The following is a short story I wrote about the layoffs happening in the BigTech world.
Given that this year has seen tons of layoffs, and we’re only in January, I feel like this story fits perfectly well.
This is the first time for me writing fiction on this blog.
I was in the middle of a code deployment when I left my laptop running, doing the thing, to get myself a cup of joe.
As I make my way back to my coffee-stained, slightly elevated but not too much standing desk, I casually notice that my Slack app is no longer showing the 99+ notifications badge.
I click on the icon to bring up the app and I notice that it’s trying to reconnect, in a sad forever-trying to reconnect state.
I wonder if my internet went down while I was pouring myself a cup, so I do a quick speedtest by pinging an arbitrary public-facing IP Address (18.104.22.168) that I have now memorized to realize that my internet is in fact perfectly functional.
If that wasn’t enough to make me go double “uhm..”, the fact that the deployment was still happening confirmed that it wasn’t a problem on my end. Slack network being unreachable was something else.
I open my Google Workspace inbox to see if there’s a Slack outage notification, and that’s when I realize.. I have strangely been logged out. I try to log back in but it says to contact an administrator….
All the atoms in my brain are now aligned, and a couple of questions jump at me:
Have I just been let go after 8 years at Google?
Should I wait for this deployment to go through?
I answer both YES and YES. I haven’t worked 6 hours every day for the past week to not see this through. The deployment must. go. on.
As the deployment completes, I text my Team lead (since I can’t reach out to her via Slack anymore) that the deployment was successful and she answers with a thumbs up and a flex emoji.
She doesn’t EVEN question why I texted her, instead of using Slack.
As I look around me desperately for familiar faces to soothe my anxiety, I realize I am home alone.
That’s when I ask my Google HOME device, what should I do with the rest of my day as a former Google Engineer who just got their work done and shipped to prod…
Shockingly, Google assistant’s voice isn’t what I am used to, instead it’s the voice of Sundar Pichai saying that I have demonstrated courage and discipline during a difficult time to set the company up for the future.
NO WAY, I shout as I am sitting on my ergonomic chair alone in my home office- “How… did that audio clip just….play?”
Instantly as I say that - I detect a weird noise outside, like a hypersonic jet flying over my head - I turn my head to the window to notice driverless Waymo car doing what I would best of my abilities describe as: “a break check” - in front of my home, here in Phoenix, AZ.
“What t…” I roar - as I am astonished those little things could even do that.
The Waymo’s passenger side door pops open and my Team Lead walks out of it, she’s holding something in her hands - and she’s making her way through my front lawn.
I rapidly walk downstairs to greet her, I am really surprised she just happened to be here. I thought she worked remotely from Seattle?
I want to know more of…what’s going on.
I barely open the front door and she has already dropped whatever she was holding on my doorstep. It is an upcycled Amazon Prime poly bag with my firstname and employee number written on it, with a sharpie.
I call her name out twice but she doesn’t seem to react - I don’t have my shoes on so I am debating whether to chase her and confront her…or open the bag that is laid on the surface of the floor, in front of me.
I am a curious personality, according to my last quiz results I took on Morning Brew, so I mentally decide to open the bag first as I shout her name one more time - to no avail.
Back in my home, I tear the poly bag with my powerful fingertips (all that writing code over the years…) Inside the bag there’s an A4-folded in half letter from Google with some corporate gibberish and an envelope with cash, that seems to be…my severance package?
32 weeks of pay. Not too bad.
I put the bag aside on the counter and walk back upstairs, holding onto that fat stack of cash for dear life. I am sure as hell I am going to be investing it on finally getting me that Rivian e-truck.
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Yet - I can’t believe what just happened in the last 15 minutes.
Well I guess I will be applying at Amazon this afternoon. I LOVE how versatile their poly plastic bags are.