I see a lot of parallels between how Silicon Valley became cool and where senior living is today.

By Steve Moran

It is a for sure thing that for likely millions and millions of people across the country, working at Google, Apple, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Netflix or Lyft would be seen as the most amazing wonderful job in the world. In particular, so much has been written about the Google culture, lifestyle, pay and benefits.

How Cool Is It?

I can’t exactly say from personal experience, not having ever worked at one of those companies, but for 10 years I worked in Silicon Valley for a number of emerging (and too often failing, though not my fault . . . I am pretty sure), companies. It was cool . . . sort of . . .  for several reasons:

  1. The money was good . . . sort of. It turns out that while the pay rates in Silicon Valley are extraordinary in terms of absolute dollars compared to the rest of the country, the cost of living was and is extraordinary. There is a rumor that you make $150,000 per year and qualify for food stamps . . . and really need them.

  2. Less so today than when I was there, when there was a real potential for becoming an overnight millionaire — which is why I moved there, though the dream was never realized . . . not even close.

  3. It is crazy, cool, amazing to be even a tiny cog in the technology revolution and if you work for one of the big winners like Google even cooler than that.

What We Miss

I admit that my job in the senior living industry is close to a one-off and so maybe this is not quite fair, but for a million bucks I would not go back. At the end of the day, most people who are working in Silicon Valley are doing nothing to change the world. They work on a tiny little piece of some hardware device or software program that, at the end of the day, does not really make the world a better place.

Some might even argue it has hurt society and relationships.

On the other hand, working in senior living at any level from CEO to dishwasher provides the opportunity to make the world a better place, one person or a few people at a time.

Our Opportunity

I see a lot of parallels between how Silicon Valley became cool and where senior living is today. In the early years it was just a bunch of geeky nerds working on something no one understood. They were passionate about what they were doing and worked, in many cases, under horrible conditions; in garages and tiny cubicles (still to this day at most companies). No one really had any idea what they were doing, but they had this hope, this vision that something great would come out of what they were doing.

We are perhaps in that same place. We have this very unique opportunity to give so many people meaningful lives. It is a powerful message that should have great magnetic pull.