A Google software engineer says it was a 'slap in the face' to find out he was laid off via email after 20 years at the company

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A Google software engineer says it was a 'slap in the face' to find out he was laid off via email after 20 years at the company
Google announced Friday it was laying off around 12,000 staff, or 6% of its global workforce.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Jeremy Joslin, a 20-year Google engineer, said being laid off via email was a "slap in the face."
  • "It's as if I dropped off the grid and they have to piece together any knowledge I took," he added.
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A software engineer described the way he found out Google was laying him off as a "slap in the face."

Jeremy Joslin, whose LinkedIn profile says he had worked at the tech giant since 2003, said Friday the company gave him the news over email.

"It's hard for me to believe that after 20 years at Google I unexpectedly find out about my last day via an email," he tweeted. "What a slap in the face. I wish I could have said goodbye to everyone face to face."

In a post on LinkedIn, Joslin added: "I never thought it would happen like this."

Google announced Friday it was laying off about 12,000 employees, or 6% of its global workforce, "across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions." CEO Sundar Pichai said the company had hired too quickly and couldn't keep all its staff on in the current "economic reality."

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'It's as if I dropped off the grid'

Ex-Googlers have vented on LinkedIn and Twitter about the abrupt and impersonal nature of their layoffs.

"Being let go via a transactional email without any acknowledgement of your personal time or impact on the company is a difficult way to go out," Joslin said on LinkedIn. "A little bit of compassion and personal touch can go a long way."

Joslin said Friday in another LinkedIn comment that he lost all access to corporate resources that morning and "nobody in my management chain ever reached out to me."

"It's as if I dropped off the grid and they have to piece together any knowledge I took with me," he added.

Dan Russell, a research scientist, said on LinkedIn: "I found out when I went to work at 4AM to finish up an important analysis, and my badge didn't work. After 17.5 years at Google, it was kind of a tough way to discover that I'd become a Xoogler."

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Elizabeth Hart, a senior marketing manager on Google's global ads team who had worked at the company since 2007, said on LinkedIn that she found out she had been laid off when she checked her phone on Friday morning, while "bleary eyed and still half asleep," and saw a notification saying that her corporate access had expired, alongside one for a New York Times article about the layoffs.

Google publicly announced the layoffs about 5:30 a.m. ET, or 2:30 a.m. PST. The company said that the layoff announcement had been sent to staff earlier that day and that affected US employees had been informed before that, though it didn't say when.

Bloomberg reported the layoffs seemed structural, rather than based on performance. Some workers said that most or all of their teams were laid off.

"There seems to be little rhyme or reason to the decisions made regarding who to let go," Blair Bolick, a laid-off Google recruiter, said on LinkedIn. She added that even her boss didn't know she was being let go.

In comments, Joslin acknowledged that the company had changed over the two decades he spent working there.

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"Not the same company I started at 20 years ago," he said on LinkedIn.

Another laid-off engineer said that the mass terminations showed Google viewed its employees as "100% disposable."

"I'm devastated. I'm sad, angry," Bolick said on LinkedIn. "Some moments I'm hopeful, but most of all I'm scared, and so unbelievably hurt."

Were you laid off by Google or another tech company? Contact this reporter at gdean@insider.com.

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