“The rich and arrogant guy ended up destroying excellent working culture.” Ukrainian Engineer on his quitting from Twitter

Elon Musk owns Twitter for less than a month, and already managed to do a lot of controversial changes in the company. The mass layoffs have become the biggest one, leaving Twitter with less than 15% of its initial staff. The Ukrainian Staff Engineer Vitaliy Bondarenko, who worked at Twitter for 14 months, was the one who decided to leave the company because he didn’t like Musk’s managing approach. He shared his story in LinkedIn, AIN.Capital publishes the most interesting details.

Harassed and offended employees

November 17, 2022, was Bondarenko’s last day at Twitter. He worked for an infrastructure team that owns several critical services.

“I’ve worked with very talented engineers there, and I am proud of what this team achieved. I am so sad about how it ended, though. The rich and arrogant guy, who bought Twitter, ended up destroying its excellent working culture based on trust and transparency,”

he writes.

According to Vitaliy, Musk started by not communicating his intention, followed by laying off 50% of the workforce based on unknown metrics. Moreover, he harassed and offended employees while firing them. Bondarenko gives some examples of inappropriate behavior of Musk and his managers:

  • After realizing he fired some critical engineers, his team called them back and asked to stay, giving 15(!) minutes for the decision. 
  • One of his most close new directors (according to Bondarenko, it was Luke Simon) publicly stated Twitter engineers are “lazy, needed only for knowledge transfer and will be fired after it is complete.” 
  • His Testa staff went through public Slack channels and purged everyone who was criticizing or even not just accepting Elon’s way of dealing with the company.
  • Engineers were called incompetent for not agreeing with something the new ruler said. 

“Ultimately, Elon decided it was time to let only loyal employees stay. He sent an ultimatum to the workforce requiring them to commit to a “new hardcore culture, working long hours and weekends” by opening the Google form with a single “Yes, I want to work for Twitter 2.0″. This was it! It broke the patience of people, I guess. It broke mine and made me very angry”,

Bondarenko states.

As a result, several critical teams were torn down completely, and others were left with 10-20% of the pre-acquisition headcount. Only some of the engineers signed the “new order”. Less than 1000 employees from 7400+ left before the acquisition.

Bondarenko assures, that Twitter’s infrastructure will survive anyway, because it was built very well. But he himself decided to quit.

“I cannot be part of a company led by an arrogant so-called “leader” who proclaims free speech but fires you for your opinion,” 

the Engineer concludes.

Why is it interesting

In less than a month, Elon Mask messed things up at Twitter, achieving uncertainty about how his brand new “Twitter 2.0” will look like. It is yet unclear if Twitter will cope with lack of experienced engineers in crucial teams. Some users already reported problems with singing in to the service. Mask’s decision to make Twitter’s blue check mark a paid option also done a lot of trouble to its users. It even led to the emergence of a fraudulent scheme. And the last but not least, the stories like that Vitaliy has told doesn’t make Twitter to look like a nice place to work.