November 10, 2022
Illustration: DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images; Protocol
Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. This just in: More Twitter execs are reportedly leaving the company, including head of trust and safety Yoel Roth and human resources leader Kathleen Pacini. The post-Elon Musk Twitter story is developing, but you can follow along here. Plus, is this the end of an era for cushy tech jobs? Also in the newsletter: Salesforce just made it easier to fire employees for their performance with less involvement from HR; Musk just banned remote work at Twitter, effective today; and Meta’s layoffs in Reality Labs — the AR and VR unit — may signal that Mark Zuckerberg is caving on his conviction to keep investing in what he sees as the “holy grail” of social networks: the metaverse.
— Allison Levitsky, reporter (email | twitter)
Silicon Valley is reeling. In just over a week, over 17,000 workers have been laid off from Twitter, Meta, Salesforce, Coinbase, Stripe, Lyft — the list goes on.
Is this the end of the cushy tech job? Maybe. The tight labor market put more power in the hands of workers, which — at least in Big Tech — has led to a shift away from hustle culture and toward work-life balance, self-care, and, some would argue, “quiet quitting.”
If a return to hustle culture is bubbling up from this week’s bloodbath of layoffs, Esther Crawford may be that movement’s poster child. A photo of Crawford — a director of product management at Twitter — sleeping on the floor of the office went viral on Twitter last week as Musk prepared to lay off half the company. Her report, product manager Evan Jones, captioned it “when you need something from your boss at Elon Twitter.”
This attitude is likely more common among entrepreneurs than rank-and-file workers, but not all founders think this way. Friedman’s co-founder from Xamarin, the developer tool maker they sold to Microsoft in 2016, disagreed with that assessment.
Big Tech culture may get more intense as workers feel less secure in their jobs, but this won’t last long, according to Church and Flo Crivello, an entrepreneur who spent 4.5 years at Uber before founding the remote office startup Teamflow.
Salesforce just updated its policies to allow easier terminations without involving HR, Protocol writer-at-large Joe Williams reported Thursday. The company’s employee relations team used to be “heavily involved” in PIPs and firing employees for not hitting metrics, including before formal talks with the workers themselves.
Now, HR will be less involved, and managers were recently asked to sign a document agreeing to treat employees fairly under the new system, Williams learned from sources.
Automation also ensures consistency and standardization. The more automated the process is, the more you ensure that it’s going to be consistent every single time, whereas with a manual process, three different people may do it three different ways.
Typically, companies that decide to mandate in-office work announce these decisions months in advance to give employees time to adjust their routines — or maybe look for a more flexible job. But does Elon Musk do anything typical?
On Wednesday, Musk sent his first signed email to Twitter employees since taking over the company and laying off half its workforce with an email signed “Twitter.” In the email, Musk told employees they were expected back at the office starting Thursday, with exceptions for those who were “physically unable” to get to the office or had a “critical personal obligation.”
But going forward, Musk himself will review long-term remote work requests. Welcome back to the office, and maybe the job search, Tweeps.Read the full story.
Twitter’s chief privacy, information security, and compliance officers have all resigned. This is a particularly bad sign for Twitter because the company is subject to a Federal Trade Commission consent decree, most recently updated in May over past privacy and security practices.
The agency expressed its concern with the latest developments, including in comments to The Washington Post. Protocol cybersecurity reporter Kyle Alspach has more on who left and why, who will take over for them, and what this means for Twitter.Read the full story.
More than 11,000 layoffs hit employees both in Meta’s “family of apps” division — Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp — and Reality Labs, which works on AR and VR. Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to make cuts in Reality Labs is a “telling sign of just how difficult the road ahead might be” for Zuckerberg as he strives for the “holy grail” of social networks, Protocol reporter Nick Statt writes.
Reality Labs is Meta’s most expensive big bet, and investors have urged Zuckerberg to stop pouring so much money into it. As Zuck told employees in his layoff memo this week, his decision to “significantly increase our investments” during the pandemic “did not play out the way I expected.”
Here’s where we keep up with which tech companies are growing, shrinking, floating, or sinking.
⬇️ Amazon is reviewing its devices unit, which works on Alexa, and other unprofitable divisions to potentially make cuts, The Wall Street Journal reported.
⬇️ FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried apologized Thursday for his company’s collapse, which resulted in his own more than $15 billion net worth tumbling to around $1 billion, CNN reported.
⬇️ Coinbase is making cuts to its recruiting and institutional onboarding teams, The Information reported.
For more news on hiring, firing, and rewiring, see our tech company tracker.
Amid current economic uncertainty, every business is moving to a stage where we need to do more with less through improved efficiency and automations. When you move to a life cycle management solution, your organization gains the predictability that it needs all the time, and especially right now.
A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.
For sale: Your vacation time. (WIRED)
Tech layoffs could get worse before getting better. (TechCrunch)
An argument for a safe, “boring” job. (Forbes)
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