Layoffs and Mistakes

Jeff Altman
4 min readJan 25, 2023

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

There is a lovely article in Inc. Magazine contrasting the layoffs at Twitter with the layoff announcements at Microsoft. Elon Musk, “The Barbarian,” took the innocents out back and metaphorically shot them. In contrast, Satya Nadella of Microsoft wrote of acting with other senior leaders in a “thoughtful and transparent way” about the layoffs that will be coming in the next few months.

As announced, 10000 people, approximately 5% of the corporate population, will be losing their jobs at Microsoft. In contrast, 3700 people, or 50% of the corporate population of Twitter lost their jobs.

I am curious about the interpretation of Nadella’s announcement of layoffs as being thoughtful and transparent. After all, leaving 200000 people waiting to be told between now and the summer whether Caesar will give them a thumbs down in the Coliseum doesn’t seem either thoughtful or transparent. It seems like a miserable form of torture designed to encourage people to leave before being laid off.

I can imagine a young couple discussing having a baby wondering whether the job one of them holds at Microsoft will be there in a few months. I know from experience how, as a parent wanting to adopt, the agency that screened my wife and me for an international adoption wanted to make sure we were financially and emotionally stable. How do you make plans with this hanging over your head?

Later we learned that Microsoft paid Sting to perform at a private performance for their executives (and guests?) at the World Economic Forum in Davos. I am sure Sting was booked quite some time in advance, yet how does this look to the firm and its corporate population?

In addition, I am not yet aware of senior leadership at Microsoft publicly acknowledging their mistakes that resulted in the firm experiencing this slump that will result in so many losing jobs. That would be a display of transparency and thoughtfulness that might expose them to being fired by the Board of Directors. We don’t believe in THAT type or amount of transparency and thoughtfulness.

Google began layoffs, as well. Stories emerged that employees who have been with the firm for as long as 20 years were released. Emails were sent to employees, some of whom didn’t see them…

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Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. Career Coach. Host of No BS Job Search Advice Radio & JobSearchTV.com. Join JobSearch.Community. It will help you