You will often find that the biggest tech companies, who brag about their diversity and inclusion initiatives, often leave out one thing.
Pretend you haven't read the title of this post, and guess what it is.
eBay (Yes, I consider eBay a tech company).
Most of the jobs are clustered around only a handful of areas. Especially in the United States. There are few - if any - remote options listed.
With the event of COVID-19, there are plenty of businesses scrambling to enter the 21st century with remote work.
- Figuring out how to adjust Active Directory to let users access files from home.
- Setting up Zoom (With all its questionability) meetings.
- Using spyware and demanding employees have their webcams on at all times because they don't trust their staff, and are stuck in 1943.
But I'm not here today to talk about companies and their Illusions of Inclusion. I'm here to talk about how people who pooh-pooh these companies hardly do better in making events that include people from around the country and world.
Since the beginning of the Pandemic 20's, I have noticed just how many events I can now join because organizers moved them to online. Tech gatherings from Charlotte, to New York, to Tampa.
Most of these meetings went up like that, after a few hiccups in setup, and went smoothly. I will attribute that to these being events hosted by and for tech people, but the point still stands.
I have one question -
Why weren't you doing this before?
Yes, these people have (Or, unfortunately, had) jobs. Many of these took place in the cocktail hours, after the slog of a 9 to 5 was done.
And they were always offline. I could never be there, because I don't currently live in these places. I hope to, one day, but could never truly network simply because everyone would rather talk in person.
We don't all live in the cities with the jobs.
Am I saying to eschew face to face contact? No. Even a virtual meeting can't supply whatever chemicals are released when you're sitting 2 feet away from someone. There are certainly measures to take in place, to keep it centered on tech events on the local area.
Consider two meetups a month; One in person (When social distancing is done, of course), and one in a virtual meeting room. Preferably not Zoom. May I suggest Cisco Webex?
But you are really shutting out a lot of people like myself who would love to help you, and feel more comfortable virtually mingling than finding some vague article about goings-on and sending an e-mail, hoping you might find the will to reply. Then we have to build that relationship until one is in a position to relocate.
Do you understand, how much quicker this could be, if you had more virtual meetups?
You cannot say "Let's establish ourselves as a tech hub." While using the same outdated ways of contact and communication you hate from your employer.
And, honestly, I can't imagine most people are thrilled with going straight from work to a meeting after they are possibly tired and mentally drained from the day.
If there is one good thing Coronavirus has introduced, it's forcing everyone - Tech and non-tech alike - to expand their reach, and the possibility of what they can do.
If you'll excuse me, I have a webinar to tune in to.