We were asked by a few friends at Twitter to publish this collection of tips that workers have been sharing across the company as they face the threat of mass layoffs. Reach out to collectiveactionintech [at] protonmail.com if you’re a Twitter worker who is looking for support from your fellow Tweeps or you have tips to share. We’ll connect you safely.
– Collective Action in Tech
Last updated 11/3/2022
Hello fellow Tweeps,
The next few weeks will continue to be difficult. We will see many of our colleagues laid off and some may be maliciously “terminated for cause.” Across Twitter, our coworkers are sharing what we’ve learned about layoffs and how we can get through this as safely as possible. We’ve collected the best advice from alums offering mutual aid and our many thoughtful colleagues who continue to face the stark reality that we might not have jobs tomorrow.
What To Expect
- Don’t rely on fair or reasonable treatment from the company. Hope for the best but plan for the worst.
- You will likely lose access to all company systems before being notified that you are terminated.
- Assume everything you do on work accounts and work devices is traceable and monitored.
- Your manager is obligated and incentivized to follow instructions from leadership. Do not assume your manager will be willing or able to help you, even if they want to.
Know Your Rights
- Some states require employers with over 100 employees to give 60-90 days advance notice. Check if your state has adopted the WARN Act (aka min-WARN act).
- Some states have single party consent laws that allow you to legally record audio. You are acting as the single consenting party. If you can, record your meetings so you have evidence if you need it in the future for wrongful termination. If you’re not in a single party consent state, get creative. Have a colleague in one of these states hop on the phone to help you record and document any layoff conversations.
Lean on Each Other
Many of us feel isolated and alone right now. It can mean a lot to get a DM from someone you work with that demonstrates we’re here for each other. Here’s how we suggest you reach out safely:
- Download Signal if you haven’t already so your communications are not on company channels monitored by management.
- Ask your coworkers if they want to chat in a Signal group you’re setting up with other ICs on the team.
- Kick off the Signal group chat by validating that this moment is hard and asking how folks are feeling.
- Ask what people are hearing from other coworkers. They might know something that can give you insight into your status or have a helpful layoff tip.
- Share a resource or even this guide if you think it will be helpful.
- Make it clear that you are here for them and that now is the time for Tweeps to lean on each other.
Responding to Unreasonable Requests
Tweeps across the company have been pulled into new projects and asked to work 24/7 to deliver in unreasonable time frames. These requests are often coupled with the empty promise that it might save your team from the layoffs as a manipulation tactic.
- Take care and don’t overwork yourself. The intimidation we’re seeing from leadership is a malicious productivity tool. Don’t be afraid to push back, especially if your coworkers are also pushing back.
- Screenshot (using a personal mobile device) all written asks made of you and anything that can prove what you’re being pushed to do is unreasonably outside of the norm of your role. You might need this if you need to take legal action.
- Screenshot (using a personal mobile device) anything that shows what the norms and procedures are of your team. Again, you might need this if you need to take legal action.
- If you are asked to do anything that violates policy, like FTC rules, please reach out to the tip line email contact below. Taking shortcuts can bring personal risk.
- If you have some spare cycles, reach out to your coworkers to offer support. If they need some coding help, pair programming, or even help with writing docs and cross-functional communication, a little can go a long way. Or, start talking to them about creative ways you can work together to push back on the untenable pace.
Control your Data
So much is out of your control right now but what happens to your data isn’t. It can be extremely helpful to proactively save resources and data belonging to you just in case your access is suddenly revoked.
Notes on Surveillance
- At no point should you plug any type of ⛔External storage (SD card, HD, thumb drive) into your work device. This is traceable and monitored.
- Sending ⚠️Google Docs from Gmail to personal accounts probably violates your agreement with the company, even if those documents do not contain sensitive information. Downloads and sharing to other accounts or creating links is monitored and can be used to justify “for cause” termination.
- Twitter is analyzing ⚠️Google Drive data and looking for anomalies. Downloading or sharing in bulk will trigger an investigation.
- One of the safest ways to capture documentation is to simply snap a pic from your personal phone.
Login / Account Management
- Go through your 1Password and find personal accounts that you will use outside of your employment at Twitter and change them to your personal email.
- Save the contents of your 1Password to your personal laptop with Dropbox, change the Dropbox email to your personal email. This will help you access personal services in case you lose access to 1Password on your work device.
- Ensure that any accounts you’ve setup with your @twitter.com email account are moved to your personal account. This includes your Schwab account, or even accounts with discounts (i.e. Uber Eats, DoorDash or Avis).
- Sign out of all personal accounts on your Twitter laptop.
- Move your comp letters, redacted promo packets, redacted impact docs, promo letters, and pay stubs (on Workday) to your personal laptop. It’s imperative you have access to your key employment documents.
- Change your linked Birdhouse Twitter account to a personal email and “unlink” your personal twitter account from your Birdhouse profile
- Make sure your iCloud is transferred to your personal email.
- Though the associated email address cannot be changed, Schwab ePayWindow is accessible from a personal laptop outside the VPN.
- Backblaze automatically uploads all of your files to the cloud. If you saved personal files on your computer, someone might be able to restore them. Learn how to delete backups while you have access.
- (If applicable) Record your accrued bonus/PDP. Ensure this amount is included in your severance. In Workday > Profile > Job > Additional Data tab > scroll to the bottom where it says “PDP”.
- Download all payslips by going to “view profile” in Workday (by clicking on your face in the top right hand corner). Most information can be downloaded in a single PDF from the link at the top of the blue sidebar, just next to your employee photo.
- Go to the My Compensation and Metric Letters tab to download all pdfs.
- Go to the Performance Review tab, click “create new pdf” then “notify me later” for each doc. The PDF links will appear in the table after a minute or so, then you can download them all.
Use Your Benefits At Your Own Risk
Your benefits are part of your compensation and you’ve earned them. Although these are owed to you, it is not guaranteed that you will be reimbursed. Keep this in mind if you spend your benefit stipends. Use your benefits if you still can (or while they still exist), at your own risk. You can find your full list of benefits at go/benefits. File all pending expense reports in Concur and immediately ask your manager to approve.
Preparing for a Malicious “For-Cause” Termination
The new leadership has dramatically changed the expectations of workload across the organization. It is now expected that teams work evenings and weekends to ship products. Work progress is being tracked by the hour in spreadsheets to build precedent for terminating workers “for cause” to avoid paying severance. Here is what you can do now to ensure you’re best suited to defend and refute an unjust termination:
- Assume your termination might be presented as performance-related and that the metrics used to define “performance” may be illogical to anyone with an understanding of your role.
- Update your Impact Document to reflect everything you’ve worked on at Twitter. Make sure it contains all of the challenges you’ve overcome to get projects completed. This is important context for anyone reviewing your case who is not familiar with the norms of your role. If you aren’t familiar with this type of document, ask your manager for a copy of your most recent promo-packet. By adding on your more recent accomplishments, you will more-or-less have an updated Impact Document.
- Request feedback from your peers! Before your team composition changes, make sure you reach out to trusted colleagues and request feedback from them. It might be good to break the ice with the offer of providing feedback for them. We’re all in this together.
- Consider transcribing any relevant personal (not company-sensitive) information from any self-reflection or self review Google docs you wrote about yourself, any work logs describing things that you did, any promo packs you wrote for yourself, feedback docs written for you by other people, documents or contracts signed (from:echosign.com captures some of these), any details of pension, life insurance, medical insurance or other benefits if you have not saved them elsewhere, you get it.
From your friends and coworkers, we sincerely wish you remember that you’ve done great work. No matter how long you’ve worked at this company, what role you hold, what projects you’ve worked on, you have a bright future ahead. The folks who wrote this resource might not be here tomorrow and you might not be here tomorrow but together we built the most impactful social media platform in history. No one can take that away from you. Not even the person who spent $44 billion to own and control your great work.
Tech workers across the industry are standing with you, Tweeps. We know this is a hard moment and are here to help. Please reach out to collectiveactionintech [at] protonmail.com if you are looking for support. Including Collective Action in Tech, the organizations listed below can vouch for the safety of this channel to connect with your fellow Tweeps: