Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Twitter CEO's layoff e-mail, edited

I enjoyed this Quartz correction of the Twitter CEO's layoff e-mail. Here's a small excerpt (Quartz struck what they considered unnecessary text and the bolded text was their change): 
...The roadmap is also a plan to change how we work, and what we need to do that work. Product and Engineering are going to make the most significant structural changes to reflect our plan ahead bear the brunt. We feel strongly that Engineering will move much faster with a smaller and nimbler team We’ve got way too many engineers while remaining the biggest percentage of our workforce. And the rest of the organization will be streamlined in parallel and once we’ve cut that group we’ll have too many of everybody else. 
So we have made an extremely tough decision: we plan to part ways with fire up to 336 people from across the company. We are doing this with the utmost respect for each and every person. But it’s not their fault; we hired them when we shouldn’t have. Twitter will go to great lengths to take care of each individual by providing generous exit packages give them decent severance and help finding a new job...
It's the addition of "it's not their fault; we hired them when we shouldn't have" that would make it way too good to be true. 


  1. At the risk of being contrarian, is it fair to say that they were hired when they shouldn't have been? Maybe they should have been brought on as contractors or otherwise term-limited, but presumably there was work that needed to be done that these people were hired to do. The letter is still pretty smarmy, but channeling Job ruing the day he was hired seems extreme.

  2. I am going to be contrarian to the contrarian point of view. I read from the second sentence that it is just work that is volatile and the contractors/temps are the right workforce applications.

    The volatility of "work" is not its inherent property. People decide that work needs to be volatile. It is a conscious choice to make work volatile, just like it is a choice of what constitutes work. Without us work (in the social meaning) doesn't exist. The responsibility for these decisions is personal. The necessity for the laid off workers to contract their lives is not inherent to the surrounding Universe. People who made the decision to define "work" can avoid taking responsibility and make the fallout the responsibility of their reports.

    All this means I am also contrarian to both the message from Twitter and the Quartz mod. Layoff is about the people laid off and the message to them is: "It is all your fault".