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.

Career The Street Finds Its Own Uses For Things

Why you shouldn’t put your street address on your resume

Karly Blackburn’s cake resume, complete with street address (which I blurred out).

If you’re not familiar with the story of Karly Blackburn’s cake resume, check it out — it tells of her clever idea to make use of Albertsons’ cakes with printed icing and Instacart’s delivery services to land a job interview at Nike by sending them an attention-getting CV. She tells the story in her own words on LinkedIn.

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 Don Draper era, it made sense. These days, it’s a bad idea.

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:

This recruiter was probably a little too honest.

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…

Read on to hear a similar story.

…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!

For more about this service, see this article: This Is What Marketers Think of You and Your Neighbors.