A day ahead of expected layoffs at Twitter that will thoroughly gut the company as we know it, San Francisco-based Lyft announced the laying off of 13% of its workforce, and South San Francisco-based Stripe is cutting 14% of its workforce.
It's going to be a stressful holiday season for a swath of laid-off employees, as the tech downturn of 2022 continues to wreak havoc in the Bay Area.
As KPIX reports, via a blog post from Lyft CEO Logan Green and company President John Zimmer, layoffs affecting some 700 Lyft employees are happening today, which is 13% of the company's workforce.
Per the blog post, the execs anticipate a "probable recession" in the next year, and they blame rising insurance costs for Lyft vehicles. "Lyft has to become leaner, which requires us to part with incredible team members," they write. They add that the layoffs "impact every organization in the company, and were based on deprioritized initiatives."
The layoffs were set to be announced at an all-hands meeting that began at 11 a.m. Pacific Time Thursday. "We know today will be hard," Green and Zimmer say.
Departing employees are being given 10 weeks pay and accelerated vesting for those who had a vesting date for shares on November 20.
In contrast to Uber, which posted decent third-quarter earnings and said Tuesday that it feels immune to inflation, Lyft's leaders say, "We are not immune to the realities of inflation and a slowing economy."
Meanwhile today, fintech company Stripe, which is co-headquartered in South San Francisco and Dublin, Ireland, is laying off 14% of its workers. As TechCrunch reports, that amounts to around 1,120 of the company's 8,000 employees.
Stripe CEO Patrick Collison also published an online memo with the layoff announcement, and TechCrunch notes that Collison's memo is "notable in terms of the degree to which he accepts blame for the situation."
"We were much too optimistic about the internet economy’s near-term growth in 2022 and 2023 and underestimated both the likelihood and impact of a broader slowdown," Collison says. "We overhired for the world we’re in, and it pains us to be unable to deliver the experience that we hoped that those impacted would have at Stripe."
Layoffs are cold, impersonal, and often painful experiences, and the next two days are going to be rough for thousands of Bay Area employees at Lyft, Stripe, and Twitter, as well as any other companies who calculate that this first week of November is the right moment to make huge cuts. Midway through the fourth quarter, with a buffer before the holidays, yeah.
As the New York Times reports, Amazon also announced a hiring freeze this week.
At Twitter, where as many as 3,700 people could be laid off by Friday, some employees compiled a pragmatic "Layoff Guide" that was circulated on Wednesday. The writers of the guide note that while some employees will be laid off with compensation and benefits, others may be "maliciously 'terminated for cause,'" which will be even shittier.
In addition to a bunch of practical advice about changing logins to various apps so they don't rely on internal Twitter email addresses, and legal advice about not trying to remove documents or files from company machines, they offer these bits of foreshadowing:
- 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.
Those of us who have been in the Bay Area awhile remember layoff seasons past, and may have lost jobs in those seasons ourselves. They sometimes happen in big waves like this.
Stay strong if it happens to you, and know that you'll come out fine on the other side.
Photo: Austin Distel