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I just got laid off from my dream job at Tesla without warning. I feel like my life got uprooted so that a billionaire could save some money.

Business Insider logo Business Insider 6/29/2022 jgyimesi@insider.com (Jenna Gyimesi )
Quishon Walker. Quishon Walker © Quishon Walker Quishon Walker. Quishon Walker
  • Quishon Walker is a former recruiter at Tesla. He was laid off earlier this month on June 17, 2022.
  • He says that the layoffs were very sudden and that he feels for all the other people looking for work right now.
  • This is his story, as told to reporter Jenna Gyimesi. 

I worked as a recruiter at Tesla for two months before being laid off on June 17. And I'm not alone — the company is in the process of laying off 10% of salaried employees.

And there was no warning at all. I wasn't on any performance plan, and I had received nothing but positive feedback during my short stint.

And for what? All for billionaires to continue to save a little more money so they can stay afloat while uprooting the lives of thousands of people.

Tesla was my dream company

I previously worked at Apple and Google and consider myself a total tech nerd. I was very excited to work at Tesla — it has always been a dream company of mine.

My job was to look for candidates to work on the autopilot self-driving software and on the deep learning team. I live in Austin, Texas, and worked remotely. I really loved my job and ordered two Teslas for myself, which I have since canceled.

On the last day of April, our company's CEO Elon Musk sent out an email saying that we needed to return to the office.

But my understanding was that I would be a fully remote employee since my entire team was remote. I was fully transparent with my manager about my intention to work remotely when I was hired, especially since there wouldn't be anyone to collaborate with or support me if I went into the office. And they shared a lot of my concerns. 

Then on June 2, we got an email that the company was going into a hiring freeze

I was at an autopilot recruiting event in California that and received that email by the end of the day. It was shocking for me. I hadn't been through this situation at any other point in my career. 

But my colleagues reassured me that I shouldn't worry about it and that our team would be fine since Autopilot was one of Elon's priorities and personal favorites. We didn't slow down, we just started recruiting at a higher bar and made sure only exceptional candidates got through. 

The very next day we found out about a 10% salaried workforce reduction


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It was just back-to-back-to-back. My colleagues were a bit on edge, but still not worried. I was concerned, but I trusted their expertise since they've been at the company longer than I have. But this was also why I was worried: as the new hire, I didn't have the data or metrics to prove my worth on the team just yet. 

Two weeks later on June 17, while I was on a call with a candidate, I got a text from my colleague that said someone on their team had been laid off.

Shortly after that, I saw a meeting on my calendar that just said, "Meeting-Tesla"

Once that popped up, I knew that my time at the company was coming to an end. 

I joined the virtual meeting about 45 minutes later and it was my manager, and a member of HR telling me I would be terminated immediately. They basically read off a script. I know it wasn't their fault, but I struggled to maintain my composure and not cry during the meeting.

When it ended, I took a couple minutes and sat in shock. And then I cried.

I called my friends and told them what happened. I walked to a friend's apartment and they made me food and we came up with something to post on LinkedIn.

30 minutes later, I tried to log back in to my computer and it said my email was inactive

I had already lost access to everything. 

Although I couldn't email my colleagues, I've received messages from them over LinkedIn and they've been very supportive and have helped me try to find other opportunities.

But at the end of the day this whole situation still sucks, especially because we're at the beginning of a recession, and everything seems to get more expensive as the weeks drag on.

I feel for every employee who's been laid off because we're all scrambling for work now

Now I'm on the hunt for a new job, along with thousands of others who have also been laid off. While I'm in a better financial position than most, it's still tough. 

I also feel for current Tesla employees who are still at the company. Their workload just doubled and they may feel pressured to perform and do their jobs effectively, with so many reductions in headcount across the board.

And it's especially disheartening to see so many people on LinkedIn who have been affected by layoffs, but then to also see that Tesla is still hiring in so many areas at this moment.

I advise everyone to look into company culture before accepting a new position. Reach out to current employees and ask hard questions. Lean on the people closest to you and do what you need for your mental health.

Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

If you've been laid off and want to share your story, email Jenna Gyimesi at jgyimesi@insider.com.

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