Think about it. With an unearned position as a hero to many on Earth, taking credit for the hard work of other people or fortuitous circumstances, a lack of concern for those working under him, and the id of a fourteen-year-old boy, it’s clear that the comic book character that best exemplifies Elon Musk isn’t Tony Stark, but Zapp Brannigan.
A lot of tech workers — and according to some estimates, 25% of Twitter’s workforce — are people from other countries working on an H-1B visa. This temporary non-immigrant visa lets employers hire non-U.S.-citizen/non-U.S.-resident-alien professionals to work in “specialty occupations” that require at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent.
(My parents, both doctors, worked in the U.S. and thus had H-1B visas. I was already around when this took place, hence my “American” accent.)
The choice that Twitter employees had to make yesterday — quit or work at “Twitter 2.0” under a “hardcore”, random, capricious, ill-thought-out, workaholic leadership — wasn’t much of a choice for the ones on an H-1B visa. H-1Bs are tied to a specific employer, and quitting that employer means that you have 60 days to find a new employer to sponsor a new H-1B tied to the new employer, change your status, or leave the U.S..
For examples, see:
- My clock to leave USA has started: Indian man on H1B visa after Meta fired him
- Amazon fires 10,000 employees: Indian software engineers, H1B visa holders impacted badly
- Twitter job cuts become double whammy for H1B visa holders. What’s next for them
Under normal circumstances, that’s tricky. Under the current circumstances, with layoffs all over the tech sector, high inflation, and the threat of a recession, it’s much, much worse. The only choice for many H-1B holders at Twitter might be to stay and hope that life under new management — a.k.a. “Space Karen” — isn’t as hellish as many people predict. The problem is that so far, it’s been a total clown show.
Also not helping: racist nationalist toolbags like this guy:
If you know any H-1B holders working at Twitter or under Twitter-like circumstances, support them as best you can.
With the various layoffs in the San Francisco Bay Area (I have to specify, since I live in “The Other Bay Area”), it’s going to be difficult to book a doctor, dentist, or eye appointment for any time earlier than weeks into the new year — people are trying to see their doctors and dentists while their insurance is still in effect. Still, book your appointments now, unless you want to wait even longer.
If you use Twitter to log into non-Twitter software, sites, or systems, do this as soon as possible: Sign into that software, site, or systems and set up an alternate way to log in — whether via another service, such as Google, Facebook, or your Apple ID, or via good old-fashioned username and password.
As one techie at Twitter put it, “Entire teams representing critical infrastructure are voluntarily departing the company.” If accurate, it means that it would be a very bad idea to rely on Twitter as your only means of logging in.
Check your accounts!
Here’s the tweet:
Elon, there’s a bunch of us in SV who will come up tonight to help on the infra side to keep the site up.
If you need help just ask. — Michael Guimarin (@MichaelGuimarin) November 18, 2022
I’m sure he imagines himself as a hero gathering a rag-tag team to save a village being attacked by monsters and not, as one astute tweeter put it:
Me and the boys carpooling at 8pm on a thursday to help a multibillionaire who can’t pay his employees— Young Goodpostingman Brown (@yomi_olympic) November 18, 2022
The inspirational speech that Kino Loy (played by Andy Serkis) at the end of episode 10 of Star Wars: Andor was meant to inspire the prisoners to break out of the Narkina 5 prison labor camp. However, with only a few changes, it could easily be an inspirational message that someone could send on the Twitter company Slack to the remaining employees.
With the news that Twitter has slashed its contractor workforce by about 80% to 1,000 people, there are now about 5,000 people working at Twitter, which is the same as the number prisoners on Narkina 5. This additional coincidence should make the speech even more applicable.
🚨 Spoiler warning for those of you who haven’t yet seen episode 10 of Star Wars: Andor!
“My name is Kino Loy. I’m the day shift manager on Level Five. I’m speaking to you from the command center on Level Eight. We are, at this moment, in control of the facility.”
“How long we hang on, how far we get, how many of us make it out, all of that is now up to us. We have deactivated every floor in the facility. All floors are cold.”
“Wherever you are right now, get up, stop the work. Get out of your cells, take charge, and start climbing. They don’t have enough guards and they know it. If we wait until they figure that out, it’ll be too late. We will never have a better chance than this and I would rather die trying to take them down than giving them what they want.”
“We know they fried a hundred men on Level Two. We know that they are making up our sentences as we go along. We know that no one outside here knows what’s happening. And now we know, that when they say we are being released, we are being transferred to some other prison to go and die…and that ends today! There is one way out. Right now, the building is ours. You need to run, climb, kill!”
“You need to help each other. You see someone who’s confused, someone who is lost, you get them moving and you keep them moving until we put this place behind us. There are 5,000 of us. If we can fight half as hard as we’ve been working, we will be home in no time. One way out! One way out! One way out!”