Google layoffs: Laid-off employee shares the 'blindsiding' moment she was sacked in viral TikTok video

Screenshots from Nicole Tsai's video of her crying after finding out she's been laid-off from Google
Nicole Tsai was one of the thousands of Google workers to lose her job in a mass layoff. Photo credit: @nicolesdailyvlog / TikTok

A Google employee who went viral for her behind-the-scenes insights into the tech giant's swanky offices has now shared the moment she was sacked in a mass layoff. 

Nicole Tsai, formerly a partner services programme manager at one of Google's corporate centres in California, gained popularity on TikTok for her vlog-style videos that gave viewers a glimpse into what it's like to work in the tech giant's trendy Irvine office. 

Over the last month, Tsai has racked up more than 3.5 million views on her "day in the life" videos, many of which documented the outlandish features at the office - including a Harry Potter-themed workspace, a butterfly-themed meeting room, a giant slide, a game room, a DJ booth in the kitchen, scooters for inter-office transport and a speakeasy. 

But in a video shared over the weekend, Tsai candidly documented the shocking moment she discovered her job had been terminated in a mass layoff, titling the clip: "A Day in My Life Getting Laid Off at Google."

The clip, which has been viewed by almost four million at the time of writing, captured the events that surrounded the devastating news, including an "ominous" text from her boss that morning asking her to give them a call.

After receiving the text Tsai said she immediately called her boss, who told her to check the news and her email. After hanging up, Tsai was devastated to see a report by Bloomberg that revealed Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., had announced it was cutting 12,000 jobs - about six percent of its global workforce.

When she attempted to login to her Google account, Tsai said she realised she'd "lost access to basically everything", including her email and calendar. 

"I called my boss back and we just sobbed over the phone because she was also finding out about my layoff for the first time," Tsai narrated the clip, which included raw footage of her sobbing into a tissue and wiping away her tears.

Tsai then shared screenshots of several texts from her coworkers as her team attempted to deduce who else had been let go across their office.

"I think the worst part is that it seems no one was consulted on this decision and everyone was just finding out about the layoffs at the same time. It just felt like a really bad game of Russian Roulette - there was no consistency around who was let go," Tsai continued.

"It was also not performance-based so it just felt really random."

Next Tsai logged into LinkedIn, where she discovered many others were in the same boat - a revelation she said "was not great" for her mental health. 

"[They] were both equally as shocked and blindsided," she added. "But it did help me feel a little less alone. 

"Honestly I spent so much of the day crying that I just felt so tired from being sad and wanted to do something that would just make me feel better."

In an attempt to lift her spirits, Tsai decided to visit Disneyland that evening, adding: "I wanted to go and eat my feelings." The clip then documented the sweet treats Tsai indulged in, including a cinnamon churro, a teriyaki turkey leg, some chocolate-coated rice krispies and a corndog. 

"I don't really know what's next for me but I'll be vlogging my journey and posting more content about it so feel free to follow along," she concluded.

Without warning, Google's parent company Alphabet announced on Friday (local time) it was slashing 12,000 jobs worldwide after a "rigorous review" - the latest in a string of mass layoffs across the tech industry. While many of the laid-off employees received the news via email overnight, those who didn't check their emails before heading into work only realised they'd been terminated when their access badges were denied, it was later revealed.

"Over the past two years we've seen periods of dramatic growth," Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement, as reported by local media. 

"To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today. We've undertaken a rigorous review across product areas and functions to ensure that our people and roles are aligned with our highest priorities as a company. The roles we're eliminating reflect the outcome of that review."

Sharing her thoughts later on LinkedIn, Tsai reiterated she was "completely blindsided by this decision", but added "there is some comfort knowing I'm not the only one".

"I've always dreamed of working at Google, and feel grateful to have fulfilled that dream," she wrote. "I've certainly enjoyed every minute of being a Googler."

She listed her highlights as "visiting 10 Google offices", "presenting at conferences and at universities", launching the "Delivery Readiness Index with an amazing team" and "leading Women@Irvine, the employee resource group".

"I don't know what's next - get yoga teacher certified? Grow my Etsy shop plant business? Almost at my 1000th sale!" she wrote.

"I'll be spending some time looking for new opportunities and enjoying this time off."

Other dismissed employees have taken to Twitter to condemn the mass layoff, with Jeremy Joslin - who said he worked for the tech giant for two decades - writing: "It's hard for me to believe that after 20 years at #Google I unexpectedly find out about my last day via an email. What a slap in the face. I wish I could have said goodbye to everyone face to face."