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#trending: Google employees lose email access, then their jobs; netizens slam tech giant for 'cold' treatment in laying off staff

A number of former Google employees have taken to TikTok to share their reactions on being laid off from the tech company.

#trending: Google employees lose email access, then their jobs; netizens slam tech giant for 'cold' treatment in laying off staff
  • A number of former Google employees have taken to TikTok to share their reactions on being laid off from the tech company
  • A vlog by Ms Nicole Tsai documenting how she found out and handled the news of being laid off had gone viral, racking up over 4.5 million views
  • Another employee named Kimberly Diaz found out she was let go while she was in the middle of a business trip
  • Online users slammed the tech giant for their "cold" treatment of their employees
  • Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc had announced plans to eliminate 12,000 jobs on Friday (Jan 20), reducing its global workforce by 6 per cent

SINGAPORE — Ms Nicole Tsai had just begun posting TikTok videos highlighting the perks of working at Google late last December. Little did she know she would be among 12,000 employees laid off by Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc just a month later.

The California resident’s video documenting how she found out and handled the news of being unexpectedly let go by the tech company has gone viral, garnering over 4.5 million views at the time of writing.

Alphabet Inc announced last Friday (Jan 20) that it would be reducing its global workforce by 6 per cent.

Titled “A Day in My Life Getting Laid Off At Google”, Ms Tsai said she woke up to an “ominous text” from her boss who later told her via phone call to check the news and her email.

Ms Tsai, who goes by the moniker “nicolesdailyvlog” on TikTok, then discovered that she had lost access to “basically everything”, including her email and calendar.

“I called my boss and we just sobbed over the phone because she was also just finding out about my layoff for the first time today too,” she continued.

@nicolesdailyvlog The Google layoffs were not how I expected to start off 2023, but I know it’s only up from here 🥲 #techlayoffs #googlelayoffs #techgirl #corporatelife #techvlog #dayinmylife #techlayoffs2023 ♬ Flowers - Miley Cyrus

Ms Tsai, who had been working as a partner service program manager at Google in Irvine, California for the last year and a half, then began receiving calls from her co-workers as she discovered who else was retrenched.

“I think the worst part is that it seems like no one was consulted on this decision and everyone was just finding out about the layoffs at the same time.”

Likening the selection process to a “really bad game of Russian roulette”, Ms Tsai expressed her belief that the layoffs were random as there seemed to be no correlation between performance and who was made redundant.

Scrolling through her LinkedIn feed, Ms Tsai discovered that there were many fellow Google employees in the same situation who felt “equally as shocked and blindsided”.

To cheer herself up after a day of crying, Ms Tsai used her annual pass to go to Disneyland where she ate her feelings downing churros, a turkey leg, a corn dog and an ice cream.

Ms Tsai ended the video by admitting that she does not know what is next for her, but promised to continue vlogging about her journey on social media.

Prior to the layoff, Ms Tsai’s TikTok content revolved around giving her followers an insider’s look at working at Google. Her videos ranged from showcasing lunch and snack options, to impressive staff facilities like themed meeting rooms, a giant slide as well as scooters to get around the office.

TikTok users flooded Ms Tsai’s comments section with words of comfort and sympathy at news of her retrenchment. Many criticised Google for laying off its employees seemingly without warning and without giving a notice period.

One user wrote: “Ugh I’m sorry. It literally blows my mind how they didn’t warn anyone. How can they do that!”

Another person said: “I think this way of treating employee layoffs will ultimately hurt the tech giant. I hope these folks find work soon. Maybe put together start ups.”

LAID OFF IN THE MIDDLE OF A BUSINESS TRIP

Another Google employee who was affected by the layoffs was Ms Kimberly Diaz.

The former global partner lead for retail, fashion and branded apparel at YouTube, which is owned by Google, shared on TikTok that she was on a business trip in Fort Myers in Florida when she learned of her retrenchment. 

Ms Diaz recounted that she was preparing a presentation for an upcoming call with a client on Friday morning when she discovered that she could not access her email anymore. Ms Diaz then contacted another colleague to ask if she was also experiencing problems.

A few minutes later, Ms Diaz received an email from Google informing her that her position had been eliminated with immediate effect. 

@__kimberlydiaz Replying to @pinkyalfieandvicky story time of how i got let go while on a client visit… part one #googlelayoffs #layoffs #techlayoffs #bigtech ♬ original sound - Kimberly Díaz

As Ms Diaz was no longer an employee, she was unable to reschedule her flight back to New York later that evening through Google’s system. She also said that she did not know if she would be reimbursed if she changed her flight.

“I already don’t have a job so I’m not trying to spend like US$400 (S$525) changing a flight or whatever,” she said.

Her voice cracking with emotion, Ms Diaz shared that her colleague, who was not affected by the layoffs, then offered to pay for the flight change with her own credit card and told Ms Diaz not to worry as she would “figure out” a way to reimburse the amount.

“Getting laid off is an isolating experience. The fact that she thought about me and was willing to do that for me, it meant so much. So I’m very grateful,” she added tearfully.

Ms Diaz’s TikTok video has chalked up over 1.3 million views since it was posted on Sunday.

Netizens slammed the tech giant for its “cold” treatment of its employees. 

One person said: “For real, of all the layoffs (Meta, Amazon, Salesforce, Microsoft) this is hands down the worst I’ve heard. I am so sorry.”

Another wrote: “Horrible way to treat people. These corporations need to treat people with a basic level of respect.”

The cuts at Alphabet Inc are the latest in a series of mass layoffs in the tech sector which is facing a huge downturn.

Alphabet Inc Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai told staff in a memo that the firm had reviewed its products, people and priorities, leading to job cuts across geographies and tech, Reuters reported.

Alphabet has already emailed affected employees, the memo said, while the process will take longer in other countries due to local employment laws and practices.

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