The Way We Work Now

The Google Employee Who’s Fleeing Silicon Valley

When Google announced we’d be working remotely until at least the summer of 2021, I decided it’s time to pack up and leave

Mai Tran
Published in
4 min readAug 13, 2020
Photo illustration. Source: Carsten Koall/Getty Images

The Way We Work Now is a series chronicling how people’s lives and careers have fundamentally changed because of the pandemic.

This anonymous software engineer is in their twenties and works for Google. They spoke with Mai Tran about the tech company’s decision to extend remote work for at least a year.

I moved to the Bay three years ago for the tech industry. I wanted to be a part of that and to learn more about the software ecosystem around there. Google definitely epitomizes that culture, good and bad.

I think Google was one of the first companies to go fully remote, starting early March. In the beginning, I saw it mostly as an opportunity to see my family in Ohio. My dad is in pretty good health, he’s a physician, and I have one brother who’s a little bit younger than me. I definitely did not see my grandparents, who also live in the same community, but it was nice to be at home for a few weeks, which is pretty rare. We’re all getting older and don’t really get to do that anymore.

My plan is to just wing it, and we’ll see how it goes.

When Google announced last month it was going remote until the summer of 2021, both my roommates and I planned to move out. My lease is going to be up at the end of the year, and I think it’d be a good opportunity to just get an Airbnb for a month in a couple different cities, to see all my old friends from college, and explore some new places. I still don’t quite know how I’ll do it, but you sort of learn to wing it when you move out here. I’m a bit used to Silicon Valley now, it’s for sure stressful and the housing sucks. So my plan is to just wing it, and we’ll see how it goes.

For now, I’m still based in the same area in San Francisco. I have two roommates who work at other companies, and it does get cramped. It’s a tiny apartment. I pay around $1,400 a month. We moved the furniture around and made a kind of open office area, and we have this ad hoc room to…



Mai Tran
Writer for

writer based in new york