scorecardA Google recruiter on maternity leave said she found out she was laid off while feeding her 3-week-old baby at 4:30 a.m.
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A Google recruiter on maternity leave said she found out she was laid off while feeding her 3-week-old baby at 4:30 a.m.

Grace Dean   

A Google recruiter on maternity leave said she found out she was laid off while feeding her 3-week-old baby at 4:30 a.m.
Tech2 min read
  • A Google recruiter learned she was laid off in the middle of the night while on maternity leave.
  • Google is known for its generous benefits, including up to 24 weeks of parental leave.

A Google recruiter on maternity leave said she found out she was laid off in the middle of the night while feeding her three-week-old baby.

Jana Elfenbein had been working at the tech giant for nearly five years in Austin, Texas, according to her LinkedIn profile.

"While on maternity leave feeding my 3-week-old daughter at 4:30 a.m. last Friday, I learned that my position at Google had been eliminated," she said on LinkedIn.

Elfenbein called her experience at Google "incredible" in her post and said she was "sad to suddenly close out this chapter."

Insider reached out to Elfenbein on LinkedIn for further comment, but did not immediately hear back.

Google is known for the generous benefits it offers its staff, including up to 24 weeks of parental leave.

The company announced on January 20 that it was laying off 12,000 staff, or around 6.4% of its workforce. Google publicly announced the mass layoffs at about 2:30 a.m. PST and said that affected staff had been alerted beforehand.

But some employees told Insider that they hadn't seen the email letting them go and had only realized they had been laid off when they couldn't access their work laptops and accounts. One recruiter in Dublin who was employed through a contractor said he discovered he'd lost his job after a call with one of his candidates suddenly disconnected.

CEO Sundar Pichai said the roles affected would "cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels, and regions." Interviews Insider had with laid-off Googlers show that staff on paid leave weren't immune to the cuts.

A California-based Google marketing manager told Insider that she was let go while on maternity leave with a four-month-old baby and that her husband was also laid off. One video production manager was laid off while on paid carers' leave looking after his terminally ill mother. Other former Googlers have posted on LinkedIn about similar experiences.

Two current engineers at Google told Insider that some remaining employees were worried about further cuts.

"We truly did believe that Google was something different," an engineer on the West Coast, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect his employment, told Insider.

"Now, anything that used to feel special or like you really were a part of a mission — not just a big money-making machine — that feeling is I think gone."

Were you laid off by Google? Or do you still work there? Contact this reporter at gdean@insider.com.




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