I worked at Google for -10 days
It’s the story of how I was laid off from Google before I even started to do my job there. I have tried to write only facts, although there is a small hurricane somewhere inside me right now.
It began nearly a year ago, in April of 2022, when I applied for multiple SWE and SRE positions at Google. Large tech companies usually have a lengthy hiring process, but I could take it slow. I successfully completed five technical interviews during May and June. However, shortly after that, the company encountered some difficulties due to the global post-COVID crisis, and as a result, HR were unavailable for weeks. I had to be patient.
In July, I entered the Team Matching Phase where I had the opportunity to meet with hiring managers. During these meetings, we talked about ourselves, the team, and the project, and ultimately decided whether or not we were a good fit for each other. After attending two meetings, I realised that I wasn’t interested in joining either team at the moment.
Regrettably, I had to wait a considerable amount of time for the next opportunity. Google had announced an international hiring freeze, which essentially halted all interview and job offer processes. The exact extent of the freeze and the regions it affected is unclear, with contradictory information available online. Nevertheless, the freeze did affect me: I was assigned to a different HR manager who informed me that “Unfortunately we are not in a position to move forward with your application at this time due to a current slowdown in hiring at Google. Our leaders are taking the next few weeks to review our priorities for the rest of the year and we hope to have an update for you at the beginning of August.”
At the beginning of August, things didn’t change a lot (“Unfortunately we still have a pause on hiring and I’m afraid that there have been no further updates from the business side at this point in time.”), and at the end of the month either (“Unfortunately we still haven’t had any news, I’m really sorry that it’s taking longer than initially expected”). It wasn’t until the end of September that the situation shifted. I received news that my candidacy could be submitted to the Hiring Committee before completing the team matching phase. Nearly six months after submitting my application, I was thrilled to learn on October 11th that the Hiring Committee had approved me. The next step was to find a team that was willing to bring me on board. Fortunately, a suitable team was found in November. I had a conversation with Tom, the hiring manager, and we hit it off. From there, the process moved forward smoothly.
On November 17, my salary was announced and in December, I received an official offer for a SRE position at Google London. I began preparing for my move by taking an English exam and a mandatory tuberculosis test for Russians working in the UK. After the long New Year holidays, I applied to the visa application center, which took nearly two months to issue the visa. In March, I quit my previous company, Yandex, to spend the last month preparing for my move to London, which involved vacating my apartment in Yekaterinburg, packing my belongings, and selling some items.
I had planned to fly out on April 10, giving myself a week to acclimate and get comfortable before starting work on April 17. However, on the evening of April 6, I received an unexpected email from Liz West, the head of Google Cloud HR in Europe, asking to connect with me regarding “an update on my Google offer”. I chose to connect the following day.
During the call, Liz West informed me that my contract with Google had been terminated due to a wave of layoffs that began in the United States and now reached Europe and Britain. “Unfortunately”, my position had come under reduction, so I no longer had the job I had been working towards for the past year. Nothing personal, just business.
This is the official notification that I received after the conversation:
Thus, the contract with me has been terminated 10 days before it was supposed to take effect.
As for what to do next, I am not entirely sure yet. I held a “garage sale” (in Russian) and sold most of my belongings. The remaining items were either discarded, recycled, or packed into two suitcases that I had planned to take with me. Moving to a new country is a difficult task that typically requires months of preparation. Changing these plans on the fly is challenging and somewhat painful. However, I feel that I should say something optimistic at the end. All will be good 🙂