1
  79. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Yeah. But your SIL is not exactly the shiniest spoon in the silverware drawer, either. And a lot of his attitudes are probably shaped by SWMBO, and more importantly, SWMBO, jr.

    1
  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: 3 and 2 in under a thousand sq. ft.? WTF?

  81. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Welcome to California. We bought our house in LA (2000 square feet, pool, excellent views) three years ago for 1.7. Zillow says it’s now worth 2.5 – appreciated at a rate of a quarter million a year. That’s probably low, given that the house we bought for our daughter listed at under a million and sold for 1.3. It’s just a wee bit crazy.

    1
  82. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Thanks! Last number I saw was 3+ years ago. Ugh.