After observing coworkers at competing technology companies lose their jobs en masse, Google employees were apprehensive about their own impending layoffs. The following morning, some of them were unable to access their business accounts.
The company, which was owned by Alphabet Inc., chose to lay off 12,000 workers, or 6% of the workforce. Employees described a largely orderly but impersonal change, communicated primarily through the technology products they helped develop, with no direct explanations for why individuals were included or excluded.
Some were notified of their job loss via emails addressed to their personal accounts. Due to the lack of a centralised method for determining which positions had been abolished, the remaining employees used the messaging software Google Chat to inquire as to whether it still functioned. According to a Google employee who sought anonymity because he was not permitted to communicate with the media, if the answer was negative, it indicated that the individual had been laid go.
On messaging applications and internal chat rooms, employees began to discuss future theories and worries. It appears that the layoffs were structural rather than performance-based. According to various employees who talked to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity about internal concerns, with performance reviews not yet finalised later this month, some staff were concerned that their positions were still at risk of removal.
Unemployed workers using messaging apps such as Discord and Slack to maintain contact.
For months, the search giant refrained from laying off employees, even while Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Meta Platforms Inc. laid off thousands. When the layoffs did occur, they looked to affect a large portion of the organisation.
One software programmer, Jeremy Joslin, remarked on Twitter, “I find it hard to believe that after 20 years with #Google, I received an email informing me of my last day.” What an insult to the face. I wish I could have bid farewell to everyone in person.”
The company’s prized artificial intelligence teams looked to have escaped the attack with minimal damage. In a memo to employees announcing the layoffs, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai framed the reductions as a means to tighten the company’s emphasis on artificial intelligence.
However, Area 120, an internal incubator for fresh concepts, was destroyed. According to two persons with knowledge of the situation, the unit’s managing partner and staff on three projects intended to be incorporated into Google were spared, but practically all other employees were thrown off.
Dallas Barnes, a graphic designer at Google, stated on Twitter that he was the only team member to survive the layoffs.
It is difficult to express the amount of sadness, despair, and bewilderment I am currently experiencing, he added.
The Alphabet Workers Union, a so-called minority union without collective bargaining rights, stated that the layoffs highlighted the significance of worker organisation.
Parul Koul, executive head of the Alphabet Workers Union, stated in a statement, “This is atrocious and inexcusable behaviour from a firm that produced $17 billion in profit during the last quarter alone.” With unaffected billions in earnings and executive bonuses, our jobs should not be at risk.
Keith Chaney, who worked on Google’s partnerships strategy team for almost a year, said that there was a sense of dread among Google employees regarding the likelihood of layoffs, especially as other tech companies began to announce employment reductions in recent weeks. Friday he lost his job.
“I wasn’t terribly surprised,” he remarked. “There was a looming possibility that it may occur. I simply did not know to what degree or when.”
Chaney expressed eagerness at the opportunity to pursue entrepreneurship. Last year, he launched Peadbo, a platform that enables users to create a “personal advisory board” for their personal or professional development.
Chaney stated, “I was grateful to work at Google and even more grateful that they permitted me to develop the startup while I was employed there.” “Part of me is eager to devote myself completely to the startup. I believe the severance will allow me to try that for a while.”