Google worker is laid off while in LABOR

‘Laid off in labor’: Google employee of nearly 10 years is fired while lying in a hospital bed hours after GIVING BIRTH – new mom says she was ‘unable to make sense of any of it’ but sent encouragement to 12K others let go

  •  Kate Howells was fired from Google after working 10 years for the company 
  • The tech company laid off about 12,000 workers, or 6% of its workforce 
  • Howells had just given birth when she received the email notification 

A Google employee holding her hours-old newborn baby found out that she was one of 12,000 workers let go as the tech giant slashes its work force.

Kate Howells, an employee of the tech company for nearly 10 years, found out she was fired while in her hospital bed still recovering from labor and delivery. 

Google announced on January 20 that roughly 6 percent of its workforce was cut – including Howells, who was not only on maternity leave, but was also the head of her department. 

 ‘I’ve read before that job loss is one of the top ten most stressful experiences you can have in life, and that welcoming a new child is one of the happiest,’ Howells wrote on LinkedIn.

‘So what happens in the extremely unusual circumstance that those things collide within ten hours? A very intense and emotionally confusing postpartum hospital stay.’

Kate Howells was fired from Google after working nearly 10 years for the company. She received notice from the company on January 20 – hours after giving birth 

Howells mourned her job as the head of reach and ROI Go to market, global client and agency solutions while celebrating the birth of her second son. The first days of his life were filled with a mix of pain and joy she said. 

‘The waves of physical exhaustion and pain, hormones, adrenaline, shock, feelings of loss mixed with feelings of love for my newborn and my incredible birth and life partner Alan Watson ebbed and flowed into each other,’ she wrote. 

‘For those 48 hours I was unable to make sense of any of it.’ 

She added: ‘There were tears, there were snuggles, there were long talks with my husband, words of encouragement from angelic L&D nurses and a flood of supportive messages from former colleagues.’ 

‘So what now… There’s something called the peak-end rule in psychology that people judge an experience based on its peak and based on its end. The peak of this experience is over and will be one of the most memorable days of my life to say the least. But it’s not the end.

‘If there’s anything Googlers and moms can do best it’s to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps.’ 

Howells reached out to Google’s HR team to ask how her maternity leave benefits will be impacted but hasn’t received a response. 

She started journey at the tech company in 2013 as a senior industry analyst in New York City before making her way up in the company as a global business manager and global insights and measurement lead.

Her husband Watson works remotely as an automation engineer where he has been employed for nearly a year, according to his LinkedIn. 

Howells mourned her job while managing the birth of her second son. She described the process as ‘waves of physical exhaustion and pain’ 

While Howells said she has received support, offers and career advice, she isn’t quite ready to begin her next job search. 

For now, the new mom of two plans to take it day by day while enjoying her time off to care for her newborn in Phoenix, Arizona. 

‘I am going to continue as planned in taking time with my family to heal and adjust, now re-terming it as “life maternity leave”,’ she wrote.

‘The end point isn’t a clear picture for me amidst this newborn haze, but I know I can take back control of this story and when I look back I’ll say I’m so grateful this led me to {fill in the blank}.’ 

Howells was not the only Google employee on maternity leave or paternity leave who received notice they were a part of the company’s massive layoff scheme.

Howells’ post received more than 14,000 interactions as of Wednesday afternoon 

One married couple, who both worked for Google, with a four-month-old baby received notice on Friday that they were both let go.

Allie and Steve, who asked to go by their first names only, told Business Insider that they had worked for the company for years and the generous parental leave was one of its biggest attractions.

The couple had their first child in fall 2022 when Allie went on eight months of parental leave. Steve took two months in late 2022 and was set to take a further two in March.

Allie was a marketing manager at Google, while Steve had been a research operations manager – the pair said they ‘didn’t really see each other every day at work’ because they worked in different buildings. 

The new mom said that she ‘absolutely’ enjoyed her ‘six wonderful years’ at the company, in particular praising her colleagues and staff benefits, while Steve said that Google has invested a lot of time and money into its staff. 

The pair appear to be optimistic about the future despite the shock firing, telling Business Insider that they planned to use the opportunity to develop their own business, White Cube Media, which makes animated explainer videos for companies.

‘This was the push that we needed,’ Allie said.

The tech giant announced that it would lay of 12,000 people on Friday, roughly 6 percent

Katherine Wong was 34-weeks pregnant and was due to go on maternity leave next week when she found out that she was fired.

In a post to her LinkedIn she wrote: ‘While I am at my 8 months pregnancy and only one week away from my maternity leave it was wonderful to know that I’m one week closer to seeing my baby after completing a comprehensive handover doc before I take my leave as a Program Manager.

‘However, the moment I checked my phone, my heart sank. I am one of the impacted 12,000,’ she added.

‘The first thought that came to my mind was ‘Why me? Why now?’. It was hard to process and digest, especially the news that came after a positive performance review.’

Meanwhile, Justin Moore, who had worked for the company for 16 years, said that he had been laid off among the mass firings on Friday through an automated account deactivation.

He said he hadn’t received any other ‘information’ or ‘communication’ about being let go. Even if he did receive communication, he was unable to access it because of the deactivation.

‘This also just drives home that work is not your life, and employers — especially big, faceless ones like Google — see you as 100 percent disposable,’ Moore said to Business Insider.

Justin Moore (left) and Katherine Wong (right) were also affected by the workforce lay-offs by Google

Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s CEO, said, I am confident about the huge opportunity in front of us thanks to the strength of our mission, the value of our products and services, and our early investments in AI’  

A class-action lawsuit was filed against the company accusing it of violating the Family and Medical Leave Act by terminating workers on or soon to take parental leave.

Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s CEO, said in the note, ‘I am confident about the huge opportunity in front of us thanks to the strength of our mission, the value of our products and services, and our early investments in AI.’

The cost cutting moves have been mirrored across the tech industry. The most in-demand workers right now are blue collar employees, while white-collar workers have seen major job losses in the last year. 

The phenomenon has been dubbed ‘richcession’ by those in the field.

Tech job cuts – including mass layoffs at Meta and Twitter – are accelerating

In recent months, a slew of tech companies have announced cost-cutting measures, with Amazon, Apple and Google-parent Alphabet all announcing hiring slowdowns or freezes.

For the tech sector, the pandemic boom has turned to a post-pandemic bust, as rising interest rates batter share prices and inflation cuts into profits.

The sector shed 9,587 jobs in October, the highest monthly total since November 2020, according to data from consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas cited by Bloomberg. 

Total job cuts announced by US-based employers jumped 13 percent to 33,843 in October, the highest since February 2021, a report said. 


The Facebook-parent said in November it would cut 13 percent of its workforce, or more than 11,000 employees, in one of the biggest tech layoffs this year as it grapples with a weak advertising market and mounting costs.

Meta said it would cut 13 percent of its workforce, or more than 11,000 employees, in one of the biggest tech layoffs this year

Like its peers, Meta aggressively hired during the pandemic to meet a surge in social media usage by stuck-at-home consumers. 

But but the pandemic boom-times have petered out as advertisers and consumers pull the plug on spending in the face of soaring costs and rapidly rising interest rates.

After plunging billions into CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse vision with little to show for it, Meta has been faced with rising costs and shrinking profits.

Meta, once worth more than $1 trillion, is now valued at $256 billion after losing more than 70 percent of its value last year alone. 

‘Not only has online commerce returned to prior trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused our revenue to be much lower than I’d expected,’ Zuckerberg said in a message to employees, according to Reuters.

‘I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.’

Zuckerberg delivered the grim news about job cuts on a call with hundreds of Meta executives

On a short call, a red-eyed Zuckerberg addressed employees but took no questions. 

He stuck to a script that closely followed the wording in the morning’s blogpost and called the increased investments in e-commerce a ‘big mistake in planning.’


Twitter laid off half its workforce across teams ranging from communications and content curation to product and engineering following Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover.

The cutbacks affected roughly 3,700 employees, who learned their fate by email last week. 

However, Bloomberg reported Twitter was reaching out to dozens of employees who lost their jobs, asking them to return.

Twitter laid off half its workforce across teams ranging from communications and content curation to product and engineering

Musk previously said there was no other choice but to impose mass layoffs as the company loses hundreds of millions of dollars every year and needs a financial overhaul


In January, cloud-based software company Salesforce announced it will layoff 10 percent of its employees or about 8,000 workers.

CEO Marc Benioff cited a rough period for the tech sector as well as over-hiring during COVID-19 leading to the decision. 

Several weeks ago, it quietly laid off hundreds of employees.

‘Our sales performance process drives accountability. Unfortunately, that can lead to some leaving the business, and we support them through their transition,’ a Salesforce spokesperson told CNBC in a statement several weeks ago.

Salesforce had 73,541 employees at the beginning of last year – it is the largest employer in the San Francisco area. 

The company said in an August filing that headcount rose 36 percent in the past year ‘to meet the higher demand for services from our customers.’ 


Amazon said it would layoff 18,000 corporate and technology jobs what will be the largest job cuts in the company’s history.

The move comes as the company reportedly lost $1trillion over the year after its stock plummeted from a high during the pandemic. 

If the company goes through with its proposal to cut 10,000 jobs, it would lose about 3 percent of Amazon’s corporate employees

The move comes after the company put a hiring freeze in place, affecting major teams including Prime Video, Alexa and Amazon Fresh.

‘We’re facing an unusual macroeconomic environment, and want to balance our hiring and investments with being thoughtful about this economy,’ Beth Galetti, senior vice president of people experience and technology at Amazon, wrote in a memo, which was seen by the Wall Street Journal.


Intel Corp’s CEO Pat Gelsinger told Reuters ‘people actions’ would be part of a cost-reduction plan. 

The chipmaker said recently it would reduce costs by $3 billion in 2023, then ramping that up to $10 billion by 2025.

The adjustments would start in the fourth quarter, Gelsinger said, but did not specify how many employees would be affected.

Some Intel divisions, including the sales and marketing group, could be cut by up to 20 percent, Bloomberg News reported last month, citing people with knowledge of the situation.

Chipmaker Intel is reportedly planning major layoffs, likely numbering in the thousands, in the face of a slowdown in the personal computer market

The company had 113,700 employees as of July, when it slashed its annual sales forecast by $11 billion after missing estimates for second-quarter results.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, California declined to comment on the job cuts when reached by in October. 

Intel has been battered by shifting market trends, including the decline of traditional personal computers as smartphones and tablets rise in popularity.

Last quarter, global PC shipments, including desktops and laptops, declined another 15 percent from a year ago, according to IDC. 


Microsoft in January initiated layoffs of 10,000 employees, citing slowing customer demand and a negative economic environment.

‘We’re also seeing organizations in every industry and geography exercise caution as some parts of the world are in a recession and other parts are anticipating one,’ CEO Satya Nadella said in a company memo.

The layoffs affected nearly 5 percent of Microsoft’s global workforce. 

Microsoft previously laid off under 1,000 employees across several divisions last year, according to Axios.

In a statement, Microsoft executives said: ‘Like all companies, we evaluate our business priorities on a regular basis, and make structural adjustments accordingly.

Microsoft laid off under 1,000 employees across several divisions last month, according to Axios

‘We will continue to invest in our business and hire in key growth areas in the year ahead.’

Microsoft executives previously announced in July that it was laying off less than 1 percent of its workforce and significantly slow hiring, as its revenue fell short of investor expectations.

The company recorded only $51.9 billion in revenue during the second quarter of the year, but was expected to rake in $52.4 billion.

It had previously recorded blockbuster growth during the COVID pandemic, when consumers and businesses turned to its products as they shifted to a work-from-home model.


Ride-hailing firm Lyft said it would lay off 13 percent of its workforce, or about 683 employees, after it already cut 60 jobs earlier this year and froze hiring in September.

Lyft said in a regulatory filing it would likely incur $27 to $32 million in restructuring charges related to the layoffs. 

‘We are not immune to the realities of inflation and a slowing economy,’ Lyft’s founders wrote in the memo to staffers. 

Ride-hailing firm Lyft said it would lay off 13 percent of its workforce, or about 683 employees, after it already cut 60 jobs earlier this year

The company’s share price has fallen 76 percent since the beginning of the year and currently stands at around $10, compared to nearly $45 in January.

Announcing the job cuts in a memo seen by the Wall Street Journal, Lyft founders John Zimmer and Logan Green told staff: ‘There are several challenges playing out across the economy.

‘We’re facing a probable recession sometime in the next year and rideshare insurance costs are going up.

‘We worked hard to bring down costs this summer: we slowed, then froze hiring; cut spending; and paused less-critical initiatives.

‘Still, Lyft has to become leaner, which requires us to part with incredible team members.’

Lyft has about 4,000 employees, not including its drivers.


The music streaming service said on January 22 it plans to cut 6% of its workforce, an estimated 588 employees from its 9,800 full time staff. 

Spotify said it will incur about $38million in severance-related charges.

The company, whose CEO is Daniel Ek, said its chief content and advertising business officer Dawn Ostroff will also depart.

Spotify said on January 22 it plans to cut 6% of its workforce, an estimated 588 employees


Though Apple has not yet announced any major layoffs, CEO Tim Cook told CBS Mornings that it is slowing some hiring as well.

‘What we’re doing as a consequence of being in this period, is we’re being very deliberate in our hiring,’ he said. ‘That means we’re continuing to hire, but not everywhere in the company are we hiring.’

At the same time, though, Cook said ‘we don’t believe you can save your way to prosperity.”

‘We think you invest your way to it,’ he said.




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