Silicon Valley Syndrome

A growing problem I see often now, arguably the ultimate first world problem, but still a problem, and fascinating to watch. I call it “Silicon Valley Syndrome“. A high-end applied version of the Paradox of Choice applied to genius, high-potential tech whizzes. Acute strains among Stanford grads and young alumni of the largest hot companies like Google etc. But not limited to them, it can infect anyone here.

Presents as achievements and career paralysis overload of too many great choices freezes the ability to decide, commit, and stick to one thing. Do important work for a big company, take one of 20 hot start-up offers, found your own company with any of 5-10 possible co-founders and become a junior venture capitalist? Agggh!

Not nipped in the bud, it becomes chronic, damages 5-10 prime career years. The resume becomes a saga of job hopping. Once potent potential dissipates. Years later, friends and colleagues wonder, whatever happened to X? He/she seemed to have such high potential. Such a shame. Such a waste. It rarely strikes 18-22 year olds. It often starts at age 26 after four years at the hot company. Most common between the ages of 26-32. At age 35 and older, people are either lost forever or come to their senses.

Friends of new sufferers encouraged to slap you silly, exclaim “What’s wrong with you? Pick a thing and stick with it! This is not that hard!“.

Unexpected side effect: More great opportunities open up sooner than they should for new up and comers. Then the cycle repeats.

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