Internal memes show Google staff fearing widespread job cuts

Are Google staff next on the chopping block? Internal memes show staff fear widespread job cuts after Meta, Twitter, Snap and HP announced huge layoffs: ‘Don’t fire us please’

  • Google has dodged mass layoffs in recent months, but it hasn’t stopped employees from questioning if they’re next 
  • Several have taken to the internal meme site MemeGen to post their worries, including one that read: ‘Don’t fire us, please’ 
  • Recently, UK billionaire and investor, Christopher Hohn – who has a $6billion stake in the company – encouraged an ‘aggressive’ headcount reduction 
  • Alphabet executives have also called for a need to sharpen ‘focus’ in recent months by lowering project costs and increasing efficiency by 20 percent
  • In addition, performance reviews have changed, travel budgets have decreased, and less swag items have been offered
  • Google also experienced an outage, which left employees unable to log in to work accounts, with many worrying they had been fired 

Google employees have been soothing their fears of layoffs by sharing internal memes, as Meta, Twitter, Snap, and HP have all fired large swaths of their workforces. 

Google is one of the few tech companies that has so far avoided mass layoffs this year, but it hasn’t stopped employees from questioning if they’re next. 

Several have taken to the internal meme site MemeGen to post their worries, including one that read: ‘Don’t fire us, please.’ 

Despite no public or internal announcement about layoffs, employees are worried after one of Google’s investors – UK billionaire Christopher Hohn, who has a $6billion stake in the company – encouraged an ‘aggressive’ headcount chop.  

One internal meme, features a popular screenshot from the show, The Office, with the character Michael Scott telling Hohn: ‘I’ll kill you.’ 

Alphabet executives have also called for a need to sharpen ‘focus’ in recent months by lowering project costs and increasing efficiency by 20 percent. 

In addition, performance reviews have changed, travel budgets have decreased, and less swag items have been offered – as one employee pointed out in a meme that ‘Google [was] taking away Chobani yogurts.’ 

Employees are taking these cuts as bad omens of what’s to come.

Google is one of the few tech companies that have avoided mass layoffs in recent months, but it hasn’t stopped employees from questioning if they’re next. Several have taken to the internal meme site MemeGen to post their worries, including one that read: ‘Don’t fire us, please’ (pictured) 

Others showed a sweating man, indicating they were worried they had been fired when they couldn’t access their accounts during a recent company-wide outage 

Others posted memes making fun of the ‘financially stable’ tech industry being one of the first to dole out massive layoffs 

In September, CEO Sundar Pichai explained the company had to change after rapid growth and executives didn’t rule out layoffs as a potential solution. 

In a recent all-hands meeting, several employees asked for clarification about the future of the company.  

‘Can we get some more clarity on how we’re approaching headcount for 2023? Do we have any sense of how long we need to plan for difficult headwinds?’ one of the questions reportedly read. 

Another asked: ‘Should [we] expect any direct consequence to our teams, direction and/or compensation to reduced profits we saw in the earnings call?’ 

Earlier this week, employees were faced with even more anxiety after the company suffered an internal outage, leaving many unable to log into their Gmail accounts and other necessary work tools. 

After Elon Musk took over at Twitter, many employees learned they no longer had jobs by not being able to log on to their work laptops. 

Google employees, however, still had access to Memegen, and used the platform to express their discontent. One internal meme read: ‘Calendar login failure. Assume fired!’ 

Another read: ‘When you can’t access docs, so you try Memegen to see if you’ve been fired…I’m still worthy,’ which was attached to a photo of Chris Hemsworth playing Thor and holding his hammer. 

Another showed a visibly stressed man with his hands on his head, reading: ‘Can’t access chat, calendar, docs.’ On the other side is a woman smiling, titled: ‘Actual outage.’ 

Although the company has not announced any layoffs, in September, CEO Sundar Pichai explained the company had to change after rapid growth and executives didn’t rule out layoffs as a potential solution

Recently, UK billionaire and investor in the company, Christopher Hohn – who has a $6billion stake in Google – encouraged an ‘aggressive’ headcount chop. This prompted a meme toward his company TCI Fund Management Limited, where an employee joked: ‘I’ll kill you’ 

Like many open market companies, Google’s stock has plummeted with inflation 

Others pulled in fellow tech companies, such as Amazon and Facebook, who have begun to lay off employees, writing on top of a picture of a man profusely sweating: ‘Chat, docs, calendar down while [Facebook] and [Amazon] are laying [people] off. Googler.’

Another poked fun at Musk’s impersonal way of firing his employees, by sending them an email and locking them out of their accounts. 

The anonymous Google employee’s meme read: ‘How is Elon Musk quietly firing me?’ 

Another somber employee shared a meme of a crying cat, writing: ‘I hope I still have my job after I come [back] from my holiday vacations.’ 

One showed a scene from Netflix’s Squid Games, where ‘other sectors’ are asking the tech industry: ‘Why are you here? I thought you were financially stable.’ 

Company engineering leaders have started to crack down on employee usage of Memegen, with the VP of Corporate Engineering telling them last month they needed to remove links from their profile pages because it ‘prevents Googlers from sharpening their focus,’ according to CNBC. 

The outlet reported that employees rushed to the internal meme creator to make fun of the decision.  

 

Many employees posted memes about the outage, with one even wondering ‘how is Elon Musk quietly firing me?’ in reference to his coldhearted email firing method 

Tech giant Amazon announced last week that it would cut 10,000 – or roughly one percent of its workforce. 

The company allegedly offered buyouts to the employees to voluntarily walk away by offering three months’ severance pay plus one week of salary for every six months of tenure at the company, Vox reported. 

In a message to workers last week, Limp wrote: ‘After a deep set of reviews, we recently decided to consolidate some teams and programs.

‘One of the consequences of these decisions is that some roles will no longer be required. It pains me to have to deliver this news as we know we will lose talented Amazonians from the Devices & Services org as a result.’

It is not currently known how many employees have lost their jobs so far.

Others have said that swag and staff perks have been limited, such as ‘Google taking away Chobani yogurts’ 

Another worried if they’d still have their job at the end of the holiday season. Google has been quiet about potential layoffs, but similar companies like Meta and Amazon have already begun letting people go 

Meta announced it will cut 11,000 jobs – or 13 percent of its workforce – earlier this month. 

Mark Zuckerberg told executives in a meeting on November 8 that 11,000 jobs will be cut, with recruiting and business teams to face major losses. 

Employees received the confirmation about the cuts in a company-wide email which was sent at 6am EST the next day – with staff able to keep their email addresses for an extra day to say ‘farewell.’

The CEO admitted that he ‘got it wrong’ in the message and he ‘takes responsibility’ for the problems which caused him to make the cuts – which make up 13 percent of Meta’s workforce.

It is the first time in Meta’s 18-year history that they will be making major layoffs. 

Tech job cuts – including mass layoffs at Meta and Twitter – are accelerating

In recent weeks, a slew of tech companies have announced cost-cutting measures, with Amazon, Apple and Google-parent Alphabet all announcing hiring slowdowns or freezes.

For the tech sector, the pandemic boom has turned to a post-pandemic bust, as rising interest rates batter share prices and inflation cuts into profits.

The sector shed 9,587 jobs in October, the highest monthly total since November 2020, according to data from consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas cited by Bloomberg. 

Total job cuts announced by US-based employers jumped 13 percent to 33,843 in October, the highest since February 2021, a report said. 

Meta

The Facebook-parent said in November it would cut 13 percent of its workforce, or more than 11,000 employees, in one of the biggest tech layoffs this year as it grapples with a weak advertising market and mounting costs.

Meta said it would cut 13 percent of its workforce, or more than 11,000 employees, in one of the biggest tech layoffs this year

Like its peers, Meta aggressively hired during the pandemic to meet a surge in social media usage by stuck-at-home consumers. 

But but the pandemic boom-times have petered out as advertisers and consumers pull the plug on spending in the face of soaring costs and rapidly rising interest rates.

After plunging billions into CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse vision with little to show for it, Meta has been faced with rising costs and shrinking profits.

Meta, once worth more than $1 trillion, is now valued at $256 billion after losing more than 70 percent of its value this year alone. 

‘Not only has online commerce returned to prior trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused our revenue to be much lower than I’d expected,’ Zuckerberg said in a message to employees, according to Reuters.

‘I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.’

Zuckerberg delivered the grim news about job cuts on a call with hundreds of Meta executives

On a short call on Wednesday, a red-eyed Zuckerberg addressed employees but took no questions. 

He stuck to a script that closely followed the wording in the morning’s blogpost and called the increased investments in e-commerce a ‘big mistake in planning.’

Twitter

Twitter laid off half its workforce across teams ranging from communications and content curation to product and engineering following Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover.

The cutbacks affected roughly 3,700 employees, who learned their fate by email last week. 

However, Bloomberg on Sunday reported Twitter was reaching out to dozens of employees who lost their jobs, asking them to return.

Twitter laid off half its workforce across teams ranging from communications and content curation to product and engineering

Musk previously said there was no other choice but to impose mass layoffs as the company loses hundreds of millions of dollars every year and needs a financial overhaul

Salesforce

On Monday, cloud-based software company Salesforce quietly laid off hundreds of employees.

The exact number of jobs cut was unclear, but it was less than 1,000 according to CNBC.

‘Our sales performance process drives accountability. Unfortunately, that can lead to some leaving the business, and we support them through their transition,’ a Salesforce spokesperson told CNBC in a statement.

Salesforce had 73,541 employees as of the end of January. 

The company said in an August filing that headcount rose 36 percent in the past year ‘to meet the higher demand for services from our customers.’ 

Amazon

Amazon executives are said to be planning to layoff 10,000 people in corporate and technology jobs as early as this week in what would be the largest job cuts in the company’s history.

The cuts would focus primarily on Amazon’s devices, including voice-assistant Alexa, sources familiar with the discussions told the New York Times, as well as its retail division and human resources.

The move comes as the company reportedly lost $1trillion over the year after its stock plummeted from a high during the pandemic. 

If the company goes through with its proposal to cut 10,000 jobs, it would lose about 3 percent of Amazon’s corporate employees

The move comes after the company put a hiring freeze in place, affecting major teams including Prime Video, Alexa and Amazon Fresh.

‘We’re facing an unusual macroeconomic environment, and want to balance our hiring and investments with being thoughtful about this economy,’ Beth Galetti, senior vice president of people experience and technology at Amazon, wrote in a memo, which was seen by the Wall Street Journal.

Intel

Intel Corp’s CEO Pat Gelsinger told Reuters ‘people actions’ would be part of a cost-reduction plan. 

The chipmaker said recently it would reduce costs by $3 billion in 2023, then ramping that up to $10 billion by 2025.

The adjustments would start in the fourth quarter, Gelsinger said, but did not specify how many employees would be affected.

Some Intel divisions, including the sales and marketing group, could be cut by up to 20 percent, Bloomberg News reported last month, citing people with knowledge of the situation.

Chipmaker Intel is reportedly planning major layoffs, likely numbering in the thousands, in the face of a slowdown in the personal computer market

The company had 113,700 employees as of July, when it slashed its annual sales forecast by $11 billion after missing estimates for second-quarter results.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, California declined to comment on the job cuts when reached by DailyMail.com in October. 

Intel has been battered by shifting market trends, including the decline of traditional personal computers as smartphones and tablets rise in popularity.

Last quarter, global PC shipments, including desktops and laptops, declined another 15 percent from a year ago, according to IDC. 

Microsoft

Microsoft laid off under 1,000 employees across several divisions last month, according to Axios.

The layoffs represent less than half of 1 percent of the company’s 221,000 employees globally, ABC News reported. 

But the job cuts affect everything from Microsoft’s Xbox console gaming division to its cutting edge Microsoft Strategic Missions and Technology organization.

In a statement, Microsoft executives said: ‘Like all companies, we evaluate our business priorities on a regular basis, and make structural adjustments accordingly.

Microsoft laid off under 1,000 employees across several divisions last month, according to Axios

‘We will continue to invest in our business and hire in key growth areas in the year ahead.’

Microsoft executives previously announced in July that it was laying off less than 1 percent of its workforce and significantly slow hiring, as its revenue fell short of investor expectations.

The company recorded only $51.9 billion in revenue during the second quarter of the year, but was expected to rake in $52.4 billion.

It had previously recorded blockbuster growth during the COVID pandemic, when consumers and businesses turned to its products as they shifted to a work-from-home model.

Lyft

Ride-hailing firm Lyft said it would lay off 13 percent of its workforce, or about 683 employees, after it already cut 60 jobs earlier this year and froze hiring in September.

Lyft said in a regulatory filing it would likely incur $27 to $32 million in restructuring charges related to the layoffs. 

‘We are not immune to the realities of inflation and a slowing economy,’ Lyft’s founders wrote in the memo to staffers. 

Ride-hailing firm Lyft said it would lay off 13 percent of its workforce, or about 683 employees, after it already cut 60 jobs earlier this year

The company’s share price has fallen 76 percent since the beginning of the year and currently stands at around $10, compared to nearly $45 in January.

Announcing the job cuts in a memo seen by the Wall Street Journal, Lyft founders John Zimmer and Logan Green told staff: ‘There are several challenges playing out across the economy.

‘We’re facing a probable recession sometime in the next year and rideshare insurance costs are going up.

‘We worked hard to bring down costs this summer: we slowed, then froze hiring; cut spending; and paused less-critical initiatives.

‘Still, Lyft has to become leaner, which requires us to part with incredible team members.’

Lyft has about 4,000 employees, not including its drivers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told CBS Mornings on Monday he plans to freeze hiring

Apple 

Though Apple has not yet announced any major layoffs, CEO Tim Cook told CBS Mornings that it is slowing some hiring as well.

‘What we’re doing as a consequence of being in this period, is we’re being very deliberate in our hiring,’ he said. ‘That means we’re continuing to hire, but not everywhere in the company are we hiring.’

At the same time, though, Cook said ‘we don’t believe you can save your way to prosperity.”

‘We think you invest your way to it,’ he said.

 

 

 

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