From Google to Facebook, from Amazon to Microsoft, they are accustomed to high salaries, stock options, generous bonuses, and a litany of free services, from massages to physiotherapy to laundry and free meals prepared by famous chefs.
NEW YORK – Getting fired is a tough time for everyone. Dramatic for those who do not have other job opportunities. In America, which has more fires than Europe but also offers more job alternatives, the pain of the difficult moment is generally lessened.
in Silicon Valley In recent months of layoffs in the technology giants From Google to Facebook, from Amazon to Microsoft – tens of thousands of engineers, technicians and computer scientists in their 20s and 30s have been left in shock: The “young best” of the digital age never considered losing their jobs. The sudden discovery of one’s own weakness leads directly to a psychologist. And also because companies like Google have long pampered their employees—high salaries, stock options, generous bonuses, and a host of free services, from massages to physiotherapy to laundry and free meals made by celebrity chefs— Now they shoot with an email.
From an economic point of view, there is nothing unusual about what is happening in corporate America. Despite the winds of recession, there are very few layoffs in traditional sectors and unemployment remains at an all-time low: just 3.5%.. The pressure is all on the tech sector, which grew tremendously in the pandemic years – when we all cut back on physical contacts, used remote connections more than digital ones to buy, work, socialize or entertain – now that the boom must come to an end. Dealing with an economic backlash and discovering an increase in the number of employees.
From a digital standpoint, layoffs — with the exception of the tsunami of Elon Musk halving the workforce on Twitter — have no historical proportions. The 12,000 eliminated by Google represent 6 percent of the workforce at a company that has gone from 5 to 187,000 employees in less than twenty years.. Other big tech companies have so far announced similar or slightly higher cuts, of around 10 percent. A painful season for sure, however A crisis infinitely less serious than the bursting of the tech bubble that cost a million Americans their jobs in 2000
the. However, the shock is very heavy and cultural even before the loss of income. And The feeling of the end of the world even for those who stayed in the company.
The psychological effect is devastating because Among the 50-year-olds who have experienced the crisis of 22 years, there are only a few: in Silicon Valley, there are above all young people who entered the labor market after that crisis. They have witnessed twenty years of continuous growth in companies that seemed exempt from respecting the laws of gravity of the economy.
They felt invulnerable: they never thought of being fired, used to seeing the company as a friendly, familiar place, spoiled by those who, like Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, rejected the grim logic of Wall Street. The two, as Stephen Levy, the famous narrator of the Valley events recounts in his newsletter, in taking the company on the stock exchange, thought to protect it from the greed of other shareholders by giving it a financial structure that still left them in control. on the company. And The founders – in contrast to Wall Street – convinced that the company is doing well only if it is run as a family and the employees are happy – have funneled part of the profits in favor of the employees (There was also a company bus for commuting for those who live in San Francisco, away from the Mountain View headquarters, and a bonus for those who purchased a low-impact hybrid.) Then another part of the profits was spent on ambitious (and sometimes creative) research, even in areas far from the areas of corporate business.
Continuous growth and very high profits kept the stock exchange calm. It seemed the best of all possible worlds even if employees were no longer satisfied with the excellent treatment they received: The newly appointed twenty-year-old engineers, after six months, asked for promotions and positions of responsibility, threatening to leave.. With tech companies growing exponentially and the impossibility of continuing to hire overseas graduates first because of Trump’s restrictions, and then due to border closures in the wake of the pandemic, they’ve had the knife on the side of the handle.
Now it’s all over: tech companies are once again vulnerable to gravity. Profits have plummeted, the fancy investments from Google’s X labs have vanished, and a wave of layoffs is suddenly making it difficult to reabsorb this tech workforce. But things change for those who stay: no more spoiled staff (Google also fired 27 physiotherapists) and no more security. Everyone now feels on edge after seeing comments from twenty years of Google go from praise to dismissal over email. At the private address because the company has already been deactivated for fear of cyber retaliation: Outside the company without even being able to greet colleagues.
Even if slowed down Google, like Microsoft, Amazon, and others, continues to earn an average of $14 billion a quarter. He has 116 billion cash in the bank. But now he thinks with the logic of Wall Street, made more difficult by the brutal use of technology. One wonders if, once the “Book of the Heart” model of personnel management has been definitively archived, there will be no direct transition to the “Japanese” model. Elon Musk proving that he can somehow run Twitter with a small portion of the staff which he had until a few months ago. Just ask those who stayed for “extraordinary sacrifices” and get ready to sleep at the office in a sleeping bag.
Jan 30, 2023 (changed on Jan 30, 2023 | 18:23)
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