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…
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…
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:
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:
Points for courage for standing up to the world’s biggest and richest pointy-haired boss.
Points for integrity for standing up for the Android development team, and defending them in an even-tempered manner.
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.
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…
…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/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.
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.
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!
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:
If you can afford not to, don’t go back. You’re being asked to go back to Hell.
There’s only one thing I would’ve changed to her plan: I would have left out the street address from the contact info. An email address, phone number, and city and state are more than enough. These days, putting your street address on your resume is a bad idea.
Why did we put our street addresses on our resumes?
In the pre-internet era, you often got a response to your job application via postal mail, so it made sense to include your street address on your resume. It was a slower-paced era, when landing an interview could be a matter of weeks, rather than days or hours.
In this era of ubiquitous, instant internet communications, networked pocket computers always arm’s length away, and instantaneous access to databases packed with real estate and demographic information, it’s not just an anachronistic practice, but a potentially harmful one.
The Google factor
Consider this advice from a recruiter in one of my secondary LinkedIn circles:
At least this recruiter’s honest enough to write about their morbid curiosity on LinkedIn. With a couple of clicks on Google Maps, a recruiter, or more critically, a hiring manager can get a sense of your socioeconomic status, especially in hyper-segregated metros. You could be ruled out based on race or class and wouldn’t even know it.
Others may rule you out based on the distance between your home and the office, or more importantly, the time it would take for you to get there. This shouldn’t be their call to make, so why give them the tools to do so?
Even more troublesome: the Zillow factor
In a comment made in response to the recruiter above, another recruiter posted this reply…
…which leads me to something I overheard while waiting to board a flight in late August:
It was a conversation between a couple of recruiters who were talking about a hiring manager that they both knew. It went something like this, but with the hiring manager’s name changed:
Recruiter 1: So wait, what did Todd do?
Recruiter 2: It was a total dick move, but in a way, I gotta respect it. The candidate put his address on his CV. Big mistake.
Recruiter 1: Kind of old-fashioned, but not a killer. What’s the deal here?
Recruiter 2: Well, Todd — being Todd — enters the address into Zillow and finds out that the guy bought the place at the height of the market. He looked at the price history, and it was obvious the guy overpaid big time. Leveraged to the max.
Recruiter 1: You weren’t kidding about “dick move,” were you?
Recruiter 2: Todd doesn’t stop there. He looks at where the guy’s working now, and figures that he needs this job to cover his new expensive house, and uses that fact to play hardball during salary negotiation. The guy’s still making more than he did at his old job, but Todd knew he was in a tough spot, and talked him down 10K.
Recruiter 1: That there is some James Bond villain-style negotiating.
Recruiter 2: I know, right?
Even your zip code is too much info
Some folks, such as this person on Instagram, are providing good advice by telling people not to put their street addresses on their resumes, but they’re still saying that the zip code is okay. This is still a potential landmine, thanks to the Esri ZIP Code Lookup Tapestry.
If you’re based in the U.S., you can try it out. Visit the page, tap the Explore Your ZIP Code button, and enter your ZIP code. You’ll get a marketer-focused set of stats for your neighborhood that looks like this:
The ZIP Code Lookup Tapestry lists all sorts of things, including:
The three largest marketing demographic categories in your neighborhood
Average annual spending habits in your area: credit debt, apparel, medical insurance, and entertainment
The levels of disposable income in your ’hood
This is just more data on which you could be judged. Leave your zip code off your resume!