Ousted Google employees expressed shock after the company included top performers and company veterans in a massive round of layoffs last week – with impacted workers learning their fate in an early-morning email.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said he took “full responsibility” for the decision to cut about 12,000 jobs, or more than 6% of the Google parent’s overall workforce.
The mass of laid-off workers included former Google engineering manager Justin Moore, who revealed in a scathing LinkedIn post that he discovered he was out of a job through an “automated account deactivation at 3am.” Moore had worked at Google for more than 16 years.
“This also just drives home that work is not your life, and employers — especially big, faceless ones like Google — see you as 100% disposable. Live life, not work,” Moore said in the post last Friday.
The company joined other tech giants, including Microsoft and Amazon, who have handed out pink slips during a major slump within the tech sector.
Jeremy Joslin, a software engineer at Google for the last two decades, described a similar experience.
“It’s hard for me to believe that after 20 years at #Google I unexpectedly find out about my last day via an email,” Joslin wrote on Twitter. “What a slap in the face. I wish I could have said goodbye to everyone face to face.”
Alan Skelley, a software engineer with more than 15 years of service at the company, said he unceremoniously lost access to his company accounts in the middle of the night.
“Waking up to my laptop wiped and corp access cut off seemed a bit harsh, but I guess a disgruntled engineer can get up to some mischief,” Skelley said. “We do have the nuclear codes and the keys to the death ray laser, I suppose. With layoffs of this scale you have to play the numbers game.”
Other ex-Googlers said they never saw the email announcing their layoff before losing access to their accounts, or described learning about the sweeping cuts only after reading initial news reports.
“Today, my 15+ year adventure at Google came to an unexpected end when bleary eyed and still half asleep I checked my phone and saw a notification that my corporate access expired alongside a NYT notification announcing the layoffs,” wrote senior marketing manager Elizabeth Hart.
The thousands of employees caught up in the layoffs included staffers “had previously received high performance reviews or held managerial positions with annual compensation packages of $500,000 to $1 million,” The Information reported, citing managers at the company.
The cuts at Alphabet occurred after a dismal stretch that saw the company’s stock plunge roughly 30% over the last 12 months. The stock losses outpaced those experienced in the broader market.
In a memo to staffers last Friday, Pichai said the company conducted “a rigorous review across product areas and functions to ensure that our people and roles are aligned with our highest priorities as a company,” including an enhanced focus on artificial intelligence technologies.
“The roles we’re eliminating reflect the outcome of that review,” Pichai said. “They cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions.”
Pichai said impacted workers will receive a host of benefits, including 16 weeks of severance plus two weeks for each year of service at the company.
The Post has reached out to Google for comment.
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