The Ice Age: Tech Workaholics and Drugs [infographic]

Written by David Michaelis

Tech workaholics in Silicon Valley are constantly under stress. Many manage that stress with drugs. It’s not healthy as David Michaelis explains.

aNewDomain — Ice, a common name for methamphetamine, is just one of the drugs that’s made a huge impact on Silicon Valley. The tech industry is largely composed of workaholics who hope that nobody recognizes that they’re addicted to more than just deadlines. These midnight deadlines are common practice in the Valley and the stress from all those overworked souls is palpable. The “Ice Age” now exists, and denotes a period in which multiple kinds of drugs are available to relieve the stress. No one knows how many of Google, Microsoft and Facebook campus workers are medicated, but I’m willing to be it’s a lot.

stress ice drugs silicon valley

Image Credit: Creative Commons

Drugs for Stress

Stress can take over your life and ruin your health. There’s no magic pill or substance that will manage it, even if it feels like taking something helps. But it’s clear that the use of drugs have become part of the work culture to manage that stress. What sort of world do we envision if this keeps up?

The IIIJ Forum organized by Google evangelist Vint Cerf and David Nordfors CEO of IIIJ stated:

We don’t want a Prozac economy where people must medicate in order to compete against others who are medicated to handle pressure. Building medication into the system will not lead to a sustainable middle class innovation economy, which must be the goal.”

Here’s a great video that can help with the management of stress, or at least the recognition that a problem might exist for you.


Video: Stress in America – Conquering Your Stress

The Mercury News reported:

“‘There’s this workaholism in the valley, where the ability to work on crash projects at tremendous rates of speed is almost a badge of honor,’ says Steve Albrecht, a San Diego consultant who teaches substance abuse awareness for Bay Area employers. “‘These workers stay up for days and days, and many of them gradually get into meth and coke to keep going. Red Bull and coffee only gets them so far.”‘

Furthering the problem, many tech companies do little or no drug testing because, as Albrecht put it, “‘they want the results, but they don’t want to know how their employees got the results.”‘

What are the signs? Experts points to:

  1. Workaholics accept more work than they can handle.
  2. Higher burn-out rate and not accomplishing targets.
  3. They probably have other addictions, work being just one of them.
  4. They are not team players with egos attached to work and success.

Ice and other drugs are time killers … literally

If you think that working hard has not killed anyone, look at this list and think again. You might start to think about what geeks are doing to themselves. The folks at sat down, took a hard look at a series of statistics on drug use and came up with this graphic. The figures only apply to regular users, but are pretty shocking nonetheless. In any case, a smoker loses 13.8 minutes of his or her life per cancer stick. The loss is strikingly different for other drugs …

silicon valley drug ice

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