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Second NYC Google Employee Takes Own Life

08 May, 2023 Liz Carey

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New York, NY (WorkersCompensation.com) – A senior software engineer at the New York headquarters for Google apparently died by suicide last week, the second Google engineer to do so in recent months.

Police said the man jumped from the 14th floor of Google’s 111 Eighth Ave. building around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday. Initially, police responded to a number of calls for an unconscious person lying on the ground on West 15th Street, opposite Google’s headquarters.

Police said the 31-year-old man was unconscious and taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

An investigation by police found handprints on the ledge of an open-air terrace on the 14th floor. However, investigators said they did not find a boat or any video of the engineer’s last moments.

In February, another Google employee died in an apparent suicide at the company’s Manhattan headquarters.

Jacob Pratt, 33, was found dead in his apartment at the corner of W. 26th Street in Chelsea on February 16.

According to the NY Police Department, Pratt appeared to have hanged himself in his apartment.

“Upon arrival, officers observed a 33-year-old male unconscious and unresponsive,” the NYPD told The New York Post.

Officials said paramedics arrived and was pronounced dead on the scene. Investigators said there was no sign of foul play.

Pratt had been with the company for four years as an account manager.

In January, Google cut 12,000 jobs, an estimated six percent of the company’s workforce worldwide.

At the same time, the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, received a $226 million payday, a huge increase from his compensation of $6.3 million as CEO in 2021.

Just last month, Pichai said the company could face more layoffs. In conversation with the Wall Street Journal the goal was to make the company 20 percent more efficient.

"We’re very, very focused on this set of opportunities we have, and I think there’s a lot of work left. There’s also an important inflection point with AI. Where we can, we are definitely prioritizing and moving people to our most important areas, so that is ongoing work,” he said. "We are trying to accomplish that across many different ways. We’re literally looking at every aspect of what we do, and as we said on our last earnings call, we’re thinking about how to re-engineer our cost base in a durable way. We are definitely being focused on creating durable savings.”

In December 2022, LinkedIn reported that more than 30 percent of professionals reported feeling anxious about their jobs, and fear their employers are planning budget cuts and layoffs. People in tech were some of the most concerned, the report said.

In 2022, the tech sector has had more than 150,000 layoffs. Twitter, Amazon, and Meta all laid off personnel, as well as put hiring freezes in place and rescinded some job offers. Twitter laid off 50 percent of Twitter’s workforce when he took over the company and provided employees with an ultimatum to either commit to a hardcore work environment or leave.

Some 1,200 full-time employees left because of Musk’s ultimatum, shrinking the company’s payroll to about 3,700.

Industry experts expect other tech companies will likely closely follow Mush’s strategy in trimming the fat and aggressively downsize.

According to TechCrunch, tech companies have laid off 168,243 employees in 2023, including Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

So far, in May, layoffs have racked the tech world. Rapid announced a second round of layoffs, dropping its staff from 230 in April to just 42. Meesho, cut 15 percent of its jobs, while Shopify laid off another 20 percent of its workforce, cutting more than 2,000 jobs.

In April, Dropbox laid off 500 employees, or 16 percent of its staff, while Amazon shut down its Halo Health division, part of the elimination of 18,000 jobs announced in January, bringing the total to 27,000 over the year, or 8 percent of its total workforce. Lyft announced a layoff of 26 percent of its workforce; while Meta is expected to lay off 10,000 jobs, and Redfin laid off 4 percent of the workforce. Apple announced it was laying off a small number of roles on its corporate retail team.

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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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