Former employees of tech giants including Meta and Salesforce say they were hired to sit around and essentially do nothing as companies embark on a course-correction and lay off extraneous workers during the current economic downturn.
Britney Levy, 35, posted a TikTok video in which she described her experiences while working for Meta for just eight months last year before being laid off in November.
Levy told The Wall Street Journal that she was hired by Facebook’s parent company in April of last year after completing a yearlong training program geared toward recruiting diverse employees.
“Working at Meta was really weird,” Levy said in the clip, which was posted last month but has since gone viral.
Shortly after she was hired, Levy said that “everyone else that I worked with [in the training program] got to work on stuff but I didn’t.”
“I mean, we were just sitting there,” she said. “You had to fight to find work.”
Levy added: “It kind of seemed that Meta was hiring people so that other companies couldn’t have us.”
“They were just kind of like hoarding us like Pokémon cards,” she said. “It was a very strange time to work there.”
Levy told The Journal: “I was like, am I being set up for failure?”
Levy’s recollections dovetail with those of career coach Madelyn Machado, who also posted a TikTok video last month in which she claimed that she was paid a $190,000 salary to do “nothing” during her six-month stint as a recruiter at the company.
Derrick McMillen, a 32-year-old tech worker whose resume includes stints at Facebook and Salesforce, told The Journal that he got the sense that just 20% of the employees at Salesforce did 80% of the work while the others did on-site yoga and took long lunches.
McMillen said that those who did work were pushed to do so by the slackers and that any attempt to push back would have likely earned the go-getters a reputation as being difficult.
“There’s this fluffy image of everyone’s just so nice,” McMillen told The Journal.
“But when the culture doesn’t let you tell people they’re underperforming, you end up with a team of slackers.”
McMillen is currently an engineering manager at Niche Protocol, a Los Angeles-based startup.
According to his LinkedIn profile, McMillen worked as a software engineer at San Francisco-based Salesforce for more than a year beginning in late 2013.
He then spent a year working at Facebook starting in late 2014.
Salesforce and Meta are two tech giants that have laid off thousands in recent months.
Experts said that tech firms overhired in order to meet surging demand during the pandemic.
“As people could not or would not leave home, technology had to fill gaps, and companies of all types had to invest in tech-based solutions,” Michael Allmond, the co-founder of adult-themed retailer Lover’s Lane, told The Post.
“Our business. which sells many products used in the home, needed to rely more on digital solutions to meet growing demand from consumers, and we had to invest in more tech in order to meet this demand, so it is no surprise that big tech needed to increase the size of their teams.”
Amy Spurling, the founder and CEO of the human resources software startup Compt, told The Post that the “uncertainty surrounding the pandemic made it difficult for companies to accurately predict their hiring needs, resulting in overcompensation.”
“In this economy, operations are reminiscent of 2008, but 2023 requires a different playbook,” Spurling told The Post.
“Companies are moving quickly as they’re focused on right-sizing and becoming more efficient with their budgets.”
The Post has sought comment from Meta and Salesforce.
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