Humiliation and uncertainty grip Twitter India staff as 90% let go

While there are no official numbers yet, it is reported that Twitter is estimated to have fired more than 160 people out of a team of around 250 people in India.

PTIUpdated: Tuesday, November 08, 2022, 10:14 AM IST
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Humiliation and uncertainty grip Twitter India staff as 90% let go/ Representative Image | Unsplash - Souvik Banerjee

Humiliation and uncertainty are the words to describe the situation, says one of the many Twitter India staff who was handed a pink slip on Friday.

That the laying off was perhaps on expected lines or that the microblogging platform itself erupted in support from 'Tweeple' or emphatic outsiders did not make things less painful, says another ex-employee.

For scores of Twitter India staff, the grim reality of large scale firings -- that also coincides with the dreaded layoff winter -- is just about 'sinking in', days after popular platform was taken over by the world's richest man Elon Musk.

Last month, Musk famously walked into the Twitter headquarters holding a ceramic sink and posted a video on the social media with the caption 'Entering Twitter HQ--let that sink in!'.

A communication received by many employees on Friday said the affected staff will "remain employed by Twitter and will receive compensation and benefits through your separation date of January 4, 2023".

"Within a week, you will receive details of your severance offer, financial resources extending beyond your non-working notice period. At that time you will also receive a separation agreement and release of claims and other offboarding information, such as how to return your Twitter materials (computer, badge, etc.)," the communication said.

While there are no official numbers yet, Twitter is estimated to have fired more than 160 people out of a team of around 250 people in India, as per slack data observed by a couple of employees.

However, some claimed that they have not received any communication from Twitter about their employment status just yet.

"Some employees have received no communication as was mentioned in the last email... that people who have been retained will be informed about their role," a Twitter employee said.

Despite the parting being "harsh" and "humiliating", most of those fired vouch for the otherwise excellent work environment at Twitter. Being part of old Twitter's value-rich culture is something they said would be missed dearly. Besides their dream jobs and roles, of course.

"Twitter gave the choice to employees to work from anywhere. Employees have been free to communicate and contribute whatever they feel should be done for the company and no one felt offended by this. It is difficult to get the work culture that exists at Twitter. We don't know what the future holds," another employee said.

Twitter has people employed in India, working for different time zones. There were teams who had to work as per the UK, Singapore and Australia time zones.

An employee who has been laid off now said that he had recently joined the company and the sudden termination was a career setback and "very humiliating".

"I was enjoying my work. Employees themselves wanted to contribute with a lot of passion in the growth of Twitter but the way Twitter has laid off people has been very humiliating. There is a general fear among employees that there will be repercussions if they speak their mind and face issues in finding a new job," the ex-employee said.

Another person privy to the events unfolding at Twitter said that WhatsApp groups are active, and ex-employees are reaching out to one another to help out with possible leads and external job postings.

The 2-3 months buffer would give some of them time to look out, although the global economic slowdown and the spate of layoffs seen in the tech sector as such, do make search for jobs more complicated.

Every team on Indian shore has faced the brunt of Twitter's global layoffs, in some cases entire teams vanished overnight, said another ex-staffer. However, he added that the engineering teams were relatively spared.

There is a "baseline level of confidence" among several former workers that they will land up good stints, given their experience and skills, said a person who was associated with Twitter.

The bigger concern, he said, is where the platform was headed.

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