I work at Twitter … what do I do?

A reader writes:

I work at Twitter and have been there for many years. As I’m sure you’ve seen, Twitter was just bought by Elon Musk and ever since the deal closed two weeks ago, the company has been literally falling apart.

I was fortunate enough to survive the round of layoffs in his first week that cut 50% of the company, but since then things have gotten exponentially worse day by day. We learn of new changes when Elon tweets them. We were told just before midnight on Wednesday that we were required to be in the office at least 40 hours per week — starting Thursday. My manager resigned this week, along with several other managers and members of the senior leadership team. I’m a manager and I don’t know how to support my team — our partner teams are all gone and I no longer have the resources to lead the team the way that I need to.

I’m now realizing that the folks who got laid off and received severance packages may have been (in general) the more fortunate group.

My question is, a lot of people are resigning right now, but I’m wondering if it would be better to wait to be laid off.

If I wait, is there a risk that I could get fired (without severance) instead of laid off (with severance) because I cannot meet the demands of our new owner? I’ve been a high performer during my entire tenure at the company and have never had a negative performance review, but that was under our former leadership. Could current leadership simply decide to fire me to prevent me from receiving severance? As much as I want to resign, I’m trying to stay until I have another job lined up since my family is on my healthcare plan.

First, for any readers who haven’t been following the situation at Twitter, some background:

Inside the Twitter Meltdown
Two Weeks of Chaos: Inside Elon Musk’s Takeover of Twitter
Elon Musk Has No Idea What He’s Doing at Twitter
Twitter’s Content Moderation Head Quits As Departures Alarm the FTC
Here’s How a Twitter Engineer Says It Will Break in the Coming Weeks
Twitter Is in Grave Security Danger Right Now
A Day of Chaos Brings Twitter Closer to the Brink

Okay, back to the letter. This is a complicated question.

Let’s take the “what could Elon do?” parts of the question first.

Anything! The answer, he’s made clear, is that he could do anything! He could demand your team create a product that charges users $8 to turn them into actual flying birds and ship it next week, and then fire you if you say you can’t do it. He could parachute nude into your cafeteria tomorrow and demand you all bow before him while singing Gregorian chants. Really, to any question about whether there’s a risk Elon will do X, the answer at this point has to be yes.

Which is utterly unhelpful to you, so let’s answer this in more pragmatic terms.

In general, at any company, there is always a risk that you could get fired instead of laid off because you can’t meet the demands of a new owner. At this particular company, you also have to worry that those demands will be unreasonable and that the decision will be made without thought. Is it likely? I don’t know; I wish I did; I’m sorry about that. Is it possible? Yes. Might you have legal recourse if that happens? Possibly. Is legal action a pain to pursue? Yes, although sometimes it’s worth it. Will you be the only one this happens to, if it does happen? No, and that would make legal action easier to pursue.

Could you be fired simply to prevent you from receiving severance? Yes, in theory. In practice, there is a huge spotlight on your employer right now and it would be much harder to pull that off. (On the other hand, Elon seems to enjoy flouting the law … although it does seem like he mostly attempted to follow it with the first round of layoffs … and there are still some questions about the legality of some of those details, so one would assume he wouldn’t want to add additional legal problems … although it’s not nearly as easy to be confident about that with a chaos goblin in charge as it would be with a more prudent owner.)

In a normal situation, I’d say you’re unlikely to be fired rather than laid off unless your performance changes drastically. In this situation, if I had to guess, I’d say chances are better than not that you won’t be randomly fired (as opposed to laid off at some point). But that’s a guess, and it’s heavily informed by how this stuff normally works … while you’re in a situation that won’t necessarily be governed by those norms.

There’s also the risk that even if you’re laid off, the company might be in so much financial trouble at that point that they won’t have the money for severance that they have right now.

As for whether it would be better to resign now rather than waiting to be laid off (which may or may not happen) or waiting until you get another job … If you can stomach it, you’re probably better off waiting, especially because your family depends on the health insurance. And really, if you’re weighing (a) resigning now (no severance) against (b) the risk of being fired without severance … well, in both of those cases you’d be out of work with no severance. Staying at least gives you the option of severance down the road (if you’re part of a future layoff) and gives you an ongoing income and health insurance.

Assuming, of course, you can stomach it. But as long as you’re not actively doing harm, there’s no ethical imperative to quit on the spot and no shame in staying if you need to.

Good luck, and I’m sorry something you helped build is being needlessly destroyed.

Read an update to this letter

{ 691 comments… read them below }

    1. Elon's Musk Is Toxic*

      (Posting as a reply so this letter isn’t flooded with tons of new “I don’t have advice” threads)

      Fsck Elon. I hate how he’s forcing so many people to suffer needlessly, while also rubbing my hands in glee that his embarrassing behavior is on full public blast and will follow him for the rest of his life and history’s records of it long after he’s gone. All his billions can’t save him from that well-earned fate. No matter how many implosions he causes, he can’t escape his mortified ego, or the generations of future humans* who will read about this time and laugh at him. And he knows it.

      *You know, assuming humankind survives what people like Elon are doing to the world.

      1. Hound Dog*

        Oh, he’s got his fans who are utterly convinced there’s a master plan at play and Muskrst will emerge triumphant on the wings of an eagle, soaring to new profit heights. Those people are more than willing to keep stroking Muskrat’s ego, and he only needs a few fans to fuel his egomania.

        1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

          It’s truly a masterclass in delusion, like, he could shid his pants onstage and his sycophants would insist it’s a 4d chess move to psych out his haters.

          1. Excel-sior*

            “look at him, the genius, disrupting the fashion industry!” they’ll cry as his shid runs down his leg, out of his trouser bottoms and into his shoes, “truly he is a god amongst men”.

            1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

              As he runs offstage yelling “4 da lulz” through tears over his shoulder, steps on a rake, slips on a banana peel: “he’s always ten steps ahead… the haters simply cannot comprehend the genius at work here. The superior intellect will always look irrational, even laughable, to the mediocre mind,”

        2. RadManCF*

          I’d say that his persona has been effective marketing for his companies, particularly SpaceX. There are other players in commercial space flight (and not just vanity projects like Virgin Galactic),but they have nowhere near the public visibility. I think that the increased public awareness of the sector is good for the industry as a whole. Which is not to say I’m a fanboy. I think he’s a lot like Sheldon Cooper in that while he is intelligent and capable, he seems to think that he can play by his own rules. He’s done well with SpaceX because it’s privately held. He’s had SEC and other trouble at Tesla thanks to his disdain for established systems; he’s probably going to kill Twitter through his swashbuckling.

          1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

            SpaceX also has a COO (Gwynne Shotwell) responsible for day-to-day operations. Not to say the muskrat isn’t involved over there, but when I heard Shotwell speak at a conference once, it sounded like a significant part of her job was to say “Shut up, Elon.”

            1. Evan Þ*

              If that’s the case, it sounds like it could work well. I’ve read that the WWII British General Staff had a similar relationship with Churchill – Churchill was great for public morale, and he had some very good strategic points, but he also had a whole lot of bad military ideas that the General Staff had to shoot down.

              Of course, that did depend on Churchill’s respecting his General Staff enough to listen to them. Hopefully Musk respects Shotwell or someone else there similarly.

            2. Grace*

              Yep. That’s actually fairly standard in some industries, to split the labor that way – you have the blue-sky dreamers who go “Let’s build a Mars colony!”, and then someone else to turn it into something they can actually do. My field has it, and there’s entire jobs where the description is basically translating from the blue-sky drawings to something that can physically be built. “Your concept is lovely, but it’s a massive fire hazard/will leak like a sieve/does not accommodate people over 5’8” tall. If we do X to make it actually work, does that keep the spirit you want?”

              The issue is when the blue-skiers stop accepting that their dreams are not possible and need to be toned down, and they have the power to actually force the issue. In my field, this often gets beaten out of people when their project physically falls apart. Unfortunately, in this case, it looks like it’ll hit a lot of people coming down.

          2. Erica*

            SpaceX makes a physical product, rockets. Once the rocket is built, its performance doesn’t depend on what steps it took to get there – how much goodwill burnt, employees pissed off, general public appalled. Corporate customers will still buy space on the rocket if it’s the best one.

            Social media is a completely different ballgame. Public perception and reputation are key parts of the product. Content moderation (half of which team he just fired, and almost all the senior ) is probably the MOST important part of the product. Which as this brilliant blog post makes clear, Elon is about to find out.

            https://www.techdirt.com/2022/11/02/hey-elon-let-me-help-you-speed-run-the-content-moderation-learning-curve/

            1. The balanced perspective*

              And pre-Musk Twitter was getting moderation very wrong. Yes, there is a problem if you’re banning the US president (no matter how much you may dislike him) but allowing Russian and Iranian state media and figures to post freely.

              And I do not see why Twitter needs a human rights team. It’s not an NGO or international organization.

              I am not going to say Musk is doing everything right, and as a TSLA shareholder.i fear Twitter is distracting him from.his other businesses, but I support some of this downsizing and in particular the shedding of Vijaya Gadde.

              1. Jackalope*

                It wasn’t about disliking the (former) president. It was about him using the Twitter platform in real time to give instructions for and try to lead an attempted overthrow of the government. To the best of my knowledge the leaders of Russia and Iran have not attempted anything like that. They couldn’t just ignore that; it would have been a HUGE liability had they left him with his access, both from the perspective of public opinion and possibly also legally.

                1. The Real Fran Fine*

                  +1

                  Additionally, that fool was given way too many free passes because of his title. He continued posting conspiracy theories and kept disseminating election misinformation, even when he was warned multiple times not to, before he was banned for violating their terms of service. Regular Joe users are banned from Twitter every day for less.

              2. nnn*

                The human rights team protected at-risk users in global crises like Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, and defended those especially at risk of human rights abuse by virtue of their social media presence, like journalists.

                1. Grammar Penguin*

                  The company’s communications department used to consist of over 200 people in order to respond to media questions from around the world. Today it’s two people. Twitter no longer has a communications department and doesn’t respond at all to media.

                  It’s a media company. With no communications department.

              3. just some guy*

                Twitter has users all over the world, offices in many countries, and dedicated national accounts like @TwitterAU. That sure sounds like an “international organisation” to me.

                Any multinational org which handles things like private communications starts running into human rights issues pretty quickly: what do you do when the Russian or Iranian government (to pick the two you named) request access to a dissident’s direct messages? What do you do when somebody starts using your platform to incite genocide? A company in Twitter’s position which doesn’t have a human rights team keeping an eye on these issues is going to find itself used to kill people, which as well as being bad ethics is bad for business.

                This is not to say that Twitter’s moderation was good. I can think of many times when their actions contravened their posted policy, and as far as I can tell they often depended more on counting the number of reports rather than actually assessing whether reported conduct violated their policy. But the specific issues you mention are wide of the mark.

              4. MM*

                They just laid off a ton of the “child safety workflow” contractors. Those are the people who stop and report child sexual abuse content. In addition to the obvious, massive ethical and legal ramifications, this may well be the thing that truly tanks the userbase.

              5. Middle Aged Lady*

                You don’t get a twitter ban for dislike. He was advocating violence to stop democratic processes. They did have ban issues. Banning Trump was not one of them.

              6. Irish Teacher*

                While I agree there were issues with misinformation and so on, on twitter, I do think the president of the US (and all other presidents and prime ministers and monarchs and other leaders) should be held to the same rules (or possibly held to higher standards) and banned if they break the rules just like everything else.

                I don’t think banning Trump was a problem. Possibly, other people were not held to the same standards and that accounts that should also have been banned were not, but…I think that would be a problem whether Trump were banned or not.

                It’s not really about whether one likes a leader or not. It’s about whether they are using the site appropriately and keeping the rules.

              7. Anonomatopoeia*

                Umwhat. The President had a power base, here in the US, which he was directing using dogwhistles and straight up lies to manipulate a chunk of the populace into essentially trying to actualfacts overthrow the US government and install him as the eternal unstable leader. It’s not that Russian and Iranian state media behavior wasn’t also problematic (and, I do think that Twitter was putting it down when they could find it); it’s that those groups didn’t have the same kind of direct power structure and identity (that is, they were not literally named POTUS) to put into play in the name of patriotism.

        3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          I am on Twitter watching the show in real time and it is wild.

          He just fired a guy in a public tweet for the crime of giving him feedback and a detailed explanation of how a system works, which imo is ridiculous and a terrible way to manage, and the fans are all “who are you to judge? how many billions are you worth? how many companies do you own?” followed by “just let him do his job”, which are the words I recall hearing from the same crowd a lot in 2017-2020, albeit about a different guy.

          We as a society have gone to full-on god-worship of the rich and the connected. unbelievable.

          1. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

            Completely unsurprisingly, a very non-zero number of those people posting “he has billions, so he’s basically god, let him do his job” also have “Tr*mp is still my PRESIDENT!” in their Twitter profiles.

        4. The Rodent Conspiracy*

          Muskrats (and rats) are respectable rodents. Please do not disparage them by referring to the despicable human Elon Musk as “Muskrat”.

          Thanks,

          The Rodent Conspiracy

      2. Cat Tree*

        Musk is a naturalized citizen (rather than a natural born citizen), right? So at least he can’t be the next Republican president?

        1. MM*

          Indeed. The money that gave him his start came from his father’s emerald mine in apartheid South Africa. [upside down smile emoji]

      3. MigraineMonth*

        I laughed at Alison’s over-the-top examples of what Elon Musk might decide to do, then I remembered that he filmed himself carrying a literal sink into one of the Twitter offices.

        Maybe the remaining employees should brush up on their Gregorian chants.

      4. Ellie*

        “All his billions can’t save him from that well-earned fate.”

        Oh how I wish that was true.

        OP – I’m really sorry. If it was me, I’d be madly looking for another job, but stay until I had one. And I’d be telling my team to do the same.

      5. GG*

        I’m a lawyer, and it’s important to remember that in the U.S., you are not guaranteed severance if you are laid off, and you can be fired at any time for any reason unless it’s for one of the relatively small number of reasons protected by law (discrimination based on a protected class status, retaliation for trying to unionize, etc.). Even if it seems unfair, even if you’re a great performer, El0n can decide to fire you for an arbitrary reason, and you may get nothing. You may get laid off and get nothing Just keep that in mind while weighing your decision.

    2. Massive Dynamic*

      Sympathy here as well… a few decades ago, Steve Jobs laid off my dad and many others, right after I left home to go to a not-cheap college. Tech in general can be a rough ride and then when you have these types of figureheads at the helm, they tend toward rash, dramatic decisions that screw over so many families all to manipulate the almighty market share price. See also: whatever the hell Meta’s doing these days.

      I wish you and your family all the best. FWIW Apple was the last big-name tech my dad worked for – he stuck with smaller companies after that and never had a layoff again.

      1. Observer*

        I’m not a big fan of Steve Jobs. He was not a good person, and in his first iteration at Apple he was a TERRIBLE boss. But even so, at his very worst, he wasn’t as bad as Musk. Because while he didn’t care any more about people than Musk does, he did care about the company and even before he got booted out (for good reasons!), he did understand SOME basics that Elon seems to be missing.

      2. Stuff*

        This is the human cost of the Silicon Valley drive to “disrupt old industries” and “move fast and break things”. When those are the slogans you live by, well, sometimes you end up breaking things that were actually really important to people. Or you try to disrupt a heavily regulated industry to do it much more profitably with the gig economy only for people to eventually learn the hard way why that industry was so heavily regulated in the first place.

        1. Heffalump*

          Napoleon said, “To make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.”

          George Orwell’s response to this was, “Show me the omelet.”

        2. Lab Boss*

          Disruptive tech philosophy is in direct opposition to Chesterton’s Fence- G.K. Chesterton once expressed the need to think through your changes by saying (in summary) “If you buy land from a farmer and there’s a fence across the field, it’s yours to tear down- but first, you should figure out why the farmer built the fence.”

          1. Worldwalker*

            There are a lot of politicians who need to know that. They seem to think that laws were passed on a whim, regulations were instituted for no reason, etc. But there is *always* a reason. It might be a bad reason. It might be the wrong reason. But there is a reason, and you need to know that reason.

            They’re like workers on a remodeling job saying “this pipe/valve/pillar/wire/wall doesn’t look important; let’s just remove it.”

            1. Jasper*

              And sometimes that’s the right call! But it should always take at least some thought and time and ideally asking people who might know. Doing scream tests is a last resort, not a first option.

              1. Rens*

                If you remove it before you figured out what it was for, and it turned out to be the right call, you weren’t brilliant, you were lucky.

            2. Flare*

              And a lot of new bosses. I have worked for a leader who came in and employed a strategy of building off of successes and taking time to thoughtfully consider nonsuccesses before heading in a new direction, and for a leader whose philosophy was pretty much, if the last guy built it, I don’t like it and won’t get credit for it so let’s burn it to the ground regardless of success. I can tell you the first one is better.

        3. The balanced perspective*

          So, we’d be better off if horse and buggy companies were alive and kicking today?

          1. just some guy*

            Well, the straw man industry looks to be alive and well.

            Nobody was arguing that all change is bad. Just reckless “break things without understanding why they were important” change.

            1. The balanced perspective*

              Not a straw man at all. Innovation doesn’t happen without “creative destruction,” which was just Schumpeter’s way of describing “move fast and break things.”

              1. RadManCF*

                Plenty of innovation happens without your so-called “creative destruction,” it just doesn’t make for an interesting news story, and that’s if the innovators actually tell anyone about their work. The Celtic Adhesive Strip Conglomerate is a good example, ATT/Bell Labs is another, IBM, GE, Siemens, ABB, Hitatchi, Mitsubishi, the list goes on and on…

              2. Well...*

                Lol no. I’m from the academic field that created the atomic bomb and invented the internet at CERN. We do not operate under the paradigm of breaking everybody else’s research needlessly. If anything, we are constantly scouring each other’s work for inspiration and hidden gems.

                That’s futurist techy nonsense, and they are simply not responsible for the greatest advances of our time.

              3. TrixM*

                Yes, perhaps look through any list of major technical achievements like, I don’t know, electric motors, splitting the atom, or the transistor, and you will see that “move fast and break things” is really not the dominant paradigm.
                Maybe you think repeated experiments over and over again – maybe with a flash of brilliance at some point, maybe not – is the same concept, but it isn’t.

              4. just some guy*

                If you think Schumpeter was describing this as a *good thing*, it’s possible that you haven’t actually read Schumpeter. He explicitly describes this process as a way in which capitalism undermines itself and brings about its own collapse.

          2. Middle Aged Lady*

            Horses were more useful than ever after the railroads came, and they coexisted with cars for a long time. No one set out to ‘break’ buggy manufacturers. Bad analogy.

            1. just some guy*

              And just because cars are useful doesn’t mean leaded gasoline or the Ford Pinto were good ideas. (To name just one brand of car notorious for catching fire…)

        4. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

          Yep, it’s been kind of funny watching the evolution of the “new blue check” circle back around in real time to verification for exactly this reason.

          I feel like “move fast, break things” makes good sense in certain contexts but is often used to justify recklessness. As a management philosophy it’s like, “make as many ceramic pots as you physically can in six hours. You’ll break a lot of them, but you’ll get enough reps in to learn a lot from the mistakes you make along the way, and at the end of the day we’ll have at least a couple pots which are good enough to use, and we can worry about painting and minor repairs or whatever tomorrow.” It gives people permission to screw up, for one thing, and emphasizes progress over perfection. I have a manager in my department who takes this tack and it’s done wonders for his team.

          The problem is that way too many people say “move fast, break things” to justify their bad decisions after the fact, like, “I was right to let this bull loose in a china shop. Because it’s fast. And it breaks things. And that’s what we’re supposed to do: move fast and break things.”

          1. just some guy*

            Yeah, there’s a grain of truth in it – people and businesses sometimes are excessively risk-averse – but all too often it becomes a lazy thinker’s excuse for not bothering to understand why the current systems exist or evaluate which risks are and aren’t worth taking.

      3. Wintermute*

        jobs and musk are a great comparison.

        Both basically took products invented by other people and made them slick, shiny and attractive to technorati and let every think they were the geniuses that finally made the (whatever thing) practical and/or invented it. Jobs did it with the graphical OS, digital music player and smartphone, musk with the electric car, pneumatic train, low-orbit communication satellite constellation, etc.

        1. Connie-Lynne*

          Hold up. Perhaps my lens is biased due to being the daughter of a rocket scientist (who, incidentally, worked at SpaceX after a long career in Space & Comms Satellites), but nobody seriously believes Musk invented LEO comms satellite grids, do they?

          Shakin’ my head!

          1. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

            A ridiculous amount of stupid people think buying up SpaceX and Tesla and calling himself the “founder” means Musk invented all their tech and is some kind of inventor genius. :/

            1. Ellie*

              I mean, it does make him a commercial genius though – he saw the potential in other people’s products. Once might be a fluke, but to do it multiple times means he has talent of some kind.

              At some point along the way though, he just went nuts. The writing’s been on the wall for years.

            2. Well...*

              It’s called a Tesla not a Musk -_-

              Also poor Tesla must be turning over in his grave. I always thought his ideas were unfairly languishing without implementation, and was hopeful when I heard someone was finally going to build his cars. What a horrible way for it all to turn out.

          2. Nina*

            As an actual rocket scientist working at a place sometimes considered plausible competition for SpaceX, I second this.

            1. Grammar Penguin*

              With the rapid and oh-so-public destruction of Twitter, I can’t help but think this is going to hurt the ability of Tesla, SpaceX, Starlink, et al, to hire engineers who aren’t:
              1) already all in on the cult of Elon or
              2) desperate.

              These are high-tech companies that rely on their ability to attract top talent.

              I’m a space nerd and a car guy, a big fan of both SpaceX and Tesla, been rooting for their success from the beginning, but if I were an engineer they’d have to pay me a LOT to work at either.

      4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Problem with smaller companies are that they tend to get acquired by the big companies and then you’re right where you started. Saying this as someone who’s left a big corporation for a growing startup, only to have the startup acquired by another corp within a year, and then six years later, I did it again and it happened again.

      5. The balanced perspective*

        I get that layoffs are always traumatic for those on the receiving end — but it doesn’t follow that they are never justified.

        Apple has ultimately created a lot.of wealth for its employees.

        1. Bob*

          A few employees made more money than they could ever spend to put on the pile of money they already have that they could never spend.

          It made zero effective difference to them and removed tens of thousands of peoples income, taxes the country needs and decent infrastructure.

        2. metadata minion*

          I’m not sure why people are supposed to find “you got laid off, but the people who didn’t get laid off are really rich now!” comforting.

          1. Fishsticks*

            Right?

            “Listen, I know times are tough, but that money that might have paid your bills and bought gifts for the kids for the holidays will now sit, unused, in a shareholder’s already overflowing bank account. Isn’t that nice?”

        3. Irish Teacher*

          I don’t think it’s that they are traumatic – I mean they ARE, but that is not the primary problem. The primary problem is that they mean people lose their source of income and could end up losing their homes or their healthcare or other necessities of life. I would definitely say 200 people having the basic necessities of life is a whole lot better than 50 people being laid off and possibly ending up in serious need and the other 150 making a lot of wealth.

          I do understand that sometimes layoffs are necessary and the options aren’t just “everybody earns less or some people get laid off.” Sometimes they are genuinely, “some people get laid off or the company goes bankrupt and everybody ends up on the dole.” So I guess…yeah, sometimes they are justified (though sometimes that is due to previous mismanagement that caused the company to be in financial difficulty in the first place, but of course, sometimes it is due to things outside the control of anybody in the company), but…that does not seem to be the case with twitter. I don’t get the impression that it was in serious trouble and that Musk’s only way of saving it is to cut costs, which unfortunately means letting people go.

    3. Sloanicota*

      I think my advice is to network with your former coworkers who have departed. When these things happen, sometimes a newly formed company scoops them all up, or a former boss lands somewhere and gets to start building a new team out of all her past favorites, or a coworker starts their own org. Even if it doesn’t have “legs” it’s probably your best scenario OP. (If I had ever been interested in building a new social media platform this would definitely be the time I’d launch it).

      1. Hannah Lee*

        I think this is a really great point.
        Right now, LW is losing potential *internal* advocates, as many sane people are jumping ship.
        “My manager resigned this week, along with several other managers and members of the senior leadership team. I’m a manager and I don’t know how to support my team — our partner teams are all gone and I no longer have the resources to lead the team the way that I need to.”

        But those people aren’t vanishing; they will all be going somewhere. LW’s best course of action may be to stay put (as long as they aren’t being asked to do anything unethical, immoral or that harms their own mental health), be as much of a sanity buffer for their reports as is reasonably possible when a chaos goblin is driving the bus. In the meantime, keep drawing the salary, having access to health ins and other company benefits, company premium contributions, tighten spending, save what they can.

        That buys time to – delay the start of any COBRA eligibility periods and the expense of buying that coverage if needed,
        -get in a better financial position through saving, cutting expenses,
        – spend time updating their resume, and gathering any supporting documentation (ie project samples, tools, notes, systems they’ve developed or find useful … not anything that would be illegal to take, but sometimes management tool templates, notes you’ve made, etc could let you ramp up quickly in a new position)
        – give them a chance to finalize any certifications, training that might have been in process,
        – give them a chance to collect personal items from their workspace, download and clean personal stuff off company-owned devices without security standing by to walk them out.
        – build/strengthen their network, including gathering non-twitter related contact info for folks who are still there and have left, exploring any chat rooms, group lists for current and former employees
        – and consider what next steps to take in the case they are laid off or find that it’s time to resign.

      2. Just Another Techie*

        This is my advice as well. I’ve seen it in my network so many times, although never at the scale it’s happening at Twitter. But often as startups are navigating the transition from 100 employees, a founder will completely lose their head and do something phenomenally ill-advised. I’ve seen cases where whole departments, if not all the engineering staff entirely, pick up stakes and land in the same place doing substantially similar technical work in a more stable corporate environment. Especially if you like your team, there’s no better outcome than keeping the band together.

        1. Just Another Techie*

          huh, looks like the comment form interpreted my less than and greater than signs as HTML. Oops.
          “as startups are navigating the transition from <30 employees to >100 employees”

    4. Goldenrod*

      “I have no advice, only sympathy. ”

      Me too. May god have mercy on your soul. I haven’t seen a company self-destruct this wildly since Enron. But please, please, keep sending updates!! It is a fascinating mess.

    5. I&I*

      Yeah, huge sympathies. This is horrible and you don’t deserve it. Wish I had more advice than ‘I hope you find another job soon’, but all I can say is that you’re way better than this. xxx

    6. just a rubbernecking rando*

      welp LW has 4 hours to reply to today’s ominous email to stay, or they can get 3 mos severance so yay for them. I say take the money & run

  1. Brain the Brian*

    I just wanted to jump in and say — and maybe this isn’t the forum for it — thanks to OP and their fellow Twitter employees for building a website that was fun (if addictive!) and felt like it was finally hitting its stride this year. I share Alison’s sorrow at seeing what your new ownership is doing to your product and your fellow staff. Best of luck to you.

    1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

      +1. I think the scramble to find “the next Twitter” has shown that there really isn’t anything like it. It wasn’t and isn’t perfect, but if it goes down it’s not going to be easy to replace, if it can be replaced at all. There’s just nothing that has the same kind of functionality + community formula that makes Twitter work. And to thank for that, we have the staff who have worked to build and maintain Twitter all this time. OP and peers deserve so much better than what’s happening.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        The text-based microblogging / half-journal format is infinitely more accessible than the “hip” image- and video-based platforms vying as replacements, the site finally felt like it was cracking down on spam / bots / trolls this year, and I frankly had fun with my Twitter friends. I suppose I’ll have to return to spamming my friends with texts now. :D

      2. The balanced perspective*

        …and the optimistic case is that this mass exodus never really materializes, and advertisers see an audience that’s too big to ignore.

        I’m not saying that scenario.is inevitable. But a lot of people are dismissing it far too quickly because they’re angry at Musk’s politics.

        1. Electric Sheep*

          This is a misunderstanding of how valuable Twitter is to advertisers – it’s at a size where it’s pretty replaceable for ad spend, unfortunately for Twitter (and people like me who use it and want to see it stay afloat).

          1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

            Yes, exactly. What the userbase lacks in big numbers it makes up for in clout, which is why it has such an outsized cultural footprint. Doesn’t mean all that much to advertisers.

          2. pandop*

            To be honest the ad algorithm on Twitter wasn’t the best. I get far more targeted ads on facebook (I have even bought things seen advertised on there)

            My best twitter ads are makers tweeting about their own products/authors their own books.

            1. Miette*

              Agreed. As a marketer, IMO Twitter’s impact was always better for earned/owned media. I honestly feel bad for PR wonks and publicists leverage it in their work; as an advertising platform it’s always been an “oh yeah, probably should consider it” for me.

          3. Nonny Moose*

            Agree, I’ve worked with ad buys for years – Twitter is at best a nice to have and brands typically won’t have a problem reallocating those dollars, especially if their brand reputation is at risk due to sketchy user content. Elon is also actively antagonizing the CMOs who keep the site afloat…I hate to say it but I think the bankruptcy becomes a reality in the next 12-24 months unless serious changes are made.

        2. Brain the Brian*

          I was an extremely heavy Twitter user pre-Musk — quite literally dozens of tweets per day. I have not logged in once since his sale closed. The mass exodus may not materialize, but some attrition certainly has.

        3. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

          Forgive me if this is a nesting fail and I’m not who you meant to reply to, but I didn’t predict a “mass exodus.” My post is saying that Twitter is a unique product, and that you can’t just set up a Mastodon or Tumblr as your plan B in case it ceases operations for whatever reason, as many Twitter users have been trying to do.

          But since you brought up an audience too big to ignore, Twitter is a drop in the bucket for advertisers. I’ve noticed a fair number of Musk fans who are absolutely convinced he has some leverage over advertisers but he just doesn’t. Twitter’s userbase isn’t even that big as social media goes, and the percentage of users that are active is even smaller. If it becomes more of a liability than an asset, advertisers can and will walk. Twitter needs them, they don’t need Twitter.

          IMO the optimistic case is that Musk finds a new high-profile project to focus on and delegates oversight of Twitter’s everyday operations to someone who will both focus on maintaining stable functionality and also go on an aggressive relationship-building spree with advertisers and other stakeholders. Personally, I think this is the most likely scenario for Twitter’s future. That said, functionality issues are already cropping up – see the 2FA fiasco today. So a slow degradation of functionality or even a dramatic collapse isn’t out of the realm of possibility, either. And this isn’t even getting into the potential futures that Musk has outlined that may eventually be useful products but would not be anything resembling Twitter in its current form.

        4. Media Monkey*

          i work in the media side of advertising, and most advertisers don’t really care about twitter. facebook would be more difficult to buy around but a lot of agencies are suspending their clients spend on twitter (and i would guess they spent small amounts anyway)

    2. StellaBella*

      +1
      Thanks for making Twitter a place where my work network has expanded and I have learned and shared so much.

    3. MM*

      Absolutely. I haven’t opened accounts on any of the “replacement” sites people are talking about because none of them will give me what I want (or anything I want, really). At least not yet. Some of them might get there with bigger userbases and some time to get broken in, so to speak.

      But I also never stopped using tumblr, so while I use it for totally different things than I use twitter for, I have a stable “home” platform from which to watch this all go down. For people who are truly twitter-centric, I get why some alternative feels necessary, even if it’s not the same.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        I was never a tumblr user; Facebook was my first social media platform and Twitter my second. But Twitter has always felt more like “home with my chosen family” and less like “performance for my legal family.” Alas.

        What should I know about joining tumblr? I’m of the age bracket that means many of my real-life friends have accounts there.

        1. Miette*

          I’ve been on Tumblr for over a decade and it’s… not like other platforms. There are no upvotes, and likes mean jacksh*t to how/if your content is seen. It’s a micro-blogging site that thrives on original content, whether that content is written or visual. You create a blog of your own, from which you post content if you like, and “follow” people with like interests. If you don’t want or need to post original content, you don’t have to–you can “reblog” others’ content and add to it with your own commentary either directly or via the tags you may choose to add. This is how best to engage with other users–by reblogging, commenting, or both.

          That all said, I find many benefits from it, particularly as I am there to explore my fandom interests (vs. professional or personal as I’d have used Twitter or FB or LI for). For starters, you can curate your content stream really well. The site’s algorithm can (and probably should lmao) be turned off so you can scroll your “dashboard” of posts from those you follow chronologically. Ads are a bit of a nuisance but they’re also bizarre at times, and the better ones become their own memes. Speaking of memes, if you ever wonder about where they come from… yeah, odds are Tumblr.

          But you can also kind of float above it all and choose not to engage and just enjoy posts about nonsense and politics and self-care and crabs.

        2. Hobbling Up a Hill*

          Reblog things. Doesn’t matter what things. If you want to alternate politics, intense discussion of insect biology and pictures of goats in improbable places then that’s both acceptable and encouraged. Most people’s tumblr’s are literally just a collection of Things They Think Are Cool And Want to Share.
          Change your user icon. Add something to your profile. Be aware that your likes are public by default.

          Tumblr has/had a problem with bots. If you just lurk and like things then you might find that people who you follow will block you because they think you’re a bot.

  2. Falling Diphthong*

    One would assume he wouldn’t want to add additional legal problems.
    I don’t think anyone rushing to create this many legal problems is going to be fussed at a few more. If anything he might figure no prosecutor will know where to start if he heaps on chaos at the levels we’ve seen in the past couple of weeks.

    Although it’s not nearly as easy to be confident about that with a chaos goblin in charge as it would be with a more prudent owner.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Also I add this helpful insight into the legal questions, from Twitter posters:

      11/11 Ryan Gallagher, reporter for Business: Elon Musk’s lawyer has sought to reassure Twitter employees that they won’t go to jail if the company if found in violation of a Federal Trade Commission decree that outlines steps Twitter must take to protect its users’ personal data. (links to an article in Bloomberg)

      11/11 Popehat, defense lawyer: If your employer’s lawyer ever tells you that you won’t get in trouble for doing what the company is asking you to do, make sure to ask them, preferably in writing, if they represent YOU and if they are giving you legal advice. They love that.

        1. L.H. Puttgrass*

          Although I do rather wish they had kept up the blog instead of going full-in on Twitter. As someone who avoids Twitter, the only things I’ve seen from Popehat in the last few years have been secondhand.

          1. miker*

            He has a podcast, Serious Trouble, that is in some ways a continuation of his previous podcast, All the President’s Lawyers. Very entertaining, and to me worth the paid tier.

        2. Shiba Dad*

          Popehat is awesome.

          Unfortunately he can’t change his name to reflect current events now since Elon banned name changes.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Yeah – Chaos Goblin is a good description of Elon.

      And honestly who knows what he’s going to do anymore, as he thought potentially starting a twitter feud with a Senator on a committee who oversees agencies like Twitter would be a good look.

      For those that missed it, Elon has supposedly been cracking down on “fake or fraudulent accounts” but an investigative reporter was easily able under the new twitter policies to create a verified fake account under the name of a Sitting Senator, and said Senator then tweeted the incident at Elon asking what was really going on with the push. Elon’s response was to insult the Senator – maybe your legal name shouldn’t sound like a joke?!?!?!
      Chaos Gremlin indeed

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Based on the results of the past week, I’ll definitely rule out “the goal of these changes is to eliminate fake accounts.”

      2. SQL Coder Cat*

        “Chaos Goblin” is too mild, I think. My cats are chaos goblins. It doesn’t really convey the utter maliciousness that is an essential part of Musk. He’s not causing chaos for the sake of chaos- he’s causing chaos with the deliberate hope that lots of people will get hurt.

        I can’t even imagine the level of stress Twitter employees must be feeling now. Very much hoping everyone there who is not drinking the Musk Kool Aid (now available in extra slimy) gets out intact.

        1. Ampersand*

          It’s too a mild a term, agreed, but if I were in Alison’s place I wouldn’t want to use any harsher a descriptor (he’s unstable and I wouldn’t want to piss him off, personally) so in that sense I think it’s perfect.

          I feel terrible for the remaining Twitter employees who want no part in this madness. I wish they were all in a position to just walk out now.

      3. Hannah Lee*

        Oh, and bonus! The sitting Senator EM chose to childishly insult is also senior member of the Senate and sits quite a few Committees, including several with the responsibility to oversee industries that EM is involved in:

        COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
        including:
        – Subcommittee on **Communication**, **Media**, and Broadband
        – Subcommittee on **Consumer Protection**, Product Safety, and **Data Security**
        – Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries, Climate Change, and Manufacturing
        – Subcommittee on **Space** and Science
        – Subcommittee on **Surface Transportation** , Maritime, Freight, and Ports

        1. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

          I’m sure the person spoofing the Senator chose with that in mind, honestly. So many of these impersonators are actually “white hat” trying to show just how problematic Twitter Blue was. Impersonating that Senator specifically was likely a calculated move.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Honestly I really think the reporter picked that senator exactly for the committees he sits on.

            And Musk and his other companies aren’t exactly known for being paragons of following the laws and regulations.

            Agreed – Chaos Gremlin is probably too mild, but it’s also best not to poke unpredictable folks – as you never know what will happen.

          2. Worldwalker*

            This was a Washington Post reporter. So yes, definitely a “white hat” not an actual impersonator.

              1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                Ahh, wasn’t aware that the reporter asked permission first, but honestly did get the impression that the reporter was attempting to be a serious investigator looking into the chaos and all the changes that were going on.

                The fact he asked for and presumably received permission makes it an even stronger impression that he was white hatting.

        2. Nea*

          Apparently Musk thinks he can insult his way out of messing with Senator Markey; he’s doubling down, pretending that any investigation by these committees would be personal reprisal from Senator Markey and not Congressional committees doing their business.

          This may or may not be glitter thrown in the air to distract from both Twitter’s major security breach due to Musk’s own publicly announced decision and the testimony Musk has been called to give to one of those very committees regarding Tesla.

        3. Wintermute*

          I can’t say I like the implication that making fun of a senator should matter to how he’s regulated, that seems like a really, really dangerous thing.

          You should be free to make fun of as many senators on as many committees as you like without your business facing undue scrutiny for it, and a business that is violating the law should be investigated even if they don’t mock senators.

          1. Nea*

            Ultimately I don’t think that Elon making fun of Markey is going to affect how Tesla and Twitter are regulated.

            However, Elon seems to think that by making fun of Markey he can either:
            1) Humiliate Markey into backing off (no)
            2) Convince his minions that a valid investigation is invalid because it’s personal (likely yes)

            1. Lenora Rose*

              We’re already seeing a lot of that; people intentionally taking a reminder from the Senator (that amounted to a school principal saying “You’re already in hot water for hitting people with your toy car, do you really want to call me names on top of it?”) is instead a threat of retaliation (as if the principal said “If you keep calling me names, I will call your parents and claim you hit people with your toy car.”)

              But Muskovites gonna Musk.

              1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                This is where I was going when I started this off. When you are already in trouble, it’s really not smart to add more combustibles to the fire.

                Musk, Twitter, and Tesla are already facing a decent number of legitimate investigations. The issue that the senator asked Musk about via Twitter is one of the things that Twitter is being looked into about, and that Musk is supposedly most interested in shutting down – but instead of a serious conversation, or a redirect to please give us more information so we can investigate, Musk starts flinging insults…..and honestly while you may be worth more money, at a certain point you just look and sound like a copy of another person (and former Twitter user) who I on principle refuse to name.

          2. wordswords*

            Agreed, but I don’t think the issue here is really about making fun of the senator; that’s certainly not why I’m boggling at Elon’s choices here. (Well, there are many many MANY choices of Elon’s I’m currently baffled by, but in terms of this particular action.) It’s that Senator Markey was like “hey Elon, what are you doing to address the account impersonation issue?” and he chose to take a cheap shot at him rather than make even the slightest attempt to pretend to be taking this or any of twitter’s long list of raging problems seriously.

          3. Connie-Lynne*

            While I concur with your concern, I will say that in this case, it was a good way to show the senator what the actual problem is. A lot of the time lawmakers on these committees don’t understand what the “big deal” is.

            But I do feel a little weird about that having such an impact. We should have informed people who care enough to understand the technology (or health science, or social impact, etc etc) of the public service committees they are on.

              1. MM*

                Yeah. He and/or his team are pretty good at twitter! They used it well during his primary challenge a few years ago.

          4. Jackalope*

            To me it was more something to get the senator’s attention. It reminded me of, say, a police officer giving someone a basic instruction (“Please get behind the yellow line,” or something like that), and the person responding with a comment like, “I can’t; I’m too high on meth.” If the person saying this wasn’t previously on the police officer’s radar, well, they definitely are now. Likewise, if the senator hadn’t been aware of the changes to Twitter policy (and given that there was just an election which was probably taking up a lot of space in the minds of everyone in Congress even if they weren’t running for re-election themselves), this was one way to flag it and get his attention.

          5. The balanced perspective*

            +1. And poking fun at politicians is a longstanding tradition in American political culture. Musk has the same right to do so as anyone else. Personally, a got a kick out of his response.

          6. Grammar Penguin*

            You’ve got causation reversed. It’s not the Senate committee investigating Musk because he mocked a Senator. It’s Musk mocking a Senator because a Senate committee is investigating him.

      4. Old enough to miss LiveJournal*

        A gremlin fed after midnight no less.

        The connections I’ve made on Twitter will be hard to replace. I permanently lost track of some interesting people after the LiveJournal melt down.

      5. StellaBella*

        Senator Markey. Whose Committee assignments have an impact (aside from the FTC decree) on Musk:
        COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
        Subcommittee on Communication, Media, and Broadband
        Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security
        Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries, Climate Change, and Manufacturing
        Subcommittee on Space and Science
        Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Maritime, Freight, and Ports
        COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
        Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate and Nuclear Safety (Chairman)
        COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
        Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy (Chairman)
        Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism
        Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management, International Operations, and Bilateral International Development
        Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues
        COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

    3. Keymaster of Gozer*

      From an IT professional perspective: the fact that the CIO and other information management professionals in charge of things like regulations have resigned is…err..red flags.

      (Sorry, I only just read the news articles)

      Any decent CEO upon seeing his Chief Information Officer up and leave would brick themselves, because that means something really bad is going to come to light.

      And if it happened at my current employer; the rest of IT would probably follow them out afterwards. We do not like breaking regulations.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        The CIO, chief privacy officer, chief compliance officer, and head of trust and safety all quitting at basically the same time is basically a giant neon sign that says “WE WERE ASKED TO DO SOMETHING ILLEGAL”.

        I don’t know what’s going on in there but it ain’t a good look.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Which I’m pretty sure that Musk was going to make impossible to validly certify (and they all decided reputations intact and job hunting was better than FTC violations on their records).

            1. Kevin Sours*

              The concern with FTC violations wasn’t or at least shouldn’t have been about future job hunting. That’s a lot like thinking “if I drop kick this highly unstable explosive I might not be able to go to the concert tonight”

              1. Emma*

                A big part of the deterrent effect of that kind of sanction is that you will never work in a compliance-related role again. If that’s where your experience is then you will either have to change career, or get a job for a crypto company which will eventually land you in jail instead. It’s not the only consideration, but it’s a big one with long-term impacts.

                1. Kevin Sours*

                  Yeah. But that is somewhat less important than the immediate concern of not landing in jail *right now*.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          This. This screams “We were going to stay on and embrace the change, until the new guy gave us a bunch of orders, at which point we sprinted for the exits before anything could stick to us.”

          1. nona*

            Lawyers call that a “noisy withdrawal” when they need to drop a client. In that case, they are bound by privilege to not reveal client confidential info, but they can still announce they are leaving and let other people draw conclusions.

        2. Wintermute*

          an alternate but equally likely interpretation is that they realized the new boss was going to uncover blatant mismanagement or misconduct and ran for the door before he could cut the strings on their golden parachute.

          1. Kevin Sours*

            The “new boss” openly flouted an SEC consent degree, has a history of dodgy corporate governance, and has repeatedly shown that he doesn’t think rules apply to him. “Equally likely” is … a stretch.

          2. just some guy*

            If Musk is foolish and impulsive enough to blow $44 billion on buying a company *before* doing the due diligence required to identify whether a ton of senior management were involved in “blatant mismanagement or misconduct”, that’s still not actually a great advertisement for having him as a boss.

            1. The Real Fran Fine*

              This. I don’t know why people keep acting like this man is actually intelligent. He isn’t. He’s just rich and privileged. He’s been failing up his entire life and taking credit for other people’s s&$!

          3. Wendy Darling*

            It’s definitely an alternate interpretation, but calling it equally likely really strains credulity for anyone but the most vehement Musk fanboy.

        3. Fishsticks*

          Yeah, that was my thought, too.

          “Whatever was said to those high-level individuals, they didn’t want to go to jail for going along with it while Elon skates away.”

    4. Elizabeth*

      I also saw a headline (though admittedly I didn’t click on it) that he is considering declaring bankruptcy…which is absolutely, 100% a ploy to get out of paying unemployment benefits and severance.

      At Tesla, Musk seems to take great joy in flouting basic labor law and bragging about the fact that he is doing it. There are few to no enforceable, meaningful consequences for employers baked in to US labor law, and workers in that situation are screwed. It doesn’t change the solid advice that Alison provided above, but it may mean that if things become even more intolerable, you should not feel too bad about quitting without severance and UI because odds are he will find a way to fight paying it anyway.

    5. Ally McBeal*

      Elon said recently that he doesn’t care about the legal problems because he’ll just pay the fines and move on. That’s what scares me the most for employees – the richest man in the world truly can behave however he wants until he does something that gets him clapped in handcuffs, and violating the WARN Act doesn’t fall in that category. I’m not sure he’s done anything yet to have him actually arrested – a true failure of justice, considering how many lives he’s already ruined.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        … violating the WARN Act doesn’t fall in that category.

        Which, since the company is headquartered in San Francisco makes it mostly subject to California law, he decidedly did.

        In the close knit world of DevOps, Security and Linux Operations, there are a number of folks nervous about what Muskrat will do or allow to happen to user data. He got rid of the security team, which is a big “WTF?”. My network has several people who worked for Twitter, and got the axe very suddenly. I have interviewed at Twitter, and while I wasn’t the right fit for that position, I was willing to try again at some point. Now, not a chance.

        Then again, there is only one time where a company that I was with that “merged” or got bought out wasn’t a total disaster, just a very slow decline. If it was me and an industry “maverick” like Musk was working a deal to buy my company I’d be frantically circulating resumes before the deal went final, especially with as public as the whole thing was, with Musk talking smack about what he was gonna do.

        I’m sorry for the people who got laid off, and sorry for the people left to try to work with an unhinged man-child like Musk. The whole thing is an epic disaster, like a series of sequential train wrecks at the same crossing.

        1. Kevin Sours*

          At this point people should assume that any information they have ever given to Twitter is public.

        2. Connie-Lynne*

          I’m not so sure about that definite WARN act violation. I’ve seen other tech companies do the “we just give you 60 days pay in lieu of pre-notification” thing and none of them ever got in trouble. Of course, none of them were as visible as what’s going on at Twitter, but it seems a fairly common loophole?

          I dearly would *like* for him to get nailed for WARN violations. I just have very little faith it will actually happen.

      2. Robin Ellacott*

        I read a quote somewhere that said “punishable with a fine” just means “legal for rich people.”

        Good wishes and solidarity to OP.

    6. Kevin Sours*

      I will say that there are lawyers lining up to represent Twitter employees on contingency. If nothing else you should easily be able to discuss your case briefly with one at no cost to see if there is something you should pursue.

    7. Rex Libris*

      I’ve read it’s actually fairly common for authoritarians to do this intentionally. Sowing mass chaos makes it difficult for their opponents to focus on pursuing any one particular offense, and diffuses their resources.

  3. Empress Matilda*

    Good luck, and I’m sorry something you helped build is being needlessly destroyed.

    And also so publicly. It’s one thing to needlessly destroy an organization like this in secret, but I imagine it’s another level of hell to have it splashed all over the internet like this. “Chaos goblin,” indeed.

    Best of luck to you and your colleagues, whatever you decide.

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      A friend of mine was laid off from Twitter last week and she says that while not having a job & job searching (while pregnant!) is not fun, she’s never been so glad to escape a workplace. The bees have descended en masse apparently.

        1. Miette*

          Speaking as a person who’s been through this before, being one of the “last standing” is a lot worse. There’s no money left for severance, and if the company goes the way of the dodo, no COBRA either for your healthcare.

      1. QA Peon*

        I was laid off from Borders a few years before their death throes and was SO GLAD. I got severance and my stress decreased immediately (and I was already interviewing elsewhere because the writing was on the wall if you were looking). I can’t imagine what it would be like at Twitter right now, on top of being pregnant.

    2. Curious*

      One silver lining: in most cases, explaining that you were fired unjustly involves a delicate dance. Here, you communicate the insanity of your former employer just by saying “I was fired from Elon Musk’s Twitter.”

      1. El+l*

        So true!

        Pretty much all of the typical job interview questions – your skills, why are you leaving, and so on – can be answered with, “I survived the first round of layoffs at Elon Musk’s Twitter.”

      2. Warrior Princess Xena*

        So true! This is one of those rare times when one can say “I was laid off from X” and know that any reasonable manager will go “ah” and move on immediately. And anyone who holds it against you automatically outs themselves as unreasonable.

      3. Connie-Lynne*

        You don’t even need to say Musk’s name. Just “I used to work for Twitter.”

        In 2012 when I was interviewing people for my team, I quit asking “why are you moving on from your current position” and also “what interests you about [then-employer] because the answer so frequently started “well, I’m currently at Yahoo! …”

    3. Elbe*

      The upside is that there’s a lot of sympathy for Twitter workers right now. Everyone knows that he’s making poor decisions in his firing, so I don’t think it will reflect negatively on the LW if she’s let go.

      1. Baffled Teacher*

        Yeah I can’t imagine there’s a tech employer—or any employer—on earth who would need you to say anything once they saw “Twitter” on your resume haha

      2. Software Engineer*

        Yes

        The downside is this is a terrible time to be job searching, with so many companies having to tighten their belts right now and hiring has slowed drastically

  4. Critical Rolls*

    My heartfelt sympathies to those having their hard work and their livelihoods tossed into this tornado of recklessness.

    1. MigraineMonth*

      This. I can’t even imagine working in such a chaotic environment; it seems moments away from devolving into some kind of hunger games battle royale.

      LW, it’s time to put your own (and your family’s) needs first, since no one else is watching out for you at this point. Take all the vacation you can, unplug as much as possible, take a bubble bath or a hike in the woods with your cell phone turned off, network with your colleagues who have jumped to safer ships, and keep that pay/healthcare for your family as long as you can without doing real harm to your mental health. Grieve for your losses, then detach, detach, detach.

      Unfortunately, you aren’t in a position to shield those you manage, since the situation is just completely untenable. Try to let go of your feelings of obligation to them; I think the best thing you can do for your reports right now is promise them great references and a recommendation wherever you find a safe landing place.

    2. Elbe*

      Agreed, I have so much sympathy for people who work there.

      So many people are treating this like a spectator sport, and I’ve heard a lot of hot takes along the lines of “He’s rich and it’s his money. He bought the company so he can tank it if he wants. It’s his to do with as he pleases.”

      And that mindset makes me incredibly sad. People are relying on these jobs to support themselves and their families. Twitter users are relying on the platform to promote their work. Companies have lost millions in value due to the changes in verification procedures.

      This is real. There are real people who are suffering because mega wealthy jerks like Musk act like a company comprised of human beings is a toy.

      1. Jackalope*

        Yes, it’s so frustrating. The employees matter. Those of us who use it matter. And he doesn’t think he has to care. I kind of hope that it sends him all the way bankrupt, like start all over while on food stamps bankrupt. I think that’s a life lesson he could stand to learn. (Or rather, a whole bunch of life lessons.)

  5. Veryanon*

    I’m so sorry this is happening to you, OP, and to your colleagues. I really enjoyed using Twitter; it’s the only social I’m on, as I left Facebook several years ago and I never quite got the hang of using Instagram or Snapchat. I’m really sorry that the Chaos Goblin (I’m stealing that expression) is wantonly destroying what was a great source of information and entertainment. I hope it works out for you and your colleagues.

  6. Nopity Nope*

    Honestly, getting fired from Twitter at this point is unlikely to be a blot on your record. Sane hiring managers know what’s going on. Easy to explain pretty much any exit from the company at this juncture.

    So, as Alison says, perhaps keep at it until you find a new job and/or cannot stomach it any longer. Depending on your family situation, you may want to check your options for COBRA or the national/your state’s insurance marketplace so you are prepared in the event that you do need to exit before finding a new role.

    This sucks, wishing you good luck.

    1. Lance*

      Absolutely on that first point. If someone’s hanging around social media at all these days, it’s pretty hard to miss just how fast things are going downhill at that company thanks to the new ownership; enough that most people probably wouldn’t even need a reason for why you’re leaving.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think the LW’s concern about being fired is no severance or less favorable severance, not the stigma (which I agree will be non-existent in this case).

      1. Avril Ludgateaux*

        Depending on where OP is, would they not have a case for constructive dismissal in the event they were terminated with cause? It sounds like the conditions of their job have wildly and unfavorably changed from when they signed on. I would imagine a lot of Twitter’s dev and engineering staff have contracts, as well.

        It’s widely suspected Musk is trying to get people to quit to avoid paying severance. They’d be in better shape letting themselves be fired, even, because a mass layoff disguised as mass firings will nonetheless call the attention of regulatory bodies and lawyers.

        1. Yorick*

          Isn’t it basically constructive dismissal to tell them on Wednesday that as of Thursday their job is in-person when it was remote before?

          1. Viki*

            I think it depends if the position was always remote, or was a remote because of pandemic remote.

            If it’s the former, there’s a strong case/easy case, if it’s the latter than it’s harder, because the position only became remote because of the pandemic and it’s not “unreasonable” to think that after two, almost three years and the influx of vaccines etc, that return to offices can happen.

            1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

              But with zero notice? Like, in comparison, it would be reasonable for a company to say “We are moving the office to the other side of the city and your commute will change.” Annoying – now employees need to find a new bus route, make different school drop-off arrangements, etc – but totally legal.

              But it wouldn’t be so reasonable for them to say “…and this will start tomorrow, and if you show up five minutes after 8 am, you’re fired.”

            2. Connie-Lynne*

              Twitter’s previous CEO famously publicly stated that Twitter will always be remote as of approximately a year ago, so, yeah, I think constructive dismissal is a good case for most current Twitter employees.

              1. The balanced perspective*

                I respectfully submit that promises that an entire workplace will “always be remote” are not credible.

                I think employees (particularly those that made long distance moves) need some degree of notice before being recalled to the office, but the recall itself is not problematic.

                1. Grammar Penguin*

                  Twitter was mostly remote from the very beginning of the company, long before such a thing became as common as it is now. Why wouldn’t it be credible that they would continue what they’d already been doing?

                2. HA2*

                  Why wouldn’t it be credible?

                  I’m on a team right now that’s fully remote, everyone on it has been hired fully remote, none of us have ever worked in-person at this company, why is it “not credible” for this to continue?

          2. Irish Teacher*

            Apparently, he responded to Irish complaints about this by saying that if people had logistical reasons for working at home, they could. I do not know if this refers specifically to Irish staff or to twitter staff in general (he said it’s the same rules as Tesla and SpaceX, which implies the latter) or if he is lying/backtracking, because he just tweeted this in response to tweets complaining that it simply isn’t POSSIBLE for twitter staff to move to Dublin due to the housing crisis.

            https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2022/1113/1335810-twitter-hybrid-working/

            Like I said, I have no idea if there is any truth to this or if he is just tweeting randomly.

          3. Some Dude*

            It is. Especially when tech in general has been slow to come back IRL, people have moved out of the Bay Area, and the Bay Area is very expensive to relocate to. There was a huge exodus of young tech workers during the pandemic because they were living in crowded apartments in a city that you could no longer enjoy, so they moved out of the area. Some moved to the burbs around SF, but many moved far away.

            If you are in other areas of the country this might not seem like a big deal, but at best workplaces in the SF Bay Area are “hybrid” which means anything from 3 days a week in person to once a month, at best. I work in san francisco and downtown is still a bit of a ghost town, with a slight surge on Tuesdays and Thursdays which are common in-person days.

            So telling folks they are in person as of tomorrow OR ELSE is effectively firing a bunch of folks who won’t have time to get their from Boise or San Luis or wherever they are.

            1. RVA Cat*

              This, plus he announced right before midnight when people are asleep, so they effectively have 1 or 2 hours’ notice when they wake up.

        2. Kevin Sours*

          Actual contracts of employment mostly don’t exist in US tech. Somehow the “employment agreement” you sign and are expected to abide by isn’t a contract of employment. It even says so.

          But this is definitely an ignore online blather and seek competent advice situation. Because with things like the WARN act in play it’s complicated and some things that are normally true may not be.

      2. C.*

        If that’s the case though, why does it matter? Even with no severance after a firing, staying employed for the time being means staying employed, holding on to benefits and likely getting at least one more paycheck. There is no argument that quitting would be in the person’s financial best interest so I don’t get why speculating about the likelihood of getting fired versus a layoff is germane.

        It seems to me like both the question and your answer to it were more an excuse to get Twitter related clicks than to really explore the pros and cons of this particular decision.

    3. Oh Snap!*

      I agree.

      Also, it seems like there is so much chaos right now, that there won’t be any spotlight on you in particular. If you DON’T come in 40 hours a week, will anyone notice or care? If you don’t actually do any work, will anyone notice or care?

      If you can stomach it, I would just keep doing the bare minimum, be a resource for your team, and search hard for other jobs. You can’t control or influence the crazy.

      1. Observer*

        Also, it seems like there is so much chaos right now, that there won’t be any spotlight on you in particular. If you DON’T come in 40 hours a week, will anyone notice or care? If you don’t actually do any work, will anyone notice or care?

        Except that there are some things that Elon DOES care about – so much so that he’s diverting scarce resources to them. Like he required HR to do a payroll audit before issuing severance checks to people who were being fired, to make sure that they were actually real employees. Given his attitude, I’d be willing to bet that he’s going to require that resources are expended on policing this rather (or in addition) to the things that REALLY need to get done.

        1. Emma*

          He also appears to have fired an employee for contradicting him – Musk tweeted some nonsense comment about Twitter performance issues, an employee QTed him to say that the system in question doesn’t work the way Musk implied, and shortly thereafter his devices were locked remotely and he was fired without notice. This is one person’s story, and it’s second-hand, so take that into account, but if I were working at twitter I would be keeping my head down.

        2. Grammar Penguin*

          Lol at the image of Musk realizing he just ordered an audit after firing the entire security and analytics teams and now nobody there knows how to access, let alone analyze, the necessary data. At a company whose only actual product for sale (targeted advertising) depends entirely on its ability to analyze data.

      2. Just Another Techie*

        At most places with sane and modern security infra, it’s pretty easy to pull a report from the badge readers to see who was on-site.

    4. Observer*

      Honestly, getting fired from Twitter at this point is unlikely to be a blot on your record. Sane hiring managers know what’s going on. Easy to explain pretty much any exit from the company at this juncture.

      Yeah, that was my first thought. Anyone who has an issue at this point is not someone you want to work for.

  7. iglwif*

    LW, I’m so sorry you are in this situation. I have no advice either, but an enormous amount of sympathy. I can’t imagine how much it must suck to see something you’ve worked hard on get so recklessly shredded in front of the entire world.

  8. Laura*

    As others have commented, I have no advice, only that this is horrific to watch from the outside. Stick it out to keep your insurance guilt-free as Alison says, and good luck finding a new role in a more sane environment.

    1. Bridie*

      If waiting to get fired means you can collect unemployment, that might be the way to go. I don’t think you even have an ethical obligation to do good work until that point, the way things are going, so I would just look at what gets you the most money/benefits.

  9. @aita_online*

    My condolences to you, seriously, for having to work for such an unpredictable maniac. I really feel for you and everybody else working there (or who were recently working for you). Thanks for all your work!

  10. MedGal*

    I believe leaving your job allows your spouse to enroll in their companies health insurance as a qualifying life event. Something to keep in mind if your spouse also works.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Yes, there are certain qualifying “life events” that allow you to enroll in health insurance outside of the open enrollment period. They include: birth of a child, getting married, and losing health insurance you had from a different source.

      So if OP has a spouse, OP losing their job/health insurance and the spouse losing the health insurance they have through OP would qualify the spouse to enroll themselves and their family on their workplaces health plan outside of the open enrollment window. (Assuming, of course, that OP has a spouse and their spouse has a job that offers health insurance. But knowing the qualifying events for health insurance enrollment is a good thing for everyone to be aware of.)

    2. I’m Not A Cat*

      I recently questioned my PEO about this as my husband wants to leave his job but I was told it doesn’t apply if it’s voluntary (would have to be termination to be eligible for a qualifying life event). Maybe it’s different in other places but don’t count on this!

        1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

          I work for a health insurance company — Alison is correct.

          We have 45 different eligibility periods for just one line of business, and only one of those is the normal open enrollment period. It’s always good to check with the spouse’s insurance company, but no longer having a job so you’ve lost coverage (no matter how it happened) is 100% a qualifying life event.

          1. Omelette*

            Yeah, if you *voluntarily* drop your health coverage, you’re not eligible for a special enrollment period, but if you voluntarily leave your job and that results in you *involuntarily* losing your health coverage, you are eligible.

      1. Jessiethefirst*

        Probably just a misunderstanding – “termination” is the legal language that means “stopped working at the employer” and for cobra, termination is a qualifying event. Doesn’t matter if you resign or if you’re laid off or fired” you and your spouse and your dependents have a qualifying event and can sign up for health insurance.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          True. I was let go from my last gig because I couldn’t pass a clearance (for reasons I told them about when interviewing!) and I was eligible for COBRA. Ergo, a qualifying event.

    3. GlitterIsEverything*

      This is correct. LW, assuming you have a spouse, and that they are working somewhere that offers insurance, I’d suggest having them check with their HR folks now about getting on their insurance should you no longer have employment with Twitter. That’s not to say you need to switch immediately; but having the knowledge of what to do should you need it is helpful.

      Also, when you’re thinking about this, consider what the COBRA costs will be on an interim basis vs what your spouse’s premiums are. COBRA is generally significantly more expensive than people expect, and even a not-great premium sharing percentage with your spouse’s insurance may be less expensive than COBRA for family coverage.

      And keep in mind that using your spouse’s insurance can also be temporary – at worst, until open enrollment next year.

      1. Purple Cat*

        This is the most important thing to understand about COBRA. You don’t have to enroll right away, you can skate until you have coverage at a new job. BUT if you do end up needing health insurance, you will have to back-pay to your termination date.

        1. Hannah Lee*

          Yes, there are several gates, each with time to act on them.

          The first gate is COBRA *election* – you notifying your employer you want to elect coverage. I think you have 60 days after you receive notice of eligibility to elect coverage. And it can be retroactive to the date you lost your original coverage.

          The second gate is payment of the first COBRA premium – You have I think 45 days from the date you elected coverage before your first payment is due.

          As always, check the official notices, and your state regulations as well. But in any case, you likely have a good chunk of time before you have to sign up or pay anything.

    4. glitter writer*

      Yup. My spouse is leaving their job at the end of the month (not at Twitter, haha) and I am able to switch our family to my employer’s health insurance as a qualifying life event.

    5. Ashley*

      If the spouse’s plan is not an option, the marketplace might be checking for your area. You may want to price it in open enrollment even if you don’t quit for the peace of mind of not having your family health insurance tied to such an unstable place.

  11. idwtpaun*

    Firstly, all my sympathy to you, OP. I can’t imagine the stress.

    I love Twitter, I’m on it all the time, and there isn’t currently a replacement social media site that would connect me to my personal social circle and news of the world at large with equal convenience. It will be very difficult for me to replace it, but at this point I assume the website will just go dark at some point in the next two weeks. So I imagine working there is the same – you just assume your job will disappear soon, you just don’t when. That’s no way to live! I wouldn’t blame any Twitter employee for “saving themselves”, however that looks like.

    As an AAM letter, this one is interesting because for once, Alison (and we, the readers) have pretty much all of the context. Must be a weird experience for the OP as well, to write in while knowing full well that their place of employment is on fire in front of the entire world. It would be like a celebrity in the middle of a scandalous divorce writing to a relationship advice blog.

    1. plynn*

      In my head I’m composing what this letter would sound like if it was anonymized and we didn’t know it was Twitter/Elon Musk. It would be truly epic and definitely a Worst Boss of the Year contender:

      -The boss who emailed all remote workers at 11:30 pm on Wednesday and told them they were no longer remote, starting Thursday
      -The boss who announced new projects on Twitter before telling employees
      -The boss who brought an entire sink to work on his first day

      Vote for any of them, it’s all the same Worst Boss!

      1. Remote no longer*

        My employer informed us on a Thursday afternoon that all workers were required to report to work on site on Monday. That was 4 weeks ago. So far, two people have left, two others are working out their 2 weeks notice, one other is rumored to be putting in notice this week. The remaining one guy is overworked, and the two managers are looking pretty stressed. Fortunately for us, the job market for our qualifications is really good right now.

    2. Nina*

      Well, we know who the winner of Worst Boss Of The Year will be for 2022. Massive thanks to LW for putting the Muskrat in the running for the title.

  12. Michelle Smith*

    Ramp up the job search ASAP. Your credentials (coming from Twitter) make you incredibly attractive right now. The best support you can offer your team is to be honest with them that you know things are terrible and you’re sorry. Once you’re gone, if they are still there, offer them references and assistance with connecting to people in your network who are hiring. Talk them up on LinkedIn. That kind of thing. They’re not stupid. They know everything is on fire. You can’t stop that or shield them so don’t get all in your feelings about it. Control what you can and be sympathetic to everyone else and they’ll take care of themselves.

    1. Pocket Mouse*

      The best support would be to offer them references, networking, and accolades on LinkedIn *now* rather than waiting until you yourself have left. They’re likely making the same calculations you are. Especially if you are interested in potentially hiring/working with them in the future, you want them to have confidence in you as a manager who has their backs.

      1. Smithy*

        I agree with this.

        With any period of great chaos, people will be less certain and inclined to behave even more conservatively than before. Therefore, a direct report who “knew” how you’d behave pre-Elon might be less certain now and more inclined to adhere to more conservative workplace advice (i.e. don’t tell your supervisor you’re looking for new work as that may make you top of the list for layoffs).

        Finding safe (i.e. not on workplace channels) and supportive (i.e. only if they want it) ways to reach out to direct reports to let them know you’re available for that support now would be great.

      2. old curmudgeon*

        Cosigned. When I worked for a former employer that I knew damned well was imploding (couldn’t come out and say the words due to accounting ethics regs), I spent a whole lot of time both before and after I escaped offering connections, references, networking, introductions and cheerleading to those who were left behind. It’s scary as hell watching your livelihood wither before your eyes, and a simple expression of support, even coming from someone in a similar situation to your own, can make a difference.

        Solidarity with OP and their staff/colleagues – I wish you speedy and successful escapes, and I hope that in the near future, you’ll be able to enjoy some Schadenfreude as you watch your erstwhile honcho shoot himself in the foot, probably repeatedly.

      3. Hosta*

        I’d also make sure everyone has a physical record of names and contact information for anyone they might want to use as a reference, and has quietly taken home anything personal they want to keep. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect people will be suddenly laid off without a chance to get in and retrieve personal items/ get ahold of contact info

        1. Janeric*

          Yeah, make sure that your team has your personal contact info (and assure them of a positive reference at any time!) and then make sure YOU have that info for your references.

          Happily the in-person office requirement means that you’ll be able to disseminate that information under the radar.

        2. Ariaflame*

          Well until they were forced to come in they were all remote so don’t take anything personal in may be the best advice

    2. CL*

      This. I’m not at Twitter but similarly dealing with a new boss that is coming through with a wrecking ball. Update your profile on LinkedIn. Start posting more regularly. Reach out to your network and get your references in line. Get any training/certifications you may need. My goal is to get out on my own terms, so I don’t have to worry about firing/severance.

    3. Nesprin*

      It’s also a great time to use up benefits- schedule checkups/dental/vision benefits while you can, make sure FSA is spent out, etc. If you’re in CA, your vacation time is paid out at termination, whereas sick leave usually isn’t, so save your vacation and spend your sick.

  13. lost academic*

    I have so much sympathy for Twitter employees right now and it only grows as every large tech company makes breaking news as they announce large layoffs. Regardless of how we feel about the level of compensation of the average programmer at places like these compared to perhaps the average American, being faced with the reality that you might not be able to predict when you will be fired and when you might be able to find a job again is brutal. Amazon just announced their own layoffs, though given their headcount it’s not as much of a percentage.

    The advice I’d give anyone but especially at Twitter is twofold – search fast for options and do your best to cling to your paycheck while you can do so – physically, emotionally, ethically. Know when to fold ’em.

    1. President Porpoise*

      I hadn’t heard about Amazon – but I did see that Meta is laying off about 13000 employees.

      Best of luck, OP. This is a garbage situation.

      1. Observer*

        It’s 11K and 13% of their workforce.

        I’m no fan of Zuckerberg, but the way Meta is handling their layoffs is like a different planet from Twitter.

        1. President Porpoise*

          Thanks for the correction! And yeah – totally different beast. My worry is just that there seems to be a lot of tech professionals suddenly on the market…

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            That’s my worry too. And with most tech jobs now being remote, that’ll send ripples all through the job market nationwide.

            I was thinking of starting my own search again sooner rather than later, but now that the market is suddenly flooded with people that are far more attractive candidates than I am, I feel I have to postpone that for quite a while.

      2. Irish Teacher*

        I literally read about twitter maybe 10 minutes ago. I am both really sorry for all the employees involved and very concerned about the impact on the economy.

    2. Sloanicota*

      I’m also just sad that in our culture, a functioning company with humane employee culture is seen as “ripe” for someone authoritarian to come in and push this needlessly cost-cutting capitalist approach (in this case, not even successfully) with 60-plus-hour weeks, stressed out engineers, and monetization of everybody that uses the platform. I realize that Twitter was only marginally profitable but they managed to pay the bills and create something brilliant for a while. I aspire to work at a place that treats employees so well. I would not aspire to work at any place Musk touches.

      1. Observer*

        Well, Twitter was actually NOT a well functioning company.

        That doesn’t excuse Musk at ALL, but there were significant issues there, which is why Jack Dorsey encouraged Musk’s takeover. And the fact that Dorsey thought it was a good idea was a symptom of some of the problems that plagued the company. Because LOTS of people predicted that things would not go well. Sure, most people didn’t realize HOW bad it would be, but I heard a LOT of commentary from people with a clue worrying about this. How did Dorsey not realize this?

        1. Sloanicota*

          So, I don’t know a lot about this and I’ll be curious to hear what others say, but there was apparently millions of ad revenue for Musk to lose. Maybe the company was bloated or still dependent on venture capital, but it was bringing in some kind of income.

          1. Observer*

            Yes, it was bringing income, but that’s the whole story. It certainly does not mean that the company was functional.

            Anyone who was paying attention to the whole mess knew that.

        2. Kevin Sours*

          There were problems. None of which were solved by saddling the company with a billions a year in additional interest payments to save Elon some cash on the purchase price.

          1. Observer*

            Well, duh!

            That’s not the most egregious thing about the whole mess, but it is the easiest thing to point to. And it’s a clear enough issue that I’m having a hard time figuring out why anyone is defending Musk. I mean maybe you REALLY don’t understand the other stuff, but how hard is it to understand and $13B in debt is a lot for any company, especially one that was not really making enough money to be profitable.

        3. Hannah Lee*

          I feel like this is following the same progression as the run up and aftermath of the 2015 US presidential election cycle.

          Many many people both inside the industry/organization and outside it could tell from miles away that having a particular person in a leadership position had a high risk of chaotic, potentially purposefully mean-spirited, destruction, burning it all down.

          The people with power (at the top) to head off the disaster or throw their support any *other* options refused to do it, instead threw their endorsement to an ego centric chaos troll. Other people either rode that wave for for their own purposes, for entertainment value, because they wanted to burn things down or because they drank the Kool Aid about the “disruptive but visionary leader” . People who could see the train wreck coming from space didn’t have enough power or the right strategy to stop it.

          The chaos troll got the top spot. And then managed to be even worse than even their strongest critics ever imagined.

          1. Observer*

            The chaos troll got the top spot. And then managed to be even worse than even their strongest critics ever imagined.

            Yup. Unfortunately.

            1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

              And we are nowhere close to being done dealing with the fallout of that.

              That is a great analogy. RIP Twitter, that I just started enjoying (had an account for over a decade but wasn’t active until early this year).

        4. Cthulhu's Librarian*

          My grandfather once pointed that the absolute worst thing he could do about the contractor that was dragging out a house build was sue the guy and get a court order compelling the contractor to finish the project. Begging, pleading, offering more money, just eating the loss and getting a new builder were all infinitely better choices, precisely because there was no way to control how well the construction would actually be completed if the work was compelled.

          How bad Elon’s tantrum was going to be when it became pretty clear he was going to be compelled to buy the company after having said he wanted out of the deal is something I think a LOT of people underestimated, but we all probably should have realized there was going to be a tantrum.

      2. Cat Tree*

        There was a delightful tweet I read a while ago: Elon Musk is the Thomas Edison of our generation, and I mean that as a slur.

        1. anonymous 5*

          …particularly appropriate in conjunction with the physics joke “What do you call a stolen Tesla?” (answer: an Edison)

        2. Nina*

          Speaking of which – Penelope Scott’s song Rät is more apropos than ever just now and is full of similar delightful sentiments.

    3. Some Dude*

      Yeah, it’s brutal, especially because tech has always been an employees market from what I’ve heard. So now there are tons of brutal layoffs and hiring freezes, which means that the thousands of folks laid off in the SF bay area will have a harder than normal time finding a new job.

      And while I don’t love how the tech industry has skewed the cost of living in the bay area, it sucks to see so many people have the rug ripped out from under them…and that pain is going to roll down to the rest of us in the form of fewer people eating out/buying stuff/etc.

  14. NeutralJanet*

    The one good thing about all this public mess is that I doubt any sane and reasonable hiring manager will penalize you for getting fired or for resigning without another job lined up, so there’s that! I realize that might not be a huge consolation for you at the moment, and it doesn’t solve your immediate problems, but this will probably not have the kind of negative influence on your future career than if you were fired unreasonably by any other employer and had to explain why it happened.

    1. Betsy S*

      Yes I had the same thought. The reasons for leaving are all over the news; understandable reasons for staying include caring for your people and your customers and this thing you built, as well as wanting to take your time and find the right new thing.

      Biggest challenge may be hiring managers wanting to push you for gossip.

      I’m guessing, from what I’ve seen in my own life, that a lot of the best employees will find good landing places and be reaching out to hire folks they know. If there’s any sort of group out there that includes BOTH former AND current employees, find it and join it (and if there isn’t, may want to create it) I’m sure there are private groups already (facebook?) for ex-employees. These groups are golden.

    1. Parenthesis Dude*

      The max amount of unemployment in California is $450 a week or $25k a year. This person is probably making at least $200k. It’s a drop in the bucket.

        1. Parenthesis Dude*

          A cushion would cover the necessities. Things like rent and food. The only way this would cover rent and food in California is if you lived in a single room with a roommate. Being eligible for unemployment is practically useless for someone in this position.

        2. Curmudgeon in California*

          Heh, no. It’s like a child’s water wings being the sole flotation device for a full grown adult. It’s a “cushion” in that it might take you three months to go broke instead of one. It’s basically a giant “F you” to tech workers who get laid off regularly. If you don’t have savings or sellable stock you are probably screwed

          Am I bitter? Yes. It hasn’t changed in over a decade, but everything else costs twice as much. Plus, the older and/or more senior you are the longer it takes to find a job.

    2. moose*

      even if twitter says the person is being fired for cause, if the person hasn’t committed misconduct i *think* they should be eligible for unemployment. definitely worth trying, even if it’s not as straightforward as it would be when the company is admitting it’s a layoff.

      1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

        Yes, in my state at least, every situation is judged on its own merits. If the job description is suddenly rewritten to require people to grow their own wings and personally verify accounts, UI would consider this as eligible for benefits, even if the company says it’s “with cause.”

  15. I'm A Little Teapot*

    OP – job search, and tighten your budget. Financial security is going to be the best help you can get in this situation. So, make the hard cuts to your budget and throw as much money into savings that you can. Hopefully you can find a new job, hopefully your spouse (if you have one), is employed somewhere more secure. Hopefully you can build a large cash cushion in case you are fired or laid off.

    Yes, the situation sucks. Take care of yourself as best you can.

    1. California Limited*

      Agreed – save as much as you can while you’re working there. I’d also say, don’t give your work at Twitter any more time than you have to. Spend your time on your job search. Explore recruiting firms. Do you have a career coach? And talk with your significant other to come up with a plan together.

      And I’m so sorry. My position got eliminated earlier this year after a merger and it was hard. This situation just sucks. Please know, whatever happens, IT’S NOT YOU.

    2. Observer*

      job search, and tighten your budget. Financial security is going to be the best help you can get in this situation. So, make the hard cuts to your budget and throw as much money into savings that you can.

      Yup.

  16. François Caron*

    If it’s any reassurance, I doubt any future employer will care about how you lost your job under Musk’s ownership. Definitely start looking for another job before your current job implodes into oblivion.

    1. Nicki Name*

      If you are affected by any big, well-known event in your industry, you can figure you don’t need to explain your personal journey to interviewers (although future coworkers might be interested in salacious details if you feel like spilling them).

      Until I stopped listing my graduation date on my resume, I had a big gap between it and the dates of my first software job. But I would always start my answer to “Tell me about yourself” with “I graduated into the dot-com collapse”, and that would result in a sympathetic nod and no questions about the gap.

  17. Parenthesis Dude*

    It’s highly unlikely they’re going to focus on firing one person to avoid paying severance. They might fire you because you can’t do the job.

    But Alison nails it with this sentence, “There’s also the risk that even if you’re laid off, the company might be in so much financial trouble at that point that they won’t have the money for severance that they have right now.” That’s what I’d worry about.

    1. Hannah Lee*

      That caution from Alison reminds me of the time the tech company I worked at shut down, laying off everyone with no notice (though most of us figured it was coming).
      They gave everyone their severance checks on the last day (instead of paying through direct deposit) The person distributing the checks told everyone …
      “This check is drawn on such and such bank. The closest two branches are here and here.
      Go to that bank as soon as you can and cash the check. Get cash or a bank to deposit in your bank.
      Do NOT simply deposit in at your bank and wait for it to clear.
      And when I say “as soon as possible” I mean today, like right now if you can.”

      Because there wasn’t enough cash available to pay all the employees and all the suppliers and all the finance companies and everyone else the company owed money too. And the payroll person wanted all the employees to get their pay before the big creditors (and the C-Suite) with lawyers got in line for theirs.

  18. cardigarden*

    Hey, OP– I wish I had better advice, but I’m sending you so much sympathy. I have family in tech and they seem keen on snapping up people from Twitter, so finding something new may not be all that difficult at the moment. It’s admirable that you want to support your team during this heinously difficult time, but fwiw, you probably also don’t want to be the one turning out the lights.

    1. Daniel*

      OP, please keep this in mind! The job market for you will probably be very good–please start investing time into that.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Honestly I would support your current team by being as transparent as possible about what is happening and being a reference (an honest one) when they are applying. If you’ve all had a good working relationship before they are unlikely to blame you for the owner throwing a chaos grenade into their workplace.

    3. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      I’ve got a friend who got caught up in the first round of layoffs. She posted on LinkedIn this morning, and people are already working on connecting her with potential new job opportunities. If you’ve got friends/colleagues/relatives working in either tech companies, or companies with major in-house tech (big retail, insurance, finance) ask if they know anyone who’s hiring. (And I see no reason not to send some of these opportunities to members of your team if they seem appropriate, although you probably want to use everyone’s personal email addresses for this part.)

      As someone who does a lot of interviewing, if I got a resume from a (soon to be) ex-Tweep, I wouldn’t even ask why they’re interviewing.

  19. Eldritch Office Worker*

    Is unemployment a factor here? I would hold out until you either have a new job or get laid off so unemployment can be collected. Though quite possibly you could still collect unemployment if you quit…I’m a little murky on the process of proving “good cause” for quitting but if there was ever a situation to claim it this feels like it.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s very hard to get unemployment if you quit; you have to show it was nearly impossible to stay. This situation is unlikely to qualify (despite seeming impossible in layperson’s terms).

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        Plus unemployment insurance in California is a joke. A maximum of $450/week ($1800/month), which barely pays my mortgage which is relatively low because I bought during a dip. This is the equivalent of $11.25/hour for 40 hours, which is less than minimum wage in some CA jurisdictions.

      2. Jackalope*

        Question: could people get unemployment for constructive dismissal as a result of, say, the demand for a return to in-office work in 8 hours? Someone living in another state or region, for example, where it’s not possible to come into the office?

      3. Heffalump*

        Last I read up on this issue, I don’t remember what state I was living in. But my source said that for you to quit voluntarily and draw unemployment, your working condititions have to have been “shockingly harsh.”

    2. just another bureaucrat*

      Very unlikely that you’d qualify for unemployment, it would depend on the state of course, but this wouldn’t be “good cause”. You want to be extremely careful of that because that is a legal term not a casual one so while it might seem like good cause there are legal things around what it is not just how it sounds. And if you relied on the likelihood of getting unemployment based on that (which is pretty to very rare) you’d be making a pretty risky move. And that’s not counting how much money it is and for how long it would last.

  20. Neon*

    Punch the clock, make agreeable noises, do the absolute minimum you have to, and get paid while you look for another job.

    1. Cat Tree*

      Yes, THIS is the right time for “quiet quitting”. Do the bare minimum to collect your paycheck and save the rest of your energy for job searching.

  21. DrSalty*

    I’m assuming you’re actively job searching, LW — I hope you find a new, better position soon that renders this question moot!

  22. Ragged and Rusty*

    I like Alison’s advice of stick it out as long as you can. Unfortunately/fortunately the Twitter dumpster fire is very public, so it’s much easier to answer “why are you looking to leave.”
    Job search while you’re employed and have insurance, you have a ton of marketable skills. Good luck, I’m sorry it’s ending this way.

  23. Falling Diphthong*

    Staying at least gives you an ongoing income and health insurance.

    I think this cuts right to the heart of it. It’s okay to want to hold onto those things while you job hunt. (Unless your employer is ordering you to do illegal stuff.)

    But don’t hold on in the belief that you will get a good severance package if you’re just patient enough. Sometimes “severance” is two weeks’ pay–and in fact the trend is that the most generous packages are usually to the first people out the door. If that doesn’t move the company into the black (and I really don’t think it will here) then there’s less money to put into generous (or any) severance for later rounds.

    1. Jeebs*

      Agreed. The severance for the first set of layoffs was paid out of Twitter’s pre-Musk coffers. The longer he has the reins and the more he depletes those funds, the less I’d count on any real severance being on the table for anyone.

      1. Gracely*

        Also, 2 months of the severance for that first set of layoffs was done at least partly to address the WARN act. If he bankrupts the company, I have no idea if the WARN act still applies.

  24. calvin blick*

    I feel awful for Twitter employees. Maybe Elon Musk’s changes will somehow against all odds work out, but many of them seem to be done as cruelly as possible for the sake of bullying. Maybe having people in the office will help, but giving people literally eight hours notice is plainly unreasonable with zero benefit for the company. And I don’t see how there could possibly be millions of people willing to pay $8/month to make content for Twitter. (MAYBE there are millions who would pay to consume content, but there can’t be that many people wanting to make it big on twitter).

    Telsa’s insanely high valuation (it is currently more valuable that the next few car companies put together) is largely because of Musk’s charisma (which doesn’t do anything for me but obviously I’m an outlier). Given the quality and service issues with Telsa, it’s hard for me to see how Telsa keeps being this valuable, and easy to see how it might go into an Uber/Meta/Snapchat-style tailspin.

    On the other hand, even after a bad financial year, Musk is worth $175 billion and I’m not, so maybe he knows better than me. But it does feel his luck has to run out at some point

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I’m down to:
      a) Musk rationally believes there is some benefit to him if he can completely destroy Twitter in a few months’ time.
      b) This is just as stupid as it looks. To quote the underwear-stealing gnomes:

      Chaos goblin –> ???? –>Profit!

      1. Other Alice*

        My vote is for b. Granted I never had as much money as Musk, but I never lost as much money as him either. Time will tell.

      2. jasmine*

        Latest theory I heard (which I haven’t fact-checked, mind you) is that Musk is trying to run Twitter into the ground so he can claim bankruptcy since he never really wanted to own it.

        Before buying Twitter, he publicly said he was interested in buying it, which in turn raised the stock (benefiting Musk who was a shareholder at the time). The trouble is, this type of market manipulation is illegal and his statement would look pretty suspicious if he didn’t go through with actually buying Twitter.

      3. Guacamole Bob*

        There are some quotes that back up the hypothesis that the hyperloop was genuinely an attempt to kill off high speed rail projects and was never a serious infrastructure project, so that might be some precedent for your first option. On the other hand, option b seems increasingly plausible.

      4. kiki*

        I feel like I am the first, second, and third person to say that the underlying reason for most of Musk’s actions is that he is foolish, but I don’t think even an absolute imbecile could believe laying 80% of your infrastructure team right before the World Cup is an okay plan. I feel like there has to be some reason he’s trying to destroy this app. I’m not a business/financial person, but there’s just no way anyone in their right mind would really think what they’re doing would allow an app to continue functioning.

        1. Just Another Techie*

          I don’t think he’s in his right mind! His long term partner dumped him recently; he’s had several public scandals even apart from the twitter meltdown; he’s known to be a frequent user of all kinds of party drugs. Even without getting into inappropriate questions about mental health diagnoses he might have, he’s had a _lot_ of stressors that would impair anyone’s cognitive functioning. Unfortunately, he has the platform and wealth to leave an enormous amount of damage in his wake as he goes on a self-destructive binge. To me this looks like the mega-billionaire equivalent of the dude who spends his life savings on a Porsche or something and then immediately wraps it around a tree.

          1. Grammar Penguin*

            I’m guessing there are exactly zero people around him willing to tell him anything other than what they think he wants to hear.

      5. calvin blick*

        I think Musk is a smart, bright guy with lots of ideas, but is now high on his own supply and has lost the ability to think through what are good ideas and what are not, and also to methodically plan out the endgame. He’s also locked in to this erratic, brilliant jerk persona, where he has to say and do all this colorful stuff to keep his companies “cool” and trendy.

        Like Zuckerberg, Musk might be finding out that having good ideas in the past doesn’t necessarily mean all your ideas will be good in the future.

        1. RadManCF*

          Agreed. SpaceX wouldn’t be what it is today if Musk were a hopeless idiot. I’d also point out that the antics he’s known for these days are a pretty recent development (last five years or so.) If he was trying to start SpaceX today, I doubt that any of the current customer base would be willing to touch it. I’d be curious to see what comes out about the inner workings of SpaceX as time goes on. I’d suspect that there are internal and external forces keeping him in check.

            1. Grammar Penguin*

              There is such a thing as criminal dereliction of duty for military service members under the UCMJ and it’s a chargeable offense. Wouldn’t apply to Musk, though it ought to apply to the former CinC of the US military.

          1. Fishsticks*

            He also has someone at SpaceX whose entire job is to translate his pie-in-the-sky thoughts into something actionable if possible, and to tell him it’s not going to happen if it isn’t. Every intelligent obscenely wealthy person should hire a “no” person as opposed to the usual crowd of “yes” men. Have someone who exists to tell you when your terrible ideas are terrible.

        2. coffee*

          He’s also, as far as I can tell, increasingly surrounding himself with people who are “loyal” to him, which is a great way to wind up surrounded by yes men who won’t tell the emperor he has no clothes on.

      6. Ellie*

        I assume he’s intentionally destroying twitter, so that his own pet-project can take over the userbase. It makes no business sense and is irrational, but I believe that’s what’s going on. He attacked the cave diver who was part of the rescue team in Thailand because of a bruised ego, and he threatened to cut off Ukraine for much the same reason. He’s an ego-maniac.

    2. Naomi*

      Personally, I think it’s the Dunning-Kruger effect: he actually believes that each new whim is a stroke of genius that will revolutionize Twitter.

      The $8/ month thing seems like a vicious cycle: not enough people are willing to pay it -> lose money and users -> even fewer people are willing to pay for a voice on a platform that’s going down in flames.

    3. lou*

      Elon has charisma? That’s news to me!
      I’ve been watching the collapse of Twitter with great glee because I loathe the man, but I hadn’t really considered how it would affect employees and that’s on me. I’m sorry this is happening to you, OP, and thanks for writing in – it’s given me a different perspective.

    4. Wilbur*

      I don’t think Teslas valuation is solely related to Elon’s personality. They have their own battery manufacturing and their own battery tech they’re developing that makes them more competitive on costs than other large auto companies. They’ve got a huge charging network that other companies currently can’t access that makes owning one of their cars much more practical for a big chunk of the country, and public options are still going to be a few years off. From my weak understanding of foreign auto markets, companies like Ford and GM have struggled in China. Ford sold 624k cars in China last year while Tesla sold 473k, and I’m sure the price on Teslas is higher than Ford. I still think the valuation is too high but I think what Tesla has managed to do in the past decade is very compelling.

      I can’t help but think Musk would be better if he had someone managing/filtering him, but he’s clearly unwilling to accepting any help.

      OP should definitely wait it out and look for jobs elsewhere. There are a lot of well managed companies that have been emphasizing digital solutions that are outside the social media landscape. I’d look there.

      1. RadManCF*

        That’s probably why SpaceX works; I highly doubt that the government customers are willing to let him fail.

        1. Nina*

          SpaceX is still standing because right now there aren’t any good alternatives that don’t involve the US government paying money to foreign governments. That can and will change.

          1. RadManCF*

            They have competition; United Launch Alliance ( a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin that has produced and supported rockets for USAF and USSF since the decided to ditch the space shuttle after Challenger,) and Northrop Grumman, which in the last ten years absorbed OrbitalATK, which was the result of the merger of defense contractor Alliant TechSystems and Orbital Sciences Corporation, which was a more normal version of SpaceX, in that they didn’t design everything themselves and didn’t crave publicity.

        2. Wilbur*

          I think he also gets away with a lot because his companies have been things people are very passionate about-electric cars, space, robots, etc. Are people passionate about social media? I guess I’d have to imagine so, but there’s a lot more competition.

    5. Art3mis*

      He might be worth $175B, but he had a big head start that you didn’t have. It’s not like he’s some kind of self made entrepreneurial genius.

  25. lilsheba*

    I just don’t even know what to say except I’m sorry you’re in that positition right now and it sucks big time. And Elon is an idiot. He has no idea how to run a company.

  26. AnonMurphy*

    This really sucks that you’re suffering through something so drastic that is also front-page news. I think in terms of whether to leave or not Alison has it completely right (as usual); as far as how to support your team I advocate transparency. There is literally nothing that the ChaosGoblin might not pull, all you can do is your best to stay out of the line of fire and true to your work ethic.

  27. DisneyChannelThis*

    Having lived through the american auto industry crash – if you can pivot industries at all, do it. The high number of people job hunting at once with very similar skill sets and similar levels of experience all going for the same few number of jobs is rough. If you can translate your skills into an adjacent industry you’re going to have better luck job hunting and more job security.

    1. Clobberin' Time*

      This is an excellent point. It would be one thing if Twitter, alone, was crashing while FAANG companies/Big Tech overall stayed stable, but everything is contracting right now. I suspect it’s going to be another tech employment recession like we had in 2000.

    2. Parenthesis Dude*

      There aren’t so many industries that will pay someone $200k, which this person very well could be making.

      1. President Porpoise*

        Well, if you’re not morally opposed, I believe there are some aerospace/defense companies hiring pretty aggressively right now, and they can pay pretty well too. Depends on your specialty though.

  28. WillowSunstar*

    ***Hugs*** I wish everyone in the Twitter situation the best of luck in their job searches. No employee asks for a train wreck to happen at their company.

  29. Coco*

    I would make sure to print hard copies of your past performance reviews or anything you can to support your performance history with Twitter. Obviously without using proprietary company information. . Do this now so that if you get fired, you will have all the substantiation you need for a new employer since it may be challenging to get a reference.

    1. President Porpoise*

      A guy who created an internal tool to allow twitter employees to do this got fired. So be careful.

  30. calvin blick*

    Also, if OP wants to make an anonymous blog detailing all the crazy things going on at twitter, I would read it (although that probably would be grounds for termination so maybe not the best idea)

      1. Dinwar*

        If you do it on Twitter, could you swing it as drawing in eyeballs and thus improving the product?

        “I’m not undermining your authority, sir, I’m building market value!”

        1. Grammar Penguin*

          “That kind of promotion is to be done by our communications department.”
          “We laid them all off.”
          “Right. Never mind. Keep it up!”

    1. cubone*

      this is what I keep thinking – I have no doubt it’s very terrible and upsetting and I feel for everyone, but you could also try distance yourself mentally as much as possible and consider yourself a temporary anthropologist who just happens to be witnessing a slow motion car crash. I mean, look at all the former Theranos employees with STORIES to tell. It feels much more… interesting to be privy to this than just your regular ol’ toxic boss/workplace.

      1. Grammar Penguin*

        It’s one thing to be a witness to a slow motion car crash, another thing altogether to be a passenger in the car.

    2. Marion Ravenwood*

      Not a blog, but I’d definitely be writing it all down (albeit not on a computer owned/accessed by Twitter) and saving it to pitch to publishing houses in six to 12 months’ time. I reckon there is absolutely going to be a market for anonymous ‘inside the last days of Twitter’ books at some point in the not-too-distant future.

      Also by that point hopefully OP will have found a new job and will be out of the reach of EM and any retribution.

  31. SirLurksALot*

    If (when) things get bad enough, you may actually see “retention bonuses,” as in, “please don’t quit, we need you.”

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      WARNING: If the company goes bankrupt, all those retention bonus promises mean nothing and you’re just another creditor. A small and late one, in the scheme of things, and so very low on the list of people to be given any money.

      1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

        Unless you’re one of the ones who made it go bankrupt, then you get extra for them to keep you on through the bankruptcy.

  32. C.*

    I sympathize with the OP but I don’t really understand the question here. Why would it be better to resign immediately (without a new job lined up) than to wait and get fired, meanwhile, holding on to health insurance for longer and probably getting a few more paychecks? Is the OP just concerned about how a firing looks new potential employers?

    1. Clefairy*

      For mental health reasons. I’m sure OP is under insane stress and pressure right now. Of course from the outside, it’s easy to say that staying is clearly a better option than leaving with nothing else lined up- but I bet employees at Twitter feel like a wild animal backed into a corner right now.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Also I think anyone remaining would be wise to consider if their job gives them legal exposure, such as violating FTC rules. (I’m guessing that’s why the three people in charge of what I would think of as information security all quit. “Elon told me to” doesn’t mean you don’t need your own lawyer.)

        1. Clobberin' Time*

          Especially when the company’s lawyer (from a rather notorious law firm) is trying to reassure employees “hey, you won’t get in trouble with the FTC if you listen to us, honest!” – as if they were too stupid to understand that he was not THEIR lawyer.

        1. Hound Dog*

          Because it’s the question their brain has stuck onto as a feeble attempt at control. They cannot control anything about what Muskrat is doing, but the brain craves logic in times of uncertainty.

          1. C.*

            Yeah — I think this is an occasion where Allison could help the poster by helping them identify a better criteria for making a decision. If the question is, “Should I quit now to protect my mental health and legal accountability, or should I stay at the job to hold on to a paycheck and health insurance for at least a little longer?” they don’t have perfect knowledge about the legal risks, but they can consult a lawyer to help suss that out. If they’re basing their decision on something that hasn’t happened yet though, like a layoff or firing, it’s impossible for them to choose (and the layoff or firing shouldn’t be a deciding factor anyway for the reasons I already mentioned)

    2. Ragged and Rusty*

      There’s a genuine fear that some of the asks that Elon is giving are illegal/may actively cause people harm, and the team members just following his directives would be scapegoated.

    3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I think the question is more about timing – should LW look to leave next week, by the end of the month, or by the end of 2022; or should she gamble that her job will still exist in a year? Option A involves active, even aggressive job hunting, whereas Option B for now just means marking yourself “open” on LinkedIn and reducing discretionary spending.

      Silicon Valley is a weird place at the moment, as far as I can tell. There’s layoffs currently and predicted at many of the big names, which means people like LW have fewer evacuation options than usual. The longer she waits, the fewer potential employers will be hiring, particularly for senior/experienced positions. Personally I’d be going for Option A, looking for a lifeboat (and one that doesn’t have a 90-day insurance delay if at all possible).

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I don’t think the job will exist by the end of November. That said, I’d keep it as long as you can or until Musk puts them into legal jeopardy.

    4. Student*

      Not knowing exactly what OP does: legal liability is another possible factor.

      The key security & compliance folks (search for news on their CISO quitting) quit a few days back. They didn’t publicly disclose the exact reason, but the rumors out of Twitter are it happened because Elon wanted them to disregard a lot of laws and regulations that Twitter is subject to. The internet isn’t a legal Wild West anymore, and Twitter has more users outside the US than in it. Twitter has a consent decree with the US FTC – which is basically a settlement – that binds them, in addition to regular US laws and regulations. They have to follow laws for their operations in many foreign countries, most of which have no legal concept of US-style free speech, and privacy laws that protect consumers in many non-US countries much more strictly than here (especially in the EU).

      If Elon Musk directs you to do something that ends up being illegal, and there’s nobody in the org managing legal compliance and data security, you may end up on the hook for breaking the law. Possibly in multiple countries at once. Working for an organization that has nobody capable of helping you through it. You might also get subpoenaed by various government bodies – in and out of the US – which is never fun, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. You do not want to testify in front of a US Senate or House committee, with limited or no organizational support, about why somebody was able to impersonate a Senator or Representative on Twitter and cause damage doing it.

      1. Guacamole Bob*

        Yeah, it may seem like pranks and jokes and it’s fun to watch from the outside, but the cases of people managing to impersonate high-level politicians and publicly traded companies increase the seriousness and would make me inclined to quit just to save myself the stress and uncertainty of being surrounded by all of the chaos. I don’t know if Eli Lilly’s stock swings were due to that tweet from a fake account about making insulin free, but I’d really rather not have to be interviewed by the SEC about the role that Twitter may have played in enabling manipulation of stock prices, even if I’m not suspected of wrongdoing. Or whatever the equivalent for the next unpredictable thing to happen might be.

    5. Anne Wentworth*

      The mental health impact of remaining in such a toxic environment all day long will have a negative impact on LW’s ability to job hunt when off work, and to effectively pitch themselves positively to prospective employers. Plus the toxic work will eat up more and more of their time; if LW is working 50+ hrs a week, when will they job hunt?

      1. RVA Cat*

        Muskrat is not only running Twitter into the ground, the toxic stress and burnout almost guarantees somebody’s going to have a heart attack.

  33. Clefairy*

    I mean, maybe this isn’t helpful, but if I were in your shoes- I would give myself a lot of grace to not meet metrics because not only were the roles to the game changed last minute, the actual NATURE of the game is so fundamentally different now that of COURSE you aren’t going to perform the same. You were a chess master, but the chess board just got purchased and painted over with a nonsensical combination of Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, and Werewolf by the new owner- of course you aren’t going to play that game well, NO ONE is going to play it well except possibly the person who made up the rules…and he’s only going to play it well by his own made up metrics, not by the company’s (or the world’s) standards.

    Secondly, I’d try to emotionally distance yourself from the situation as best as possible to help protect yourself and your mental health. You have a front row seat to witnessing some SERIOUSLY BONKERS history happening- because this is absolutely history in the making. It sucks right now, but later on down the road once you’re at a stable new company, you are officially going to be the most interesting person at any party- think of the STORIES you’ll be able to share about that time you had a front row seat to a major internet power literally crumbling around you thanks to an insane person who wants to live on Mars.

    Thirdly, brush up that resume and APPLY APPLY APPLY. Encourage your team to do the same. Hopefully you can get something new before the decision is taken from you, but even if you’re fired (clearly unjustly), laid off due to another insane restructuring, or laid off because the company ceases to exist…NO ONE is going to look poorly at you or hold you no longer being employed against you. This thing has become too public, and it’s common knowledge that Musk is running the company (and lots of good people) to the ground.

    1. Neon*

      Agreed with not worrying about hitting metrics or doing a “good job”.

      Twitter is no longer a job, it’s just a hustle owned by a grifter. There’s no benefit in rolling your self-worth up with the outcome.

      Phone it in at work, get paid by Twitter as long as possible, look for the next thing.

    2. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      The second point is tremendously helpful when stuck in a toxic job. I’ve been there (obviously not on this scale of absolute insanity) but was unable to quit until I had a new job. I disassociated hard. I pretended I was in a wacky workplace sitcom and I was in on the joke. It was surprisingly effective.

      Godspeed OP. I hope you find something wonderful and then come back with some good tea.

    3. RVA Cat*

      Seconding the “seriously bonkers history” – this is the social media equivalent of Caligula appointing his horse to the Senate.

  34. Keymaster of Gozer*

    No experience with Twitter but I do have unfortunately a lot more experience with employers doing really harmful shady crud than is good for me.

    (Short story: former CEO now in prison and I was one of the whistleblowers who put him there. Small firm though. Ponzi schemes are evil)

    My advice based on experience of knowing your work is going down the pan and hurting people is:

    Make plans to get out. And get a really good therapist because this kind of stuff creates scars. I really really wish I’d done the second. By goddess do I wish it.

    1. Ann Ominous*

      It’s not too late to go back and get a therapist. It’s been surprisingly healing to me…gently and carefully opening up old partially/badly healed wounds and reparenting them. I do Internal Family Systems therapy – most effective thing I’ve found.

    2. NotRealAnonforThis*

      Adding to this as I was employed under a “Functional Alcoholic Chaos Gremlin”.

      It was IMMENSELY stressful, and he wasn’t even targeting me necessarily, it was scattershot chaos gremlin behavior. There was no rhyme nor reason to what would set him off. None. It felt like I was constantly ducking just to avoid getting hit with the shrapnel of whatever the latest chaos was. It was a complete and utter godsend when my department was eliminated, allowing me COBRA and unemployment insurance, prior to me finding other employment.

      Job search, keep your head down, and remember, this is him not you.

      1. My Cabbages!*

        Intense anxiety at intermittent times with unpredictable triggers is a powerful recipe for PTSD, fyi. It doesn’t have to be life-threatening to be mentally damaging, but it is also treatable.

        1. NotRealAnonforThis*

          Figuring out all the sources of potential PTSD in my life would be an absolutely epic journey.

          I had ALMOST unlearned the coping mechanisms for work that I picked up under the chaos gremlin when my child became deathly ill. I think those mechanisms were transferred to “home” from “work” (I compartmentalize almost as well as Brennan in the Bones TV series…).

  35. Anonymous Here*

    A family member works in an industry that contracts with Tesla. I can’t independently verify the accuracy of this, but apparently there were multiple stories of Elon stopping Tesla employees in the hallways to ask what they do for the company. If they responded with a job title or responsibilities, they were apparently fired on the spot. If they responded with something fluffy like, “I ideate change,” or, “I inspire the world to grow,” (idk, just fluffy corporate buzzwords and stuff) they were not fired.

    Again, I can’t verify the accuracy of this specific story, but this man does not behave in a way that leads me to believe he follows any sort of appropriate employment norms. I wouldn’t leave without something lined up, but I would be busting butt to get something lined up.

    1. SweetestCin*

      No way of independently verifying this either but it certainly tracks with “Tales of Tesla” in the industry.

      1. Anonymous Here*

        I almost deleted my comment instead of posting because it feels so gossipy, given the inability to verify, but… with the behavior we can observe, setting aside unconfirmed details, I see no reason to trust this man.

    2. whingedrinking*

      I’m just imagining him stopping, like, the janitor, who says “I clean toilets”. Later that week everyone’s wondering why the bathrooms are filthy.

  36. 867-5309*

    OP, Hang in there. As Alison notes, I would not resign without something but would start a search. We have a enough knowledge of how Elon operates that you need to be all-in for his style.

  37. Just Your Everyday Crone*

    LW, job search, and it’s your top priority. Getting your job done beyond the minimal acceptable is a distant second. IOW, quiet quit and job hunt your butt off.

  38. Clobberin' Time*

    “so one would assume he wouldn’t want to add additional legal problems” – WHY would anyone assume this? He’s made it very clear that he thinks laws are for other people, and that he will break them for reasons like “it would be funny”. He tries to fire people (or get them fired if they don’t work for him) out of spite. He also doesn’t listen to any legal advice that suggests he exercise more self-control than a five year old at a birthday party.

    LW, I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. The entire tech industry is contracting. Now is the time to aggressively find somewhere else to work, and to build up your safety fund as much as you can.

    1. Generic Name*

      Seriously. Elon is not a rational actor, and one can’t assume he will suddenly become one. Give up on trying to predict future behavior of someone who acts so erratically.

    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      “[No] more self-control than a five year old at a birthday party” – very well put.

  39. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

    If you do quit and are getting interviews most employers would recognize that leaving Twitter with or without notice is NOT a red flag. Good Luck!

  40. GladImNotThereNow*

    I do feel for the OP and if another job isn’t easily obtainable, sticking it out through the current turmoil would be my suggestion – although not as radical, I had worked for a company that reduced staff by 50% over time due to various issues. I stuck it out until it was my choice to leave, and I think I came out better for it.

    Considering Twitter’s performance in the red for most of its life, I do wonder if a radical shakeup isn’t really what is needed, though. I am a software developer, but nowhere near either coast, so maybe it is just perception, but Elon’s “10 managers for every developer,” videos of wine on tap and foosball games in the middle of the day, and extravagant paid lunches do make it seem like amputation rather than aspirin is the kind of treatment needed to get on track. My company has a much more modest culture (e.g., pizza for the occasional company meeting, not gourmet food daily), has been a software company longer than Twitter, and has been continually profitable even through economic downturns. A culture shift to something like that from Twitter norms is seismic, so shocks, while chaotic, would be inevitable.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think any sensible observer has a problem with a well-managed, thought-out change in direction. The problem is with the total lack of plan, lack of understanding of how the company and the product itself works and why, crazed moves in one direction and then a zig zag back to undo it, and the total chaos with which all of this is happening. The man is asking random Twitter users how YouTube monetizes videos. He’s tweeting things that make it clear he doesn’t have the first understanding of how Twitter, and social media in general, works. He’s killing functions and then restoring them days later. He’s adding functions and killing them within 24 hours. He’s losing millions (maybe more) in ad money. There’s not a competent adult at the wheel (or there’s an adult whose plan for some reason is to kill the app, which probably isn’t the case but when someone is this erratic and destructive — and, uh, has business partners who might have an interest in stamping out Twitter, which has given journalists in their country freedoms they didn’t previously have — you have to ask the question).

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        He seems unclear on how a lot of social media actually works. (e.g. Facebook drives the bulk of click-link stuff, with Twitter below 10%.) Supports the theory that it’s a very public choice of midlife crisis, as a dude realizes he doesn’t understand how cool works now.

        (Someone had worked this up in some detail, as Twitter’s trending topics make it easy to be up on the moment’s zeitgist, and so surely if you owned Twitter… mused Elmer Fudd, as he contemplated buying a website made of Bugs Bunnies.)

      2. Mark The Herald*

        Yeah – nobody likes bloated middle management. A lot of people don’t like watching 24-year-old engineers pulling down obscene salaries and playing foosball in the afternoon.

        It’s low-hanging fruit. It’s easy to be like “Yeah! Elon’s right! I see that as a problem too!” And you assume the guy is smart because you agree with him.

        But all he’s done is distract you from the tougher questions about what it would take to make Twitter profitable. People who tweet out easy solutions are looking for popularity. They usually don’t have a clue.

      3. GladImNotThereNow*

        I can believe it is just his mindset and approach to problems – try a bunch of things and see what works and what doesn’t. If something doesn’t work, shift away from it quickly and try something else. I do agree that a firmer understanding of current operation would help, though it looks like he wants to build it into something somewhat different – payment processing, long form video, rewarding content creators (microtransactions to pay for individual articles rather than a link to a site with a subscription paywall, for example), etc., so I could believe he is less focused on the status quo than would be ideal. From the outside I see that as more experimentation/prototyping to reach a new goal, rather than just haphazard management. I could picture this is how he designs a new model of rocket engine and is now applying the technique to people and a social media product though with arguably less success.

        1. Observer*

          No, this requires ignoring what has actually been going on.

          Again, the problem is not that he wants to make fundamental changes. It’s that he’s “throwing things at the wall” without ANY thought whatsoever. The fiasco with the verification is a perfect example – there is NO ONE who is not an Elon fanboy who did not predict that this could go very wrong very quickly.

          The bottom line is that “he’s not as savvy as would be ideal” is just not the issue. It objectively ignoring his terrible “un-management”. His behavior is beyond erratic. Calling him a “chaos goblin” is an accurate description of his actions.

        2. Cyndi*

          “I can believe it is just his mindset”–“I could picture this is how he designs a new model of rocket engine”–sure, you can imagine all those things, and apparently do, but there’s no reason to think they’re true. (And last I heard, the idea that he designs rocket engines at all is pretty questionable as well.)

          OP and thousands of their colleagues have been put in a terrible, scary position by these “problem” “solving” “techniques.” Please consider that your comments boil down to minimizing and smoothing that over, and that’s a pretty damn unkind way to respond.

          1. RadManCF*

            He’s a PhD physicist. They live in a virtual world of massless springs an frictionless pulleys. Not to mention that designing rocket engines involves a great deal of chemistry. Signed, a guy who has perused Rocket Propulsion Elements, by Sutton.

            1. Nina*

              PhD physicists are useful as physicists and their usefulness is proportional to their understanding that they are not engineers. If they have any sense they leave the designing to engineers. Designing rocket engines using established propellant combinations takes some chemistry, but less than you’d think. It does take a lot of fluid dynamics.

              Signed, a professional rocket propellant chemist who has designed rocket engines.

              1. RadManCF*

                I think we’re saying roughly the same thing, that Musk would be way out of his element if he were to get into the nuts and bolts himself.

            2. Blackcat*

              “He’s a PhD physicist. They live in a virtual world of massless springs an frictionless pulleys.”

              Hey, now, that would be a *theorist.* Plenty of experimentalists can tell you a lot about things like friction. ;)

              However, my experience with physicists and coding/engineering is that because they can often make something work, they assume they can code/build in general. Physicists are often very good at MacGyver-ing solutions that work for a single lab set up or for very built-to-purpose code and then collapse at scale. The number of labs I’ve seen where a PI dutifully keeps their Windows 95 PC running because nothing else can run their LabView scripts is more than a bit unsettling. This is why big physics projects (ex: CERN or LIGO) have many staff engineers/software engineers. And lots of private companies that employ industry physicists let the physicists draft code and then have software engineers actually fix it.

            3. Jules*

              He isn’t a PhD physicist! He’s a college dropout with an honorary degree and a faked CV. Dude’s a crock of shit.

          2. Observer*

            that’s a pretty damn unkind way to respond.

            It’s also untethered from reality.

            I don’t understand why you (@GladImNotThereNow) are trying so hard to justify horrible behavior and extreme mismanagement, to the point of presenting theories that simply make no sense and ignore every fact we know of.

              1. Observer*

                This has nothing to do with my personal opinion. It has everything to do with the facts at hand.

                This person is resolutely ignoring facts. Musk has done a number of things that are objectively problematic, place the company at legal risk, alienated core constituencies (such as the advertisers who currently provide something like 90% of the revenue), and / or created technological problems for the company. In addition, his behavior does not accord with the way any effective manager operates, and the idea that he’s just doing things the way a rocket building company would is ludicrous.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Like, you have to ask if any of the things he’s doing actually meet their ostensible goals.
            • He wants to use Twitter to create a greater truth outside the bounds of traditional media. Does starting off his rein by pushing an ugly and unfounded conspiracy theory about the hammer attack on an 82-year old bring Twitter closer to that goal? How about the N*** stuff he likes to repost?
            • He wants Twitter to be stable and reliable enough that you would use them like your bank and give them access to your financial accounts. Anything about this week meet that criterion?
            • He wants to get rid of fake accounts, and so chooses to unleash the “We’ll verify you as anything or anyone you like, if you have $8” plan.

        3. ADidgeridooForYou*

          Nah, guy has no clue what he’s doing. I’m not against quick decisions and analyzing results as you go, but you need to at least put some thought into it. Take his move to charge for the blue checkmark – if he had put even a week of thought into it and consulted someone else, he probably would have been able to foresee the chaos that would ensue from that. Even if the damage isn’t catastrophic, it’s a terrible look for the company and makes it look like he has no clue what he’s doing (which I’m not convinced he does).

        4. SereneScientist*

          I’m honestly confused why you seem deadset on reading Musk’s actions so charitably, given the results thus far from his actions.

        5. Observer*

          I could picture this is how he designs a new model of rocket engine and is now applying the technique to people and a social media product though with arguably less success.

          Actually, no this is NOT how you design rocket engines. Because the potential cost in dollars and safety is waaaaay too high.

          1. Alex*

            I mean, you can certainly set your idiot CEO up with Rocket Engine Tycoon and let him wave his hands around as much as he wants while the actual rocket scientists get on with their jobs….

          2. RadManCF*

            Designing rocket engines can certainly be chaotic ( if you’re not destroying prototypes you’re not trying, and certain things just can’t be done on paper,) but what’s happening at Twitter seems more like a drunken attempt to launch a satellite by spending billions of dollars to build an ammonium nitrate plant next an oil refinery, and then go around tossing firecrackers at it from a motorcycle that shoots flames from the exhaust. There are far better means of propulsion.

            1. Observer*

              if you’re not destroying prototypes you’re not trying, and certain things just can’t be done on paper,

              Yeah, but you are destroying PROTOTYPES, not actual rockets with a real payload!

              but what’s happening at Twitter seems more like a drunken attempt to launch a satellite by spending billions of dollars to build an ammonium nitrate plant next an oil refinery, and then go around tossing firecrackers at it from a motorcycle that shoots flames from the exhaust

              OMG that image is going to stay with me! So exactly on target!

              There are far better means of propulsion.

              Yup. I would have thought that it would be obvious enough that people wouldn’t be defending his behavior.

        6. The balanced perspective*

          This kind of trial and error, hypothesizing and then iterating, and “throwing things at the wall” is a very deep part of startup culture in the Valley. Read Eric Ries’ THE LEAN STARTUP.

          I agree with GladImNot. He clearly wants to build Twitter into “something different” and is experimenting on the fly. No guarantees that works, but it’s also not an unreasonable take.

          1. nnn*

            Effective leaders don’t normally do that in a way that results in the loss of literally billions of dollars for those paying to be there (see Eli Lilly last week).

          2. Jules*

            I wonder if now, given what’s transpired in the last four days, you are slightly embarrassed for stanning for Elon so hard all over the place?

      4. Observer*

        I don’t think any sensible observer has a problem with a well-managed, thought-out change in direction. The problem is with the total lack of plan, lack of understanding of how the company and the product itself works and why, crazed moves in one direction and then a zig zag back to undo it, and the total chaos with which all of this is happening

        I’m going to add one more item to the list, which is his lack of interest and respect for basic legality. His lawyer said ““Elon puts rockets into space, he’s not afraid of the FTC” He was planning to fire everyone before they could vest, but someone built a model showing that he would lose more in *legal fees* if he did that, and would STILL have to pay out.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          In fairness, I bet nobody had “Threaten a rocket war with the FTC” on their bingo card for November.

      5. James*

        I think it’s even worse than you say. I saw something on Twitter last week that said the hardest time to run Twitter is during the World Cup — which starts next week. My prediction is that by 4 a.m. Pacific Time, next Tuesday Nov. 21, Argentina will shell Saudi Arabia, Messi will score a hat-trick, Twitter users will go nuts, and Twitter engineers will not have the manpower and expertise to keep the site and app working.

    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I’m of the opinion that EM doesn’t know what Twitter is for, and what its assets are. You can’t run a company if you don’t know what it does, even if you walk in and see pizza parties or football or whatever.

    3. darcy*

      “foosball games in the middle of the day” is not a particularly ridiculous luxury. My university has a table tennis table in the staff common room, there’s quite often people using it in the middle of the day as a way to take a physically active break from work, and I don’t think anyone would accuse academia of being the luxury career option.

      1. GladImNotThereNow*

        True, though I was using it as an example of a symptom of the overall culture at least as portrayed to the outside world. In my case, while salaried, my time is billed to client projects – sure, a break is needed now and then, but one is still expected to fulfill a certain bill rate. Public perception of individual Twitter employees is more of “what are you exactly doing that someone would pay you money for?” The brief “I took a meeting in my pod!” surrounded by luxury doesn’t inspire confidence as to Twitter’s previous direction. Like the recent tweet from a Twitter employee which said that workers would “starve” because Twitter won’t pay for their lunch from now on. This sort of thing points to entitlement and dysfunction, not productive folks who want to take a break for a few minutes.

        1. Clobberin' Time*

          “As portrayed to the outside world” by whom?

          The idea that EM is a stern but wise taskmaster cutting the fat from spoiled, lazy programmers at Twitter is a a vicious fantasy.

        2. Observer*

          Like the recent tweet from a Twitter employee which said that workers would “starve” because Twitter won’t pay for their lunch from now on. This sort of thing points to entitlement and dysfunction, not productive folks who want to take a break for a few minutes.

          Wow! So you are taking ONE out of context tweet to paint the company while ignoring the totally of all of the things that Musk so far has gotten TOTALLY wrong. I hope that you don’t design anything that anyone needs to use, nor that you manage anyone.

          As for that Tweet, keep in mind that the context is that Musts rescinded WFH privileges with no notice – and is also saying that he expects people to stay in the office 40 hours on a SLOW week, but should expect to sleep there on a regular basis.

          What this tweet was about was “You want me to move into my office? You’d better feed me.”

        3. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

          The purpose of those companies paying for employee meals, and having onsite services like outsourced laundry, has ALWAYS been to keep them focused on work 24/7 (ok, more like 17 or 18/6). It’s never been to spoil them or treat them like kings, it’s to make it so they never had to leave the company campus and thus were always available. Unfortunately it played right into a certain narrative about “kids these days” and “millenials don’t know the meaning of work ethic”, which I would urge you to reevaluate.

      2. xl*

        Good point.

        I’m an air traffic controller and we have a ping pong table in our break room. I would get upset if someone used that as a rubric to decide that my job was somehow luxurious or easy.

        Sure, sometimes when I have a break I’ll play some ping pong. That’s because it’s a good way to blow off steam while I take a break from the 2 or 3 positions I’m working concurrently during my 60-hour work week since we’re short-staffed.

        A single picture of something in a break room is far from the whole story.

        1. Felis alwayshungryis*

          I wouldn’t begrudge air traffic controllers anything to help them blow off steam from that kind of work.

      3. CJ*

        And for a job where you’re often thinking through hard problems, a physically active break often shakes things loose, so it’s a shame things that facilitate that have become a symbol of unproductivity

    4. Neon*

      More generally, I find it helpful when job searching to consider whether a given company is perhaps too good to be true long-term.

      No job is 100% safe and they all have an unknown shelf life based on business factors etc, but “lack of reliable profit” is a real red flag for me.

      If I’m interviewing someplace that rarely/never actually makes money I try to factor that into my risk decisions. It might still be a good move for me personally, but I expect that it may prove to be a bit more ephemeral than a job at, say, Toyota.

    5. Clobberin' Time*

      Perhaps this is just perception, but your comment comes across as schadenfreude about how those spoiled Twitter engineers are finally getting their deserved comeuppance for being spoiled and lazy, while the virtuous programmers at your company who are grateful for their humble pizza lunches see the results of their austerity in company profits.

      1. Bunniferous*

        I don’t work in tech but my son does, so bear in mind I know folks work hard in tech….But: This past weekend I watched some “day at the job” YouTube videos made by several different software employees at a couple different BigName companies (not Twitter). In all honesty the impression given was they rolled into work late, ate breakfast, got a coffee, had lunch, grabbed snacks, had a meeting or two, did a little coding, then left at 5 or so….but not till grabbing dinner at work. (In fairness one did leave an hour or so later)….But still, for an average person seeing these types of videos it is easy to get the impression that these companies are made of bloated slackers. So along comes someone like Elon…

        1. TechWorker*

          Perhaps those companies exist in boom times but at least in my part of the world they kinda don’t. Yes people take breaks, and the work life balance is better than many jobs, but there’s also stress & the occasional long day/ week (like many jobs). I do think software has it better than most but it’s super rose tinted to assume everyone is dossing around all day – they’re definitely not.

        2. Dinwar*

          First, those videos are pretty much always going to be highly biased. If you’re not watching for 8 hours, assume they’re heavily edited. What you’re saying is the equivalent of saying “I know how to build bridges because I’ve watched a few YouTube videos”.

          Second, sometimes it’d be worth buying someone multiple meals and having them work for half an hour. Sometimes you have a critical path item that only a few people can handle and you pay those people to handle it. I’ve bought people breakfast, lunch, and dinner to collect a half-dozen samples before, because those samples were absolutely critical and there was no other way to do it. That’s not an every day thing–industry standard is ten hour days in my field, and ten-day shifts are not uncommon–but when it needs to you pay the expenses, either grinning from ear to ear or gritting your teeth.

          And besides, how do you know they weren’t working? It’s extremely common for folks at my location to discuss scheduling while grabbing coffee, for example. If you were to watch a video (or even listen in on the conversation without being aware of how we work) you’d think we were wasting time. Similarly, someone could easily be working out problems in their head while they grab coffee and a snack, and only sit down to write the code once they’d figured out HOW to write it. I’d much rather folks take five minutes to think things through than to flail around for an hour causing more harm than good!

          The idea that work only takes place at your work station is a holdover from the days when work generally meant factory work. Knowledge work is very different, and requires very different conditions.

        3. whingedrinking*

          Right, but…no one is going to watch a ten-hour video of someone commuting to work, answering emails, attending a meeting or two, writing code for six hours, and then commuting home. Of course if you’re making a video you want to feature someone with a “cool” job and even then, you’ll only show the parts of the job that will make people want to watch – whether it’s to say, “That looks awesome” or to say “God, these people are unbelievable”.

    6. Glomarization, Esq.*

      Enh, if Musk were the business management genius some people think he is, he wouldn’t have blown up the blue-check mechanism. Once anybody could pay to pretend to be someone else, then the global brands who provided the bulk of Twitter’s income were very predictably going to suspend their ad buys. Never mind the other substantive changes regarding content moderation — no brand will want to be on a platform that becomes (even more) known for hate speech and abuse.

      Believe me, employee perks that appear expensive on the outside are not the balance sheet problem that Musk thinks he’s fixing here.

      Source: owned and operated a software business the early dot-com era, and have some good friends who are still workin’ hard in Silicon Valley

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        Yes, and one wonders how many people will actually pony up a monthly fee for the pleasure of impersonating someone – as opposed to giving their card details, getting their parody account deactivated and then initiating a chargeback to get refunded. The amount of money that you can get for the worthless new verified accounts is possibly quite a bit less than the million dollar ad buys that are on hold.

        And I don’t know how many people out there are desperate to boycott companies for not advertising on Twitter just because Musk tells them that they should. It’s more likely that companies will just make their ad “pause” indefinite without saying explicitly that they’re not throwing any more money onto the dumpster fire.

    7. Observer*

      Considering Twitter’s performance in the red for most of its life, I do wonder if a radical shakeup isn’t really what is needed, though.

      Oh, that’s true. But there is a difference between “radical shakeup” and “kicking everything and everyone”.

      do make it seem like amputation rather than aspirin is the kind of treatment needed to get on track

      Well, amputations can work. But, you can’t amputate someone’s head and expect them to survive. You also can’t amputate their hands and feet and then expect them to run a marathon, or even go to the local store and shop. And you can’t do an amputations without making some provision to deal with bleeding and the loss of whatever it is you are cutting off.

      And that’s essentially what Elon has been doing.

      1. Cat Tree*

        Exactly. He’s not removing the company’s metaphorical appendix, or even gallbladder or spleen which are useful but can be harmful and you can live reasonably well without them.

    8. Cyndi*

      There’s a cartoon by Alex Norris that goes around sometimes, with a figure saying “I want things to be different” and then smashing up everything they own with a baseball bat. Even where drastic change is needed, that doesn’t mean ANY drastic change is useful just because it’s drastic. People aren’t just being narrow-minded, or resistant to change, when they point out that Elon is “fixing” Twitter by smashing it up with a baseball bat.

    9. Dinwar*

      Things like football in the middle of the day and expensive lunches get press, but are they actually hurting the company?

      I know little about coding, but I do know it’s brain-heavy work. At rest your brain uses something like 20% of your body’s resources. Using your mind for intense mental activity is the equivalent of running a marathon. If you don’t take breaks you can’t keep going. And just like we consider ergonomics when performing physical tasks, we need to consider mental ergonomics when doing mental tasks. Part of mental ergonomics is giving yourself breaks. In some cases, they need to be pretty dramatic–if you’re in the weeds of a problem long enough simply going for a cup of coffee won’t work, you need to do something that forces your brain to not concentrate on it. Football, being physically intense and using different mental processes than coding, appears ideal for this.

      I mean, yeah, maybe there’s a better way. There almost certainly is, in fact. But the idea that this doesn’t add some value doesn’t take into account the full situation.

      Ignore for a moment that workers are people and think about them as machines (not that they are, just that this gives us an objective basement for how to treat company assets). Elon has demanded they operate at the extreme end of their operational envelope, while simultaneously removing the safety valves and lubrication systems and cooling systems, while also removing other machines in an essentially random manner and demanding the remaining machines take up the load. If we were talking machining equipment, or long-haul trucks, or fire suppression systems, or LITERALLY ANYTHING OTHER THAN HUMANS this sort of behavior would be considered wildly out of line.

      Are there ways to trim the fat? Absolutely. The company work for used to do this routinely–we joking referred to our tenure length by the number of restructurings we’d been through. And Elon may in fact be right about the need for changes. But nothing about his methodology suggests it’s a coherent, much less systematic, approach, and everything suggests he’s treating employees worse than inanimate machines.

    10. Kevin Sours*

      He started by making Twitter less profitable by almost an order of magnitude. *Then* he personally alienated his advertiser base.

      1. Observer*

        That’s a really good point.

        Even if he were actually a management genius, it’s hard to come back from adding HUGE expenses to the company while cutting its revenue drastically.

        Given that he’s also clearly far from a genius, it’s reasonable to wonder how long the company will survive.

    11. Ferret*

      You are aware that twitter was finally profitable recently and then Musk cam along and saddled it with $1 billion of interest payments annually? Like when he talks about is losing millions per day that is solely down to him!

      Also nothing about what he has done suggests even the most basic level of competence or planning. People were laid off and then begged to come back because there was no sort of plan. His thoughts at the all-hands meeting included getting to 50% subscribers, turning it into a bank/payments platform (because that’s a lot less regulation to deal with!), getting to 50% paid subscriptions (really) and paying content providers a lot more than they get on youtube or tiktok…..

      Nevermind that advertisers have been worried about the idea of him in charge since the bid was announced… their presold ads for next year are in the toilet because when asked about what plans were there has been no answer, and all of their worst fears are now being borne out.

      There is literally zero reason to think that Musk knows what he is doing or that he is in aby way interested or capable of solving the problems that twitter had before he came along

      1. Shiba Dad*

        All the folks that the advertisers dealt with were fired/forced out the door. He threatened advertisers.

        Also, Elon effectively traded $8 for millions in ad revenue from Eli Lily.

    12. AngryOwl*

      I’m going to propose to you, as someone who *is* close to the posts and quite familiar with the startup world, that there is a middle ground between wine taps and what Musk is doing.

  41. Girasol*

    My similarly large tech company held a series of layoff after layoff. All of us who were spared looked on and wondered what you’re wondering. Something to think about as you watch: in a series of one layoff after another, the first group got a generous severance but as successive groups followed, the generosity lessened. No one was laid off without some severance, but I got a little less than the earliest cohorts did and later groups got far less than I. As severance dwindles, the difference between “should I quit or wait?” becomes smaller. After hundreds of thousands of layoffs, the company got a new CEO, then another and another. The folks who survived that whole gauntlet finally got better management. I suspect something like that would be the path of any big tech company that starts layoffs. But as Alison says, there’s no knowing where your personal fortunes may take you on that road.

  42. MissGirl*

    Some questions to think about.

    Do you have the bandwidth to keep looking for a job while trying to manage all this chaos or will you only be able to send out a few résumés here and there? You might find it quicker to find a new job if you can focus all your attention on it or it might be harder.

    Can you fully leverage your network while still employed?

    Do you have any savings?

    Do you know how much insurance will cost?

    Is possible to negotiate a volunteer severance package?

    How marketable are your skills?

  43. Sandi*

    I experienced my first tech crash in the early 2000s. I agree with LW’s comment that often the people who get laid off first are the ones who are luckiest, because everyone else is left to pick up the pieces.

    Search hard for a job immediately, because the best jobs are going to be snapped up by the people who are looking now. You will be busy picking up the pieces at work, so rely on your network to help you out. Don’t quit, because you need the health insurance. It is going to be a really rough month or two but keep thinking that this is temporary and hopefully you will be much better off soon.

  44. Alex*

    I think also that the usual distinction and benefit to being laid off vs. fired is a bit moot here. In a normal circumstance, a potential employer might hold a firing against you, because presumably you did something (or didn’t do something) that warranted that. In this case, if you say “I was fired from Twitter suddenly after a long and productive career” a reasonable person will understand that it’s not your fault, you just got caught up in this chaos that was beyond your control.

  45. Anon Right Now*

    I, for one, was a pretty early adopter of Twitter (2007ish). I’ve made countless very good friends, many interesting business alliances, and broke into a professional sporting industry in a business way as a result of tweeting. (I’m one of those multiple account holder people) I am kind of crushed that all the cool things about Twitter and all the good people in Twitter are being scuttled because a brat with an emerald mine decided to have fun at the expense of many.

    It also occurs to me if OP is in California (I’m assuming?) that there are lots of other former Twitter employees looking for work, and probably also a lot of sympathetic companies out there more than happy to hire people getting out – whether it’s post-layoff or by people fleeing the ship. I’d look seriously, though, because there may end up being more people than jobs, and you don’t want to wait too long, or wait out getting fired. Sigh. Sorry about all this.

    1. Jasmine Clark*

      I joined Twitter in 2009 and I think — while of course there’s tons of drama on there — it’s still a great site where you can talk to people who have similar interests and keep up with what’s trending. Like you, I’m frustrated about what’s happening. Twitter is fun when you stay out of drama and talk with people who share your interests! And now Elon is ruining it. I’ve looked at Twitter alternatives but I’m just not sure what I want to do.

  46. Heffalump*

    “Fsck Elon.”

    Why do I think you’re not alluding to the Unix FSCK command? :)

    I closed my Twitter account, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I would never have been inclined to buy a Tesla even if I wanted an EV, but now I really wouldn’t be inclined to.

    The guy sounds like a megalomaniac.

    1. allathian*

      Yeah, I hear you. I never posted anything on Twitter and only signed up to follow a few accounts, but I just deleted mine in protest.

      We aren’t currently in the market for an EV, but when we get there eventually (sales of new cars with combustion engines will be banned in the EU in 2035), there’s no way in hell I’ll even consider buying a Tesla, simply because I don’t want to make the chaos goblin any richer.

      I’m no Apple fan, either, partly because I think their products are overpriced for the performance, and partly because I never liked Jobs.

      Has anyone changed their mind about Amazon following the announcement by Bezos that he’s going to donate most of his fortune to help stop climate change? I like the idea, mainly because I dislike the idea of any one person having more money than most governments, and because his money could make a huge difference for the better. But it still feels like a greenwash, because he hasn’t announced any improvements in working conditions for his employees…

      1. The Real Fran Fine*

        Jeff is no longer CEO of Amazon and hasn’t been for awhile, so they’re not “his employees.”

  47. Keymaster of Gozer*

    Additional: whatever you decide is right for you is right for you.

    I made the decision in a really toxic environment to quit without another job when the pressure just got too bad (I’m not reciting what was the breaking point: I still have nightmares) AND also to send as much info as I could to the authorities. I pretty much burnt the bridge so badly I don’t even have that job on my CV half the time.

    But..I believed that was right for me. I do not blame the other employees who stayed and worked and got paid. I suffered, they suffered by remaining.

    Ultimately it’s whatever you can live with. I still have issues regarding my role in that firm’s downfall but I do believe I got out in time.

  48. Fungible Token*

    I am also stuck in an untenable position & am the sole breadwinner and holder of insurance. I have stayed while looking, though at a cost- sanity, stress, etc. it is the only option for me.

    I agree that you should stay as long as you can stomach it. Hate to say it.

    Here’s hoping Elon doesn’t parachute in nude…

  49. Anomie*

    This is a terrible situation for you. If you do get fired you will probably be able to collect UE. Also you may qualify for your state’s health care exchange. Good luck and let us know what happens.

  50. Glomarization, Esq.*

    Polish your resume and update your LinkedIn.

    Sign up with a recruiter.

    Make appointments with a financial planner and your lawyer.

    I’m coming at this from financial conservatism, so I’d say that you should not pre-emptively resign. Get as many paychecks as you can and wait for Twitter to cut them off. Check out mentally a little, if you have to, but in any event don’t take this personally, and don’t worry too much about how anybody on your team might blame you or resent you or whatever. You are not the one at fault in this mess with your team.

  51. Mark The Herald*

    So this advice is NOT what I would recommend for someone at a reasonable employer, and it does carry some risk… but…

    You ask whether to quit and start a full-time job search or stay and collect your benefits? Why not do both? If there is a way to work on your job search during the workday, do it. If you can use PTO for interviews, use it. Do whatever the minimum is and not a bit more. Do less than that wherever you can get away with it.

    How are they going to tell the difference between your individual low performance and the colossal s-show that’s going on around you? Did something crash and burn because the OP and their team didn’t do X on time? Or did that thing crash and burn because the company has been crashed into the side of a mountain? Is anyone even there with the time and access to determine that?

    And if they do fire you, how much weight will a firing from Twitter carry, at this point in time?Will anyone assume that this was down to anything other than general chaos and Musk histrionics?

    Sure, don’t misbehave to the level where you are going to be fired for gross misconduct – but don’t work much either. It’s not like there’s a path to success and recognition at this man’s companies for anyone but him. So any effort beyond what you need to get paid is effort wasted when it could be spent productively on a job search.

  52. Student*

    Obviously I don’t know your particulars, but make sure your team has clear information on any binding policies or contracts they’ve signed that may be relevant. In some parts of Twitter, they have contracts that grant them certain telework rights, and those contracts can’t just be dissolved with a tweet, even with a tweet from the boss. If the company breaks the contract unilaterally, then there may be a process to follow for your employees to get some form of restitution – talk with an actual lawyer and review the contract carefully for relevant details.

    Other than that, it’s your job to make sure your team has as much information about goals, etc. that you can provide them with. Be aggressive at getting info from your direct manager on what the new and changing expectations are. Advocate for a reasonable workload for your team – don’t just agree to an ever-increasing workload for them, now that a lot of jobs aren’t getting done. Show any relevant data you have about how long things take as you advocate. Make sure you get priorities as things change, and relay those priorities to your team clearly.

  53. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

    OP, dedicate time each day to a serious job hunt. Finding a new job is your number one goal now. Forget about the possibility of severance. Just focus on getting a new job. Someone mentioned detaching yourself emotionally from what is happening at Twitter – sounds like good advice, even though I imagine it will be difficult if you care and are invested in your workplace and direct reports. You can still support your team, just do the best you can under the circumstances. I’m sure none of them are expecting miracles, since they see what is happening. Best of luck to you.

  54. Rain's Small Hands*

    I do have some advice, as someone whose employment caused a good old fashioned nervous breakdown and I have never gone back to full time work.

    Figure out the insurance – if you have a spouse who works and has insurance, get on theirs. Research the healthcare marketplace to know how much it would cost out of pocket. If your spouse isn’t working, have them find a job with insurance while you also look for a different job. Explore ALL your options for healthcare and income – right down to “can I Doordash for a few months if I need to”

    Then quit. Someone mentioned above negotiating a layoff – I’ve done that (it didn’t have a severance package, but it meant I got unemployment where had I quit I wouldn’t have). Get out of there before the stress does permanent damage to your own health and sanity. Freelance/consult while you look for a different position. If there are more rounds of layoffs, each is going to add to your own stress – even if you want to be let go. If there aren’t, then having the chaos goblin in charge is simply going to be stressful all on its own. And your body will adapt to the stress – its bad now, but next week it will feel more normal, and more normal and more normal – but it ISN’T normal and eventually you can do your mental health long term damage. And welcome to PTSD!

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Extreme sympathy mate – from sadly another veteran of nervous breakdown caused by work. Your advice is spot on.

    2. anonymous here*

      LW, I came here to say something similar to this. You may be able to negotiate severance to leave your job, and may be able to negotiate some health insurance coverage with it. Financial Samurai talks about how he did it (and helped others do something similar) here: https://www.financialsamurai.com/how-to-make-money-quitting-your-job-2/

      The key thing is you’re probably going to have to give up on some potential claims against Twitter if you do this, but … peace of mind is worth a lot. And it might give you stability to look for another job while not worrying about what orders you’re going to get via Tweet. Worth considering.

  55. Stuff*

    I’ve actually been wondering if Allison was planning to discuss Twitter. One thing that shocked me was when Elon Musk asked for a list of all programmers sorted by lines of code written in the past year, then laid off everyone at the bottom of the list as the “worst performers”. Thing is the programmers working on very difficult or specialized projects or with older, obscure programming languages would of course produce fewer lines of code than other programmers, because it is not their job to just spit out code. So these people get fired and suddenly Twitter has nobody who can understand COBOL and has to scramble to try and get back people they just ousted for being “low performers” on completely false reasoning. It’s literally the most toxic and lazy way to measure performance that I can imagine, and I can’t believe Elon thought it was a good idea.

    1. Dinwar*

      I’d heard about that. I know nothing of coding, but my first thought was “This sounds like something someone who knows nothing about coding would do.” My second was “Did he get the idea from “Schindler’s List”?!”

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I am the least coding-savvy person in my family by a long shot, but even I knew that the Friday order to everyone to print out all the code they wrote in the last 30 days so they could go over it with the new owner was not how anyone who understands tech evaluates work.

    2. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      Gah, this reminds me of one of my husbands first coworkers. They had written about 100 lines of code and were struggling to debug it, dh went in and replaced the 100 lines with 3 lines that did the same thing.

      Programmers who don’t preplan and find the efficient solution were laid off. Sloppy programmers were kept.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        I’ve also seen the opposite… I’ve lost track of how many programs I’ve fixed by replacing 5 lines of inscrutable code with 50 straightforward lines that log, trap and catch, don’t bite off more than they can chew, and are generally friendly to troubleshooting.

        All line count tells you about a program is how much storage space it requires.

        1. SweetestCin*

          I had a computer science professor use your last statement as a general principal for us to learn: “line count tells you how much storage space is required, nothing more”.

          This was pre-2000.

      2. Felis alwayshungryis*

        Yes, and also – documenting eats into the amount of code you can write in a given time period, but it’s essential. My husband is a dev and reckons you basically need to document almost every line. It kills him when he receives someone else’s poorly-documented code and he has to divine what it does.

    3. nm*

      I couldn’t help but wonder if 1. new employees might have spent a week onboarding and then on Their Second Week/Elon’s First Week got immediately fired. 2. if employees there now are going to start writing comically inefficient but super long code to protect themselves.

      1. Elenna*

        Okay, time to copy/paste in the entirety of War and Peace as hundred of thousands of seperate comments! That’ll make the best and most valuable code, right? /s

    4. Veryanon*

      I think we can all agree that “doing what’s right to keep Twitter a functioning organization” is not on EM’s list of priorities right now.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        I’m a sometime student of nuclear accident history and in nearly all major cases there’s a point where human intervention actually caused the meltdown/explosion/subsequent loss of the reactor in a failing system. It’s often a single decision, a second, that causes the irreversible decline.

        The system was going down anyway, EM is the one deciding to turn off the safeties and run the reactor at full power.

        1. Veryanon*

          Yes. This is an interest of mine as well. I grew up near Three Mile Island and was 10 years old when the accident happened. Since my memories are hazy at best, I watched the recent documentary on Netflix (I think it was Netflix) and this was exactly the issue.

        2. ScruffyInternHerder*

          I have a fascinating book at home that covers design, engineering, and construction disasters. Every single one in the book has a human intervention root cause. Its quite a read, and now I can’t remember the darned title.

          The engineer parent has half a library on engineering design disasters, which explains why my attempts at making Google show me the title have been moot.

    5. NeedRain47*

      Why did this shock you? Or, had you not read anything about Musk & twitter before this?

      Because zero people should be zero percent shocked by anything he’s doing now. Exactly like zero people should have been shocked when trump did all the things he did. Because he never showed any signs of being a “good businessman” but showed lots of signs that he would do whatever he wants and is not interested in good management or good functioning of the site or really literally anything than acting like the boss man. He has no idea how it actually works but thinks he’s real smart. Both of them. I can’t believe people are falling for this again.

    6. Elbe*

      It’s literally the most toxic and lazy way to measure performance that I can imagine, and I can’t believe Elon thought it was a good idea.

      Anyone who has even a little bit of experience with coding knows that this is a truly ridiculous way of measuring productivity. Actually writing code is only one part of an engineer’s job.

      It’s like saying whoever writes the longest book is the best author.

    7. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      “Measuring software productivity by lines of code is like measuring progress on an airplane by how much it weighs.”- Bill Gates

    8. iiii*

      He fired the people who write more efficiently. He fired the people who do the very complicated stuff that takes longer to write.
      He fired all of the QA people.

      And people are *still* trying to claim he’s making good business decisions.

  56. Capybarely*

    On the second point – it might be helpful (not just legally useful) to document what’s happening. Being somewhere really toxic can warp our sense of normal. Having a record of events can be grounding and offer perspective.

  57. Justin*

    I feel for you. And anyone who thinks he’s an evil genius is missing how he’s never actually been competent. He actually thinks he’s doing a good job.

    I will miss the community if it goes (and the people like “lol never tweet” can go away).

    If you can afford it I might quit, switch to your spouse’s insurance (it qualifies), and retain your mental health. If you can afford it.

  58. Stephanie*

    I would stay put, just for the paycheck and health insurance, and possible severance. But start the job search so that you’re that much further along in the process. Good luck!

  59. Casey*

    For what it is worth, I am an engineer at a different Elon company. Do not assume that he will act in accordance with legal norms; I’ve seen things go down where his MO is basically to do whatever he wants and treat the inevitable legal settlement down the line as the cost of doing business. I’m not saying that’s okay- it sucks so much to have this guy at the top of my food chain and I have the utmost sympathy for you. But realistically, yeah, trying to predict his next move is a total crapshoot and I always have a plan in the back of my mind for securing my health/stability if I do get fired. Again, I’m sorry this is happening to you all, it’s not fair.

    (To everyone who’s probably going to comment that I’m insane for working here — we all make choices about our career that aren’t obvious from the outside, and for me at this stage in life, the nature of the work itself is so special that it overrides working for an unsavory chaos goblin.)

    1. Ann Ominous*

      Totally understand your perspective and support your choice here!

      And that’s really good insight about his nature, I hope OP reads your comment.

    2. Zee*

      his MO is basically to do whatever he wants and treat the inevitable legal settlement down the line as the cost of doing business.

      As they say, if the punishment for breaking a law is a fine (or settlement), that law does not exist for rich people.

  60. Yes And*

    I wish I had something constructive to add. Just add me to the chorus offering sympathy to OP, and up-voting the moniker “Chaos Goblin”.

  61. Jenga*

    Update your resume and start applying for new jobs. In the meantime, keep collecting a paycheck for as long as you can.

  62. WoodswomanWrites*

    I’m adding my voice to the sympathetic choir. I can’t imagine how challenging this situation is for you. I hope that down the road, you’ll be able to post an update about your new job at a better place.

  63. Iris Eyes*

    First maybe confirm that there is actually someone in charge of paying the benefits bills. It would be terrible to stay for insurance when the insurance payments are in default and coverage doesn’t actually exist. Normally that wouldn’t be a concern but the chaos has been so high that I’m not sure anything can be ruled out.

    Also remember this and if we ever get the chance to move away from employer based healthcare maybe we take it to avoid situations like this.

    1. periwinkle*

      Excellent point! Speaking as an HR person, yes, this is a big concern. HR has enough trouble with being seen as a “necessary evil” overhead cost and thus prone to being downsized. Between the flight of top leadership and the chaos underneath, there’s a strong possibility that the compensation & benefits teams are struggling. Is someone ensuring that the insurance premiums, taxes, and so forth are being paid correctly and on time?

      Forget about severance – I’d be more worried about sticking around for health insurance and then discovering that I wasn’t actually covered anymore… or that the Chaos Goblin has ordered HR to downgrade health insurance immediately from HMO/PPO options to a half-empty box of Band-Aids.

      My husband is in IT and is suddenly immensely grateful that he’s working at a boring non-tech company with good-enough pay and good-enough benefits and actual adults in charge.

    2. Art3mis*

      Those bills might be handled by a benefits administrator, but they still need the account to be funded in order to pay them.

  64. M2*

    I would stick it out and apply for other jobs, but not just in FAANG / tech. I know the pay and benefits are excellent, but I think there will be a lot more layoffs into 2023. Start cutting costs in case you are fired/ laid off with less severance.

    I have a friend who works in ad sales at a FAANG and they are saving 2023 is not going to be good. They are worried and are already networking and actively looking. META says they will have layoffs, Netflix has laid off, etc, etc. Yes you might make less elsewhere, but you’ll have better options. Also, if you start budgeting now if you do move with a pay cut you may be better ready for it. I also think if you widen your search you may have better luck than those who were just laid off all looking at other tech companies.

  65. Pobody’s Nerfect*

    Really hoping that all Twitter employees impacted by the recent craziness (so all of them I guess) are able to access quality mental health help for the psychological injuries and harassment they’ve had to endure. Being bullied and demeaned and threatened by a boss or coworkers is a traumatic experience, as is the constant dread and fear and uncertainty of what they’ll do to you next. My gut reaction to OP conundrum is to say life is too short to stay in that world of trauma and to get out, but it’s so much easier said than done, especially in the US where most bankruptcies are caused by medical/health expenses and health insurance is therefore so valuable. I also want to say thank you to the Twitter employees past and present who built and piloted this platform, I’ve made many virtual friends through it and it’s been my main source of news and comfort during the pandemic…but all good things yada yada, unfortunately.

  66. Yep, me again*

    ****TRIGGER WARNING: UNPOPULAR OPINION****

    “He could parachute nude into your cafeteria tomorrow and demand you all bow before him while singing Gregorian chants.”

    Okay, if a video pops up on Twitter of this happening, I’ll gladly pay the $8 a month to be verified.

    1. Yep, me again*

      Oh, an addendum: Everyone has to be singing and you *MUST* be on pitch.

      I want my money’s worth!

  67. RadManCF*

    I’m reminded of a recurring theme on House, where characters said from time to time that getting fired by House was more impressive than quitting.

  68. rosie in london*

    I work with multiple Elon Musk stans. This past week has been deeply weird.
    Godspeed LW whatever you decide to do!

  69. Elbe*

    Maybe this is a bit of a side note, but I think it’s time for our (American) cultural ideal of the genius business man to die. It’s insanely misguided how we put people on a pedestal for taking roles that generally just favor whoever is the most ruthless in squeezing their employees and suppliers.

    It’s plain as day that Elon Musk can’t run a business. The decisions that he’s making are blatantly horrible. It seems like people called him a genius so much that he actually started believing it and, now that he’s fired the actual adults in the room, he’s struggling to even make it a month in that role.

      1. Elbe*

        Most people have worked at least one company that succeeded in spite of its leaders, not because of them. I suspect that the management at Tesla is better at handling Musk and keeping his impact to a minimum.

        1. RVA Cat*

          This. Same is probably true for most Whedon productions – they were good despite him, and mostly due to the very cast and crew he was abusing.
          (The Nevers may prove it with the new showrunner.)

      2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        The Twitter debacle is making me wonder if Tesla was simply a fluke.

        I’m bearish on Tesla’s long-term health; gasoline vehicles have already crowded electrics out of the market before, there aren’t enough rare-earth metals and lithium on Earth to replace the US’ fleet with electrics, let alone the world’s, range-anxiety is still a crippling issue, and faster (i.e. more convenient) charging is diametrically opposed to battery health/life (which makes the supply problems even more acute). Most of their green reputation is just location shifting.

        Musk’s celebrity might be one of the few things Tesla has going for it long-term, keeping them relevant and in the news by association. I’d characterize Tesla as more of a fad than a fluke–it’s the Atkins Diet of the automobile market.

        1. allathian*

          I’m not so sure about that. The EU is serious about banning the sale of new combustion engine cars and vans by 2035. Obviously a lot can happen before then, and older models will be available second hand for several decades after that. But yeah, the rare earth metals supply problem is a serious one. But the fact that combustion engines will be banned shortly in a significant part of the global market means that automobile manufacturers have an incentive to innovate in EV. Tesla was merely the first to market, but they’re by no means the only one, and traditional vehicle manufacturers are investing increasingly large amounts of cash in EV.

          I can’t stand the chaos goblin, and there’s no way I’ll ever contribute to his wealth if I can help it. Tesla won’t be an option when we switch to EV.

          That said, there are already alternative battery technologies in development, some just short of commercialization, and based on materials that don’t have the supply problems of lithium (aluminum and salt water, iron, graphene). We won’t be dependent on lithium ion batteries forever. Graphene batteries can be charged in a few minutes, about the same time it takes to fill up a gasoline vehicle.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            2035 is a long way away; I’d be very surprised if the bans don’t get rolled back quietly by an opposition party, gutted via carve-outs, or outright repealed before or shortly after they go into effect. When the laws of humans and the laws of physics go head-to-head, physics’ are undefeated.

            That said, if those bans do go into and stay in effect, Tesla’s going head-to-head with Toyota (Lexus), Honda (Acura), Mercedes-Benz, BMW, etc from above and General Motors, Ford (Lincoln), Mopar/Fiat, Nissan (Infiniti), Volkswagen, etc from below. EVs going mainstream likely means Tesla gets savaged by competition from companies who are flat out better at making more reliable, better quality, and/or more affordable vehicles than the Chaos Goblin has been shown to be.

    1. Mbarr*

      There’s a podcast called “The War on Cars” – I recommend episode 88 called “Tesla is a Fraud.” It was very interesting – I’m a big proponent of electric cars (though I realize pedestrian/cycling/public transit is better) and found the speaker’s take on Tesla/Elon to be fascinating.

    2. irene adler*

      Yes! No matter what happens, the employees bear the cost of EM’s actions. He should think about that as he enacts ‘change’. If there was a way for Twitter to completely implode – without any adverse effect to any of the employees and users- I’d wish it so. Alas, there is not.

      My retired boss was considered to be ‘genius’ -albeit orders of magnitude below EM. Over the years, I realized the only ‘genius’ was having reports who ALWAYS made things work or cleaned up whatever mess boss created (over the course of 30 years!). Boss was in fact, a walking disaster.

      No substitute for hard work, constantly learning all there is about the business, employing knowledgeable people (and letting them do their jobs) and treating all people with kindness. Humility goes a long way too.

      1. Observer*

        No matter what happens, the employees bear the cost of EM’s actions. He should think about that as he enacts ‘change’.

        This is Elon Musk you are talking about. I don’t think he is even CAPABLE of thinking about the human cost of his actions. I mean, look at both how he has run his companies AND how he behaves in his personal life.

        I would call him a slime ball, but that’s not fair to the slime.

  70. No Crying in Baseball*

    I’m sorry OP. Being stuck in this situation is awful. Am I the only one who wonders if his strategy is to drive out all the non-Musk fans and attract people who are totally committed to him and his ways? I don’t follow a ton of Musk news unless it makes mainstream news.

    1. NeedRain47*

      Part of his plan was definitely to drive people into quitting so he didn’t have to pay as much severance. He’s winning at that part, I guess. Sorry, OP, but I would have started looking for another job whenever he first had the idea of buying twitter.

      Because he doesn’t seem to have a strategy, the only people left working there will indeed be the Musk true believers. Because everyone else sees a sinking ship. Does this sound familiar? If you followed news during the trump presidency, well, it’s all the same, motivation-wise. Wants people to be impressed by him, would prefer to trick them into this instead of actually doing something impressive.

  71. Mbarr*

    “Chaos goblin” had me laugh out loud.

    Seriously though, Elon is insane. I feel sympathy for all Twitter employees.

    1. StellaBella*

      He is behaving very oddly, but not sure insane. Just erratic and full of himself like the narcissist he is

  72. Silicon Valley Girl*

    Sympathy to OP for being at the most public & horrific end of what the tech industry is going thru right now.

    Mad props to Allison for a thoughtful, useful, & still hilarious answer!

  73. Jasmine Clark*

    I feel sorry for LW and all others who work (or recently worked) at Twitter. It’s so disgusting that one super mega rich guy can just walk in and create chaos and mess with people’s livelihoods, and of course he’ll still be super mega rich at the end of the day so it’s fine with him. And he’ll still have his fans who idolize him. Ugh.

  74. K Too*

    I have nothing constructive to add, except that ‘chaos goblin’ is a terrific descriptor and I’m adopting that phrase.

  75. Ah Yes*

    Joining in with the others to say I’m really sorry that this is happening to you and your colleagues. It has been painful to watch, but it pales in comparison to living it.

  76. Mark This Confidential And Leave It Laying Around*

    About severance–I worked at a company once that was acquired by another company. There was no where *near* the level of chaos you’re dealing with OP, but one thing sticks out to me. Once a chunk of people got severance to go away, the severance question starting dominating everyone’s thinking. Like, if you made a choice that meant you wouldn’t get severance, it felt like leaving money on the table. My best advice is forget the severance possibility. You could get laid off 10 minutes from now with severance. Or without severance because that money is gone. Or fired for cause because you refused to parachute nude into the cafeteria. Etc. Job hunt and take it a day at a time, but don’t let the severance question twist your head.

  77. Marina*

    I’d stay as long as possible and then write a tell-all memoir or produce an anon podcast about the last days of Tweetie.

  78. Kevin Sours*

    “although it does seem like he mostly attempted to follow it with the first round of layoffs “|
    After first trying everything else.

  79. Ferris*

    If it were me, I would stay, but ‘quiet quit’. I would only work 40 hours a week and do my best in that time to do whatever assignments I had. And if I didn’t complete what I needed to do by a deadline, I’d just shrug my shoulders. You may get fired, but you may anyway if you work 80 hours/week. At least this way you’re keeping your sanity (and leaving time to look for new jobs).

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I think this is good advice, married to an energetic job search on the side. Get out while you can, OP; this isn’t a ship to go down with.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      They are (now) super shortstaffed and ran by a man who seems to define work, even in stable times, as chaotically running around for 14-16 hours/day while being physically present in the office. I’m not sure how quiet quitting will work out in a workplace like that. I’d agree that it would be a perfect strategy otherwise.

      1. Jackalope*

        On the plus side, if the OP gets fired for having boundaries and only working 40 hours a week, then they’ll be eligible for unemployment.

  80. Zee*

    I know that people tend to think being laid off or resigning “looks better” than getting fired. But in this case, everyone knows what’s going on with Twitter, and I don’t think your future employer(s) would hold it against you if you got fired by a madman. (Honestly, will anyone even ask if you got fired or laid off?)

  81. StellaBella*

    OP, I am so very sorry. I agreed with a lot of the notes above and wanted to say the following:
    1. Tighten your wallet, reduce your expenses.
    2. Network like crazy
    3. Do references now for your team on LinkedIn and get them started in Word, etc
    4. Take your team to dinner. Bill the firm if you have a Corp Card. Team building budget right? Ask them what they need at dinner. Tip well.
    5. Apply, apply, apply for jobs.
    6. Know that you and your colleagues are appreciated. I NEVER had problems in the work account with spam or cam accounts in 2.5 years of use. I have force removed and blocked now 8 in 12 days. So he has done something with that team/crew, and I am sorry. I should bill him my time too. Also the level of support for the bad guys n@zis esp is unsurprising.
    7. This too shall pass. Ed Markey will help us thru, as will the FTC.
    8. Be kind to your self and your colleagues and team.

    1. Observer*

      So he has done something with that team/crew

      Yeah, he fired most of them and a bunch of the rest quit to avoid having the Feds come after them.

      Ed Markey will help us thru, as will the FTC.

      Don’t hold your breath on that. It’s just as likely that the place will just wind up folding – very messily.

  82. Jessica Fletcher*

    OP, I hope you’re also applying for other jobs. Elon couldn’t afford Twitter in the first place, but was forced to buy it or face an investigation for insider trading, as an existing significant shareholder making a high public offer for the company.

    Since his governing by tweet plan is failing and the company is losing even more money, he’s probably going to intentionally let it continue so he can declare bankruptcy and refinance. He had to cash in a ton of Tesla stock and take on billions in debt when he was forced to buy Twitter.

    Who knows how much worse it’ll get in the meantime. Save yourself if you can.

    1. Jessica Fletcher*

      I posted this before I looked up whether insider trading was the correct term. If it’s not, whoopsies!

    2. Observer*

      Yes, he bought the company to avoid an investigation / trial where he would have to satisfy discovery.

  83. Connie-Lynne*

    Hey, OP.

    I’m so sorry to hear you’re at Twitter right now and going through this. I have a lot of friends who used to work at Twitter and everyone is so upset.

    I read the California Labor Code for fun and edification, and I did a Tweet thread (the irony) about some of the salient laws around layoffs and firing. I’m not a lawyer, but if it helps you to know some legal things for you and your team, here it is:
    https://twitter.com/clynnexx/status/1587123901783429120

  84. ncb*

    My husband works at Twitter and also survived the layoffs. OP, we’re in this with you (okay, mostly *he* is in this with you, but I’m feeling the weight of it, and the suddenly mandatory full-time office attendance has created some family struggles).

    Allison, from the bottom of my heart, **thank you** for the phrase “chaos goblin.” Going to be using that one a lot!

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Even if you can’t take credit for creating it, please take credit for bringing it to us!

  85. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    OP, this all sucks and I’m sorry you’re dealing with all the nonsense that comes from having a chaos goblin in charge. And I understand that some of the key people he’s brought on board seem to revel in the cruelty they’re inflicting by, like, having contractors find out they’re no longer involved by just disabling their access to things and not telling any of the staff that rely on those contractors either.

    Whatever comes, it’s not on you. Protect your staff the best you can, but understand that there are real limits to what you can do. I suspect your staff know it, too. If I was one of your staff, I’d want to know that you know this is all a clusterf*** and you’re going to do your best for them, but have limited influence. Like, I’d rather you be quietly honest with me than try to pretend that things are functional.

    1. Observer*

      And I understand that some of the key people he’s brought on board seem to revel in the cruelty they’re inflicting by, like, having contractors find out they’re no longer involved by just disabling their access to things and not telling any of the staff that rely on those contractors either.

      It *is* cruel. But I’m not sure that it’s intentional. I mean these folks have themselves convinced that these people are either bots or real people who aren’t doing anything anyway. So, why would it be necessary to tell their internal contacts anyway?

      I’m not sure which is worse. In some ways the theory that this is incompetence and dysfunction rather than deliberate cruelty is worse, because it’s possible that the company could survive the cruelty once self-interest kicks in. But there is no way it survives this level of incompetence and delusion unless someone manages to force him out. And that’s not likely, even if the company actually does go into bankruptcy.

      1. RVA Cat*

        I think it’s a mix of both? Never experiencing consequences could make someone cruel and incompetent.

      2. Jackalope*

        One of the most helpful quotes I’ve heard is that extreme incompetence is indistinguishable from malice. It could be one, the other, or both; at this point it doesn’t really matter anymore.

    2. Programmers get locked out before firing*

      It isn’t cruel to cut off access to contractors before they are notified, it is basic prudence.

      They do it to prevent someone sabotaging or outright deleting code from Twitter’s source code management system when they are told to report to for separation.

      1. Rettiwt*

        Yeah, I’m a sysadmin for a small company and I can’t imagine not having my access revoked immediately if I was going to be fired. I have access to systems that could cost the company tens of millions of dollars in one go if I took them down, and access to factory systems that could cause anything from brief downtime (which could cost tens of thousands of dollars by the minute) to severe personnel injuries if misused.

        Firing ANY employee at a major company should ALWAYS be pre-empted by locking their accounts BEFORE they know!

        1. Observer*

          No, you don’t need to do that in all cases.

          What’s worse here is that people were not even being told in all cases – they just had their access cut off with no communication at all.

        2. Ellie*

          Firing for cause, yes. But being let go? Lots of people are let go for economic reasons, they haven’t suddenly become untrustworthy. And treating people poorly would make sabotage more likely in the long run, surely?

        3. E*

          Maybe that made sense for the employees/contractors who were let go, but there have been reports that their managers were also not informed ahead of time. I struggle to understand what business reason exists for firing vast swathes of people without informing their managers.

  86. DJ*

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. Best plan is to look for other work and leave when you secure a decent new position. Hopefully you can stomach this workplace in the lead up to leaving!
    What action can we take to twitter know this is NOT acceptable. Quit our twitter accounts!! Ideas??

  87. Event Coordinator?*

    Firstly, my thoughts are with everyone at twitter and their families. This may be entertaining to outsiders, but real people are in real trouble and I hate that some weirdo has done this to y’all.

    Secondly, the market is getting flooded with people from this industry since meta is also doing layoffs. If you can, I’d lay low and keep the job. The market’s going to be tight and if you can hang on until it loosens a bit I think that’s an easier path.

  88. Stuff*

    Speaking of, Elon just fired an employee over Twitter a few hours ago. Went like this:

    -Elon made a blatantly false statement about how the code works
    -An engineer responded that this was incorrect
    -Someone else responded that he should have said that privately
    -The engineer retorted that Elon should have asked about the code privately
    -An Elon fan tweeted at Elon that he should fire the engineer for his “attitude”
    -Elon responded with “He’s fired”

    Great management practices, here.

    1. Clefairy*

      Great, let’s get rid of the people who actually know how your product works and maintain it….blind fanaticism isn’t going to do him any good when the website breaks

    2. Observer*

      I’m sure Elon would have fired him without the idiot fanboy.

      I think that as long as Elon could pretend that what he was saying made some sense this guy had a chance. But when Elon pushed him and the guy showed him up in words that a 10 year old could understand, that was the end of the line.

      For anyone who didn’t see it, Elon basically said that the Android Twitter client was being very slow because it’s doing 1,000 “poorly batched RPCs”. The engineer explained that this was not what was going on. Must didn’t like it but he responded, and the engineer (and some others) continued to explain what was probably going on. So, Must decided to shut it down and asked how many RPCs were involved. The engineer responded “Zero”. There really isn’t any coming back from that.

    3. Rettiwt*

      Regardless of whether or not Elon was wrong, every company has a social media policy, and very publicly airing things that *should* be discussed privately – to your new boss – is likely to get you fired.

      1. Summer*

        The employees are finding things out based on his tweets. He shouldn’t be shocked when they respond to him in kind. He’s such a spoiled little baby.

        1. The Real Fran Fine*

          This. Maybe Elon should lead by example and air his grievances out with his employees in private instead of online.

      2. Observer*

        every company has a social media policy,

        Except that either Twitter doesn’t have one, or it’s policy is “we do things on Twitter rather than internally.” I’m serious – there are a number of things that employees have only found out about from Musk’s tweets.

        In this particular case I admit that the guy wasn’t smart – and he admits it t00 (although he says he has no regrets) – but considering that Musk made this a public thing to start with, it’s kind of precious to complain about the employee taking this public.

        1. Mongrel*

          I mean, I remember when people were surprised that companies didn’t have “No porn at work” as part of the computer use policies.

          Every company should have a policy about it is not the same thing and neither is ‘but it’s common sense’

      3. Fishsticks*

        Fun how that policy doesn’t count for said new boss though, who gets to make unilateral, undiscussed declarations and insult his own employees on social media…

      4. Ellie*

        Sure, but maybe it was worth it? Good developers can usually find another job fast, and often have backup plans. I once worked with a guy who did something similar (it wasn’t twitter, but it was a department wide email chain), and when someone pointed out that it wasn’t smart to contradict your boss in a public forum, shrugged and said he had two years worth of living expenses saved up anyway.

        IT attracts some interesting sorts. He was right by they way, and he wasn’t fired. But Elon can’t take being even mildly contradicted.

    4. Iris Eyes*

      His management practices are shockingly bad, I’m wondering if this letter qualifies Musk for bad boss of the year? Or does he just get the honorary title and others compete for runner up?

  89. MeepMeep123*

    I feel for OP – what a horrible mess to be caught up in. One suggestion I have, based on my experience with an imploding startup – now is the time to “quiet quit” the job and do all the side hustles and freelancing and every possible thing you can do to bring in money. Hang in there until they lay you off, but spend all your time applying for jobs and earning everything you can earn with side hustles of various kinds.

    When I was caught up in the imploding startup, I started a tutoring practice to bring in extra money. I also had some sort of consulting gigs, I did some freelance work in editing, and so on – but the tutoring was what worked out the best. By the time they finally laid me off, the tutoring had grown into a full-time job and I never did bother with another job search.

  90. noname*

    Your #1 priority right now is to keep health insurance for you and your family. So stay in the current job with Twitter and actively look for another job. And if you get fired before finding another job, negotiate for them to continue to keep your health insurance active for another 60 days while you have a bit of a buffer to find a new job.

    1. Barry*

      If you have working remotely for years, this might not be feasible.
      And IIRC, Musk is demanding 80 hours/week.

    2. Observer*

      OOOOH! You found out the deep dark secret! /sarc

      It’s easy to make anything look like it’s opposite if you totally strip it of it’s context.

      No one thinks it’s a problem that he’s expecting people to work their full hours. If you think that, you haven’t been paying attention. Not even to any article in which this particular issue is brought up. And if you know that it’s nonsense, then I can’t imagine any good faith reason for this comment.

    3. Irish Teacher*

      In Ireland, this has made the media, pointing out that there simply isn’t the housing available in Dublin for many of the twitter employees to move there. Apart from all the other issues with twitter, telling people who may be living many hours away from the company that they have to come in to work in person the next morning just…isn’t feasible.

      It’s not the number of hours that’s a problem. Presumably they would be doing the same number of hours wherever they are doing them from. It’s the having to move possibly across the country with zero notice.

  91. FrogEngineer*

    Man, if this weren’t a major news story and you were telling us everything going on at Twitter for the first time, this would be one of the craziest letters ever.

  92. El+l*

    Someday, perhaps already, you will have cornered the market on “dysfunctional workplace stories.” Nothing will scare you professionally ever again…because you’ve seen the craziest.

    Until then, you will have to make a hard ongoing choice between your mental health and keeping the family’s health insurance. Only you can make that choice, and for that you have my sympathy.

  93. Trixie the Great and Pedantic*

    I accept that this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but contrary to the point raised in an earlier thread, I don’t think this should be eligible for worst boss of the year; having it not be anonymous makes it too easy for people to vote based on outside factors.

    LW, good luck. Document everything, in hard copy or other non-technological form whenever possible.

    1. Jackalope*

      What about a compromise? He wins automatically without a vote, and everyone votes on second place? (Or everyone else votes on the company or boss that will tie with him for first.)

    2. Ellie*

      Elon’s pretty bad, but he hasn’t asked for anyone’s liver yet. Although who knows what tomorrow will bring.

  94. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

    With the turns a company like this is taking it is better to be laid off. Can you volunteer to be laid off? I was able to successfully negotiate that one time, which was infinitely better than continuing to suffer at the flailing company.

    I’d also be tempted to ghost them.

    I’m sorry the people there are being put through the mechanizations of a rich crazy dude.

  95. Summer*

    I freaking hate Elon.

    LW, I think your only option is to hang onto your job while trying like mad to find a new one. I don’t think things will improve because he’s a delusional narcissist who won’t listen to reason.

    Seriously, f*ck that guy.

  96. CLC*

    The one upside is that everyone on the planet knows what is happening at this company right now, so even if you are fired rather than laid off it shouldn’t hurt future job prospects.

  97. Anon in Canada*

    I was always told that given the option of quitting or being fired (or being in high risk of being fired), one should always pick the option to quit because when you interview next, saying you quit will look much better than having to say you were fired (which may very well cause the new prospective employer to lose all interest in you).

    1. RedinSC*

      I would say yes, except in this case the whole world is watching Twitter destruct. The firing will not count against anyone that gets fired in this sh!tstorm. I would hang on, and then if fired, apply for unemployment.

      CA is very pro-worker, they would most likely qualify and get it.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        Yes, but the maximum amount is a criminally low pittance equal to $11.25/hr in a high cost state.

        Bide your time and job hunt like mad.

    2. Ellie*

      Everyone in tech knows what’s going on at twitter. No interviewer is going to hold a firing by Elon Musk against him, and it may count in his favour, if he is eventually, say, fired for pointing out the laws of physics, or for defending his staff.

      If OP needs his health insurance, he should hold out as long as possible. Spend all his time looking for another job, on Elon’s dime if possible.

  98. Calamity Janine*

    i thought of this in terms of bad advice but i regret to inform everyone that the more i think about this, the more it might be good advice actually:

    hey OP, now’s a great time to start making notes for your memoir

    1. Calamity Janine*

      listen. listen. i know. but hear me out.

      even if you don’t write a book of an eyewitness account watching Nero fiddle while Twitter burns, this is something i am legit recommending to save your sanity. you are now in a game of how long until they rumble you as an undercover reporter getting that big scoop. yes, this is kind of like how sometimes people frame awful holiday family events like they’re a secret super spy and therefore not fistfighting racist uncle throckmornton over the mashed potatoes is a triumph of keeping your cover. but when all else is grim and you’re pretty sure it will end in tears anyway…

      i think you are allowed to begin equipping yourself with the sillier coping methods.

      maybe don’t address remarks into a case the recorder unless you really do have an assistant named Diane and will be placated with a damn fine cup of coffee. actually maybe just stick to Dick Tracey. i do not think this is an environment in which you want to intentionally summon David Lynch style weirdness, lest Elon Musk start laughing hysterically while throwing demonic creamed corn around the place. also what is a smart watch if not the very gadget Dick Tracey relies upon, really? you gotta choose your inspirations carefully in such endeavors after all…

      1. RVA Cat*

        Or pretend you’ve beamed down from the Enterprise onto a strange and hostile planet. You can observe, but not interfere as that would violate the prime directive. Mostly importantly, you are *not* a redshirt and will transport out safely, it’s just a matter of when.

  99. Scott*

    Pretty simple bottom line advice: Immediately start looking for a new gig. make sure you get fired rather than resign. Skilled IT people won’t stay unemployed, but it’s MUCH better to take some of Elon’s money with you on the way out the door. F*** that dude.

  100. RedinSC*

    There are a ton of comments already, so I’m guessing this has been said, BUT, LW, if you can stick it out until you get that new job OR are fired.

    You’re in California and if you do get fired, you apply for unemployment anyway. You will get an interview and you can make your case and talk about your stellar reviews, etc. My guess is, that right now, you will get the unemployment. Which, while it won’t be your salary will help while you continue to look for new work.

    Additionally, by being fired, you will also be able to immediately apply for Covered CA and probably be able to make the case that you were fired, and thus can qualify for a reduced rate.

    Good luck.

    1. Curmudgeon in California*

      The maximum UI payment in California is the equivalent of $11.25/hr. It is a sick joke. He’s right to not want to have to feed and house a family on UI money – it can’t be done.

      1. RedinSC*

        It is a pittance, BUT it’s better than no income coming in, while continuing to look in a market that is currently now over run with laid off tech workers.

  101. Lyds*

    That sounds so stressful, I’m so sorry, I don’t have a lot of helpful advice but I’m very sorry this is happening to you,

    This is probably impractical and easy for me to suggest when I don’t have a dog in the fight but a book detailing the inner happenings of twitter and the chaos it caused would probably fly off the shelves in a year or two

    But seriously I’m so sorry I Hope you find a new job somewhere less full of bees

  102. rubble*

    joining everyone else in saying sorry LW, it sounds really horrible to be working thrre right now.

    don’t quit unless it becomes completely unbearable or you find something else. at the very least if you’re fired you can apply for unemployment and get *something* (keep those good performance reviews!).

    of course, he could very well have a policy of challenging all unemployment claims, but on the other hand, does he have enough staff to do that?

  103. Svennerson*

    I’m gonna push back on one core part of Allison’s response…

    Being a chaos goblin is a good thing, and you shouldn’t disgrace that phrase by attaching it to the shambling toxic waste dump that is Elon Musk.

  104. Delphine*

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this, LW. I think the world would be a far better place without Twitter (and most other social media giants), but there are people and their livelihoods behind every terrible company, and I wouldn’t wish the uncertainty of not knowing what comes next with your job on anyone.

  105. Gabrielle*

    OMG please include “the new owner of Twitter” as a nominee for Worst Boss of the Year. Someone already pointed out that this was a possibility but I’d love to see it.

  106. The OP (a Tweep)*

    Hi everyone,

    Just wanted to say thank you to Alison for publishing my question and to everyone for the messages of support.

    The last line of Alison’s response summed things up so well – ‘I’m sorry something you helped build is being needlessly destroyed.’ This is exactly what it feels like for the folks on my team right now (and probably the majority of current and former Tweeps). It’s incredibly painful to see something so many have worked hard to build and maintain be destroyed over the span of several days for no good reason.

    I was in the office yesterday so didn’t want to have this up on my screen at work but I’m currently at home and am going to read through all of these comments in between job searching.

    I’m still employed but we’re hearing now that people who made any critical comments about EM in social slack channels have been fired, so that’s the newest development.

    I’ll be sure to keep you all posted as things progress. I still can’t believe I work at a place like this – Twitter was never perfect but it’s unrecognizable now.

    1. OrigCassandra*

      It sure looks like Musk has gone full-on abuser. Rather than try to be a boss who earns respect and loyalty, he’s insisting on lockstep bootlicking while he gleefully fires and/or trash-talks Twitter employees.

      I hope you get out quickly, OP, and your team too. That’s not a healthy environment to say the least. Once things settle down for you, some counseling wouldn’t be the worst idea.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Since taking over Twitter, everything Musk does seems to be exactly what Kendall Roy on Succession would do.

        Kendall would show up with a sink, fire half the engineers based on how many lines of code each wrote last month, get in many public twitter fights with people, announce that he was going to turn the business around by sleeping in the office, then announce “being hardcore” as the new strategy.

    2. Manders*

      I see that he’s demanding a pledge to be “hardcore”. I sure hope that the 3-month severance package for not signing that pledge is real. Best of luck to you, and please update us soon!

      1. coffee*

        I heard about that and immediately hoped LW took the package. It’s like the Titanic sinking over there. (I am also grief-stricken about the impending loss of my online social network, for no good reason.)

    3. 30 Years in the Biz*

      I’m so sorry this happened to you, but I’m sure there are better roads ahead! In regard to you mentioning “….we’re hearing now that people who made any critical comments about EM in social slack channels have been fired, so that’s the newest development.” My niece, a brilliant Yale-educated engineer, was fired along with colleagues at SpaceX when they banded together and wrote a critical open letter to SpaceX executives asking them to rein in Musk and “define and uniformly respond to all forms of unacceptable behavior.” Unfortunately Musk firing people who disagree is a becoming a common occurrence.

        1. Erica*

          For a man who’s so “hardcore” and works all the time, he sure has a lot of free time to screw around on Twitter.

          1. Sleeve+McQueen*

            For a man who bangs on about being a free-speech absolutist, he seems pretty comfortable punishing people who says things he doesn’t like

    4. motherofdragons*

      My heart goes out to you and your colleagues. This seems like such a heartbreaking and impossible situation.

    5. Jasmine Clark*

      Yes, please please please keep us updated! And I’m sorry that you’re watching something get messed up that you worked hard to create, but please be proud of yourself for what you’ve accomplished. Even though someone is messing it up, you still accomplished great things and you (and other Tweeps) deserve credit.