Engineer laid off from Google while on 3 month 'mental health break' feels firing was 'personal attack'

Los Angeles-based engineer said she "bled for Google," and "silently mourned [the job] until the morning" after receiving her notice of termination.

One of the 12,000 Google employees who were laid off last month said she took it personally after getting canned while taking a three-month leave of absence from work due to her mental health issues, saying she "silently mourned" and "bled" for the company.

Ali Neil, 29, told Business Insider that she was checking her email at 2 am on Jan 20 when she saw the pink slip from her former employer, saying it felt like a "personal attack" despite being one of the thousands worldwide who were also laid off from the tech giant.

Los Angeles-based engineer said she "bled for Google," and "silently mourned [the job] until the morning" after receiving her notice of termination. In the interview, she said Google felt like a safe space where jobs seemed to be secure.

Neil described the mass firings as "un-Googley."

"Now I'm left here having to find a job for the first time in years after being on mental health leave in quite possibly one of the most difficult hiring situations and housing markets," she said in the interview, published Tuesday.

As reported by the New York Post, Neil had been employed at Google since August 2020, but had been on leave for about three months on a mental health break when she was laid off.

In a LinkedIn post following her termination, Neil called it "devastating."

The former engineer told Insider that Google immediately blocked her from accessing their systems through her work computer, and told her that she wasn't allowed to return company property at the office but would rather have to either give them to security stationed outside the office or mail them.

Neil's layoff is just one in around 12,000 recently laid-off Google workers, including the former head of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Kristin Maczko, who had worked at the company for nearly 15 years. In a LinkedIn post, she also expressed her hurt at the layoffs, saying "I have had so many emotions these past few days. I am sad to leave the many friends and colleagues who I have worked with at Google."

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet, said in a memo last month that the layoffs affected workers "across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions," and that the cuts required a "rigorous review."

In lieu of potential further job cuts, many workers called on Google executives to put their "psychological safety" first, according to Insider.
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