"Until now, I never felt like what I was doing was good. Which is a really sad thing to say. But doing what I’m doing right now, I do feel like it’s good, and that sense comes from a bodily feeling rather than a logical one."
This interview helped crystallize some ideas I've been grappling with myself. Thank you for sharing it, and for this Q&A series. The concept of a double life — one that's driven by values and another by subverting them, or put another way, one driven by your head and the other by your body — resonated deeply with me.
Similar to Rae, I have worked in Silicon Valley for my whole career (and am a highly sensitive person) and in the last few years, my body has started sending me strong signals that I'm not tolerating this double life. It's been hard work to override the value we are taught to place on "success" and "ambition," which typically refer almost exclusively to one's professional life, and to imagine how else ambition could show up in my life. As you and Rae point out, for many, their ambition is to live in community. The "best" thing I've done in the last few years is plan and host a summer camp for my closest friends.
Thanks, as always Rosie, for the thought-provoking and meaningful piece.
This is long and well written. It grabbed my curiosity, slowed my reading and got me through every word. Normally when I see Silcon Valley in the story, I move on. That's a world I never worked in and have no interest in technology start ups, venture capitalists, or crypto dreams. You showed the part of Rae Katz that is more like millions who chooses professionalism over alternatives. The testimonial for Substack is evident and I'm delighted for anyone who figures out how to make someone else's platform or someone else's business work in tandem with their own business.
Loved this! I relate to so much here.
Wow, Divine Timing. Beautiful interview/article with two well spoken women! I love to see it!
I really resonate with much of Rae's story and admire her honesty and vulnerability. I was born and raised in Silicon Valley, went to college in San Francisco, lived there in the prime of it's tech, startup bubble. My background is in social work/social sciences, I lasted 3 days at one start up and 3 months at another. It's just so visceral the hold that tech has in our world and it's evident on the streets of San Francisco. (I could go on a rant about San Francisco now..but I won't).
All that being said, I spent my years in the city, for the most part adamantly opposed to working in tech and the private sector. EVERYONE, even those with the best intentions, tried to push me towards tech. "You want to do good in the world?" "Google has programs for that!"
"You want to help people?" "Twitter (this was pre-Elon) has programs for that!
"You should work in wellness, for people who already have the best benefits that have ever been offered and are provided 3 free meals a day!"
When I was desperate for a job, I accepted an offer at a start up, lasted 3 days, then moved home to live with my parents further down the Peninsula. I cannot imagine what it might be like to endure that pain, that feeling of ostracization on the inside for so long. It was bad enough and I was never really in it, just observing from the outside of the window. I'm so glad you got out, Rae!
I still live and work in Silicon Valley as a social worker. It is so damn hard sometimes (especially financially) but to be in a culture that Rae described, that feels so untrue to who I am on the inside. It is also hard to appreciate whatever "good" tech has brought, when those who I work with on a daily basis (primarly low-income, working class, POC) are not able to get their basic needs met. I mean, it is tempting to "sell out sometimes", but Rae's story is a warm reminder of what is at stake.
A great interview! Thank you for sharing this one :)