Career Humor

Career protip: Choose a neutral desktop background when presenting from your own laptop

Learn from this presenter’s mistake.

Career Current Events

Looking for tech work? Check out these two info-packed spreadsheets!

Programmer sitting on sidewalk with laptop holding up sign made from a cardboard box that says “Please help! Will code 4 food! Even VB! God bless!”
Creative Commons photo by “bugbbq”. Tap to see the original.

Hey techies! Want to know who’s hiring or what positions are open right now? Here are a couple of Google spreadsheets that you might find helpful in your search:

Help your fellow techies out there and share these spreadsheets far and wide!

Career Current Events Humor

Twitter employees: Today’s the day!

Tap to view at full size.

Choose wisely.

Career Current Events

The options for Twitter employees, “Star Wars” style!

It’s official: Elon Musk sent out an email to the remaining staff at Twitter, offering them this choice…

  1. Stay and be “hardcore,” committing to long hours at high intensity, where “only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade,” or
  2. Leave and take three months’ salary.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog and a fan of Star Wars: Andor, you already know which choice I recommend.

Career Current Events

Intentional or not, getting fired by publicly contradicting Elon was a brilliant move

The whole mess started with this Tweet:

Elon Musk tweet from November 13, 2022: “Btw, I’d like to apologize for Twitter being super slow in many countries. App is doing >1000 poorly batched RPCs just to render a home timeline!”

This should have been something like “We’re working on Android performance issues, and you should see improvements in the coming weeks/months,” but that’s not Elon’s style. This was a combination of management by shame and a little red meat for his fanboys.

I myself have delivered working software that was later know-nothingly criticized by a pointy-haired boss, so I understand former Twitter developer Eric Frohnhoefer’s response…

…which led to this Twitter exchange, where Eric defends the team and points out the work they’ve done to improve the Android client. It’s an even-tempered response…

Eric Frohnhoefer @ 🏡 on Twitter: "@TeQ @dankim Android has a wider range  of devices with different performance characteristics. It is what makes  Android great but also frustrating." / Twitter

One of Elon’s fanboys — or at least a fanboy-adjacent person — decided to re-ask a question that Elon asked earlier and which wasn’t answered in Eric’s series of tweets, and again, Eric responded matter-of-factly:

Adn that’s when we got our fanboy moment:

On the urging of users, without any apparent managerial or HR review, Eric Frohnhoefer was fired.

We’ve gone from this…

Elon Musk dismisses valid criticism of Tesla as 'weird' attacks from the  media | Electrek

…to this:

You’ve probably already guessed that @Langdon’s Twitter account now looks like this:

Reporter Cyrus Farivar (an online friend) talked to Eric, and the firing had all the characteristics of current Twitter:

In fact, Eric’s confirmation of his dismissal came in the form of being locked out of his company laptop:

Now about that brilliant move I mentioned in this post’s title…

Under normal circumstances, contradicting the boss in a public forum is a bad idea. But these are not normal circumstances.

This is a boss who’s happy to grind his employees with overwork (I have friends who’ve worked at his companies), treat them like 19th century factory workers, and fire people for working from home during the 2020 pandemic. He’s taken over Twitter without a real plan, slashed the workforce with more thought about cost-cutting than actually running the place, and is telling people close to the code that he knows more than them.

We’ve seen this kind of unearned intellectual overconfidence before:

This is not a workplace you want to be in. It is toxic. And it’s not worth the effort. As a Twitter employee, you really have just two options:

  1. Quit.
  2. Be fired.

Under normal circumstances, option 1 is the preferable one. But these are not normal circumstances.

Getting fired by Elon under these circumstances, given what is publicly known (and who know what we don’t know yet, but the smart money says it’s much worse) is a badge of honor. You get:

  1. Points for courage for standing up to the world’s biggest and richest pointy-haired boss.
  2. Points for integrity for standing up for the Android development team, and defending them in an even-tempered manner.
  3. Sympathy points for taking on a no-win David vs. Goliath battle.

Someone from the Reddit team has already reached out to Eric about a senior Android development position, and I’m certain that it’s just one of many communications about an open position that he’s received.

Godspeed and good luck in your job search, Eric.

In the meantime…


Three tips for Amazon employees who’ve been laid off

Pile of various Amazon ID badges.

The New York Times published a story today announcing that Amazon will lay off thousands of employees this week — possibly as many as 10,000. This is similar to the number of people that Facebook laid off.

If you’re one of these people, you have my sympathy. I’ve gone through four layoffs myself, and I have some tips to share below.

Remember that you have Amazon on your resume.

As a FAANG/MANGA company, Amazon has serious “street cred” among recruiters and hiring managers. Emphasize the “Amazon” item on your resume, mention it in your LinkedIn headline…

Screenshot of Joey deVilla’s LinkedIn page, with the headline highlighted.
Your LinkedIn headline is your personal description of yourself
that appears just below your name.

…and play up your Amazon experience in interviews.

Borrow a trick from the former Facebookers / Metamates who got laid off and make a “badge post.”

Facebook badge and departing intern checklist paper form.

Facebook/Meta has the outgoing employee tradition of the “badge post” where you write a farewell post on their internal portal. When the big layoff happened last week, many laid-off Facebookers/Metamates posted similar posts onto LinkedIn, complete with a photo of their badge (the photo side has just the person’s photo and name, which are already on their LinkedIn profile).

These generated a lot of sympathy, re-connected a lot of people who’d lost touch, and from the comments to these posts, also got a lot of attention from recruiters, hiring managers, and other people who either were trying to fill positions or knew of open ones.

Once the initial shock of getting laid off has worn off, write and post an “Amazon badge post” — along with a photo of your badge — on LinkedIn as soon as possible. Don’t forget to add the “Open to Work” indicator to your profile photo!

Do this sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the more “badge posts” will be out there, and you don’t want to get lost among the multitude.

Join an Amazon alumni group.

Screenshot of the Day One Syndicate site.

Every company, once it gets big enough, has at least one alumni group founded by former employees for networking and finding new jobs. Amazon is no exception, and you should look into the following:

Career Current Events

Advice to laid-off Twitter employees being asked to come back

Green Hornet and Kato running away from an explosion

If you were laid off from Twitter last week and receive an email this week asking you to come back, here’s my advice: Unless you need immediate income or medical insurance*, DON’T.

For my readers outside the United States: Remember that Universal Healthcare — a given in high-income countries except in the U.S., where it’s seen as suspiciously socialist — healthcare insurance is provided by your employer.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s a clear signal to management that you need them more than they need you. Given that there’s been an unusual amount of silence from management and the reports from insiders that some Twitter employees have been “throwing coworkers under the bus” to preserve their jobs (listen the latest episode of the Hard Fork podcast for details), returning communicates to management that your situation is so dire that you’d be willing to take a hellish certainty over an uncertain freedom.
  2. Your return could be short-lived. The new ownership started only a couple of weeks ago. The layoffs started only a couple of days ago. The calls to return started only a couple of hours ago. This is the surest sign of a team without a plan that’s changing direction and priorities on a moment-by-moment basis, following the whims of a mercurial, capricious, pathologically impulsive owner. You could very be easily get laid off again — maybe even before you get re-onboarded!
  3. You might not return to the same role. This is a company with a mandate to become profitable — and quickly! — in a down economy. They also eliminated whole groups who didn’t necessarily provide immediate returns, but were incredibly important, such as the Accessibility team. If you return, you’ll be put to work on a project whose sole purpose is to generate short-term financial returns.
  4. You will face long hours in an attempt to meet unrealistic deadlines with draconian consequences. There are reports on the anonymous professional social networking app Blind that remaining Twitter employees have assignments along the lines of “implement feature X by [a ridiculously close date] or you’re fired,” which is why you’ve got photos of people sleeping at Twitter offices like this:
Twitter employee sleeps on floor

If you can afford not to, don’t go back. You’re being asked to go back to Hell.