For some Google employees who survived the 12,000 layoffs, Google is no longer a company that makes them feel special, the search giant is now just another large ordinary company.
Google cuts 12,000 jobs
On January 20, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, announced global job cuts of about 6 percent. Pichai told the remaining employees that they could work from home that day to deal with the “tough news”.
An anonymous Google engineer who kept his job works on the East Coast of the United States and has worked for Google for more than a decade. According to him, some of the “surviving” employees cried during the meeting when Google announced the layoffs. In the video conference that day, “some people were crying, they were wiping their tears”.
When employees who survived the layoffs asked each other how they were doing, some joked that they were OK because they still had jobs, he said. “People nod to each other in the office to show understanding when they brush up against each other, and it’s not the kind of nonverbal communication that used to be common. Now, it’s a meaningful nod.”
Reduced to an ordinary company
A West Coast engineer who has worked at Google for more than 10 years said that employees who “survived” are “angry and sad.
“We used to really believe that Google was different,” he said, “and now it’s just another big (ordinary) company. Now, anything that used to make you feel special or that you were really part of a mission, not just a big money-making machine, is gone, and I think that feeling is gone.”
Both engineers said some of the employees who remain fear further layoffs at Google. The above-mentioned engineer from the East Coast said Google employees are often headhunted, but they don’t leave because of the benefits and job security. Now, however, the benefits have been gradually “stripped away” and layoffs mean that careers no longer feel secure.
“Now, what’s left of this company that sets it apart from any other company, any other employer that we associate with and offers good jobs?” He added.
Supporting each other
On Jan. 20, laid-off employees at Google USA woke up to an email saying they had been let go. Still, some learned the news from worried colleagues.
Nicholas Whitaker worked on Google’s people development team before he was let go. He said he thought there had been a shooting or natural disaster that morning when he saw messages from colleagues asking if he was OK. Because access to the company’s systems was cut off, the laid-off employees had to say goodbye to their colleagues in other ways.
The above-mentioned engineer working on the West Coast said the employees who remained were not told who had been laid off. If they tried to contact the laid-off employees, Google’s internal communications system would only display a message saying “unavailable.
Several fired Google employees said current and former employees provided them with a lot of help, such as an offer to share their resumes. Xoogler, a community of former Google employees, organizes mental health and immigration counseling sessions. Whitaker said he is offering free meditation and positive thinking sessions.
“I miss my colleagues,” said Jarrod Ahalt, a security engineer who was laid off, “and we’ve been supporting each other as best we could.”
Google has not yet commented.