Laid-off Twitter software engineer calls job market 'hot garbage': 'maybe I should go be a firefighter'

Laid-off Twitter software engineer calls job market 'hot garbage': 'maybe I should go be a firefighter'
Former Twitter employees are pursuing legal claims over severance packages for layoffs.Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Getty Images
  • A laid-off Twitter engineer told CNN that they've faced a "wave of rejections" for job applications.
  • The former Twitter employee is among those seeking recourse after being laid off when Elon Musk took over.

Former Twitter employees are struggling to land work in a "hot garbage" job market since Elon Musk pushed them out, according to former Twitter engineer Justine De Caires.

"The market is hot garbage right now," De Caires told CNN. They are one of the hundreds of former Twitter employees who have sought legal recourse over severance packages offered to laid-off staff members.

De Caires told CNN that the grim market for tech jobs was making them contemplate dramatically different career options.

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"I was sitting down earlier this week after a wave of rejections and I was kind of like, maybe I should go be a firefighter or something… because the tech jobs are just not happening," they said.

De Caires was among a group of named plaintiffs who sued Twitter last year, telling a California federal court that the severance packages being offered under Musk's regime were less than what the company had previously offered.


De Caires and the other employees suing Twitter also said that they'd counted on assurances by Twitter's prior leadership that the company's severance policy would stay the same after Musk took over, according to an amended complaint they'd filed in December.

Twitter's severance package before Musk had included two months of pay or more, along with other benefits, whereas under Musk, laid-off employees have been offered just one month of severance pay, according to their complaint.

"Twitter employees had been promised that, should layoffs occur after the sale of the company, they would be entitled to the same benefits and severance that employees had previously received," they said in the complaint. "However, following Musk's purchase of the company, Twitter reneged on this agreement."

Insider did not receive a response to emails sent to Twitter's press address and to Musk's Tesla and SpaceX addresses on Monday morning.

De Caires and other employees also argued that any pay they received in the period between when they were informed of the layoff and their actual official last day at the company, did not count as severance pay. De Caires, who'd worked for Twitter in San Francisco, had been notified about being laid off on November 4, but officially separated from the company on January 4 this year, according to a court filing.


De Caires' claims have since been moved to arbitration, as they are among Twitter's former employees who had signed arbitration agreements when working for Twitter, according to the California federal court's order in January.

De Caires' attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan told Insider that she is now representing a total of more than 1,500 laid off Twitter employees in individual arbitration cases.

"It would be far less expensive for Twitter to just pay employees what they are owed than to defend against all of these cases," Liss-Riordan said. "We hope Elon realizes this soon, but if not, we look forward to taking him on in the courtroom, as well as in arbitration."

Nearly 124,000 employees have been laid off this year from more than 450 tech firms, according to, a website that records layoffs in the industry. Big Tech companies like Microsoft, Meta, Google and Amazon have all signaled large-scale layoffs.

Some companies, like Uber, are also using tougher performance reviews to push out employees, though the ride-hailing company previously told Insider that it plans to backfill the roles of employees it cuts in the process.