Some Google employees found they were laid off only when their badge didn't let them into the office: "Inhuman"

I’m sensing a great screenplay opportunity here. A group of Google engineers get fired while up on the roof and their access cards won’t let them back into the building to leave. Management doesn’t care and they have to find a way to survive. It’ll be a mashup of The Terminal (about Mehran Karimi Nasseri who lived at an airport after being exiled from his country) and The Martian!

Burn it all down is either the climax or good advice for the employees.


eyup. whenever i’ve been laid off it’s been exactly like this - not necessarily the laid-off-by-email part but the being treated like a criminal the minute you’re gone. at one workplace i had my own aeron chair and they wouldn’t let me back in the building to retrieve it. eventually a security guard accompanied me to my cube and hovered over me while i collected my crap and the chair.

i assume that on at least one occasion, someone went postal and so they feel it’s their duty to escort you off the premises as soon as possible, and not let you back in to the building. it’s probably the right thing to do safety-wise.


I’m not giving Scott Adams the advertising money by looking for this, but there’s a Dilbert cartoon from the early 00’s with this scenario as well.

Punchline is something to the effect of the guys badge and login don’t work and when he asks what else isn’t working today, the Pointy Haired Boss gets a knowing look on his face.


I have never seen a recently severed employee take malicious action as revenge for being laid off but I HAVE seen perfectly “trustworthy” employees intentionally screw up a project. The “bad actors” are usually ones that are currently employed.

(Go ask a retail loss prevention person who they distrust more: shoplifters or the employees manning the registers).

Funny how an employed person can be trusted with the keys to the kingdom but suddenly become suspect the second they are let go.


I’m also pretty sure they are this way because they represent the company first and the employee a distant last.


Why couldn’t they simply send an email to the laid-off employees after they’d gone home the previous day? Or even a text message in the morning before they went to work?


I’m quite certain vilifying literally all of this is the correct thing to do both for specific cases and for the larger issue that there are folks who view this kind of immoral treatment of workers as a standard practice.

Call the fuckers out every time.


I wonder how companies in other countries ever survive.


Once upon a time we were staff. Then we were personnel. Then we were employees. Then we were human resources. Now we are merely entries in the accountants’ assets & liabilities columns.


Surprised no ninja employees haven’t stolen the n and the t from that sign and rearranged the rest: do be vile.




I think you can strike out “assets” in most companies view.


Honestly? Because their emails, phones, laptops, are all tied directly to all their permissions at google, and are all run off internal servers so if there are outside issues with services those employees don’t lose communications while trying to resolve the issues.

The corollary to that is, the only way to remove all their accesses is literally to remove all their communication methods. Even their door badges are tied to this.


Google doesn’t keep employee personal emails, phone numbers, etc for their employees because all those can be compromised and spoofed. They issue phones and use those phones, they issue emails and use those emails, they issue laptops and use those laptops, and they issue authentication devices, and use those authentication devices. None of that can be personal there.

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Seems like if they have a way of notifying applicants when they get hired then they ought to have a way of notifying employees when they get fired.


Here’s the fun part. When you try to get hired at google, you basically are given an internal temporary google email that routes to your email. That’s what they use internally to send you mail, comms, authenticate, log into code interviews, etc. When you succeed, if you get hired, you get your address and they toss the old info. About the only thing they maintain that isn’t theres is your street address because they have to have that for tax purposes.

I’m not defending google here, but they likely DON’T have any personal contact information because they don’t use them or trust them. Which is more an indictment on them than a defense of them. What’s really sad is that I imagine some googlers who were laid off likely thought this was awesome opsec at one point in time and were likely bragging that they not only got a laptop from their company, but also a phone, earbuds, physical authenticator, and a few other toys.

All tied to their email and deactivated just as fast.


so no emergency contact information at all? sorry, this is impossible for me to believe.

like if you collapse at the office, they’re going to be like oh well: the ambulance will be called but good luck to the family?

i’ve worked for other big monster companies and ive never heard of anything like that


That’s a hell of a question… I know none of the forms I filled out , application or otherwise had that. I’m sure there’s some benefiicary forms or health insurance forms at some point and that might contain that info… but I also decided to not take the offer in the end so never got that far.

But now that I think about it, that IS weird. I imagine they’d pick up your phone and activate its In case of Emergency feature.

EDIT TO ADD: It’s possible also that they have some service internally that they can use to pull the “Emergency Contact Info” from your phone since it is an enterprise managed phone by them.


It’s important to remember that google tends to think of itself as super cool and nerdy and tech can solve everything. It’s why being in the right LDAP group means you get to ride certain elevators, etc. So yeah, their answer would probably be to go to some tech solution in this.

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Google has personal emails, which might not be up to date. They have emergency contact phone numbers for people, which probably are up to date, but it is a little hard to phone 16,000 people overnight.

They sent my notice to my personal email (at around 5am, maybe 6am), which I don’t check before work. I didn’t check it for about half an hour after trying to figure out why my laptop and desktop were unhappy (they had similar symptoms to when I came back from a long vacation and both hadn’t had security updates they decided they needed).

I can’t say I enjoyed the process, I could definitely imagine some significant improvements, but they did at least have some attempt at contacting people prior to the working day.

I would have preferred a text message, or better yet both a text and email. I mean really I would have preferred an actual phone call, but again I see that as hard to arrange for that many people all at once.


They have this thing now called email. Sure, some people might still have missed it, but you still end up with fewer people taking the time to commute to the office only to be humiliated.


You can also keep the letters and spell bend to evil, bet on devil, or do vent bile.