The Uber alumni network is riding to the rescue of hundreds of Uber employees who lost their jobs this week.
Uber said on July 29 that it was cutting more than 400 marketing employees, or a third of its global marketing team, in the largest layoff in company history. In the days since, Uber alums and other tech workers have posted hundreds of job openings in a shared Google spreadsheet, titled “Ex-Uber Marketing,” to help the laid-off workers find new gigs. As of today, the spreadsheet tab for job openings had more than 800 entries, and the tab for candidates more than 300 names.
The spreadsheet was started by Michael Houck, a former Uber employee who now works at Airbnb. After Uber announced the layoffs, Houck posted on LinkedIn inviting people who were affected to get in touch for help finding job opportunities. “These are high intent, high quality candidates—a recruiter’s perfect scenario,” Houck told Quartz in an email. “And the candidates know that the people posting the jobs (often ex-Uber themselves) are specifically interested in people with their background—a candidate’s perfect scenario. It’s a win win.”
He created the spreadsheet to keep track of people who reached out to find or offer jobs. “I never expected it to blow up like this,” he said. The spreadsheet got so popular that people were having trouble editing it—Google limits how many people can edit a shared spreadsheet at once—so Houck also created a form respondents could fill out to get their details added manually. Houck said multiple former Uber employees have offered to help him manage the document.
Tech startups are known for creating tight-knit communities that can last longer than any particular job. Uber was founded 10 years ago and operates all over the world, making its alumni network particularly large and influential. Uber alumni have taken leadership roles at other companies and founded their own startups. Two Uber alums last year created an investor syndicate to invest specifically in startups led by former Uber employees.
The speed with which Uber alumni and the broader tech community rallied to support employees who lost their jobs is yet another example of the benefits that come from working at a powerful firm like Uber. Companies advertising jobs in the spreadsheet include startups, big tech firms (Airbnb, Adobe, Amazon, Pinterest, WeWork, and Yelp), and other large corporations (ADT, Anheuser Busch, Volvo, and Walmart).
Chris Woods, an Uber employee of four years who now works at real-estate startup Belong, posted three job openings to the spreadsheet. Woods told Quartz the spreadsheet is a “strong testament to the quality of the professional network that was developed at Uber over the past decade.”
A former Uber employee in Europe who was laid off this week said that they have already had five calls for jobs, from big and small companies, since the news broke. The spreadsheet is “a ray of light in a dark situation,” they said. “It’s led me to believe that the best and most important thing I’m getting out of my time at Uber is the alumni network because the people at Uber are fundamentally amazing, it’s just that the management isn’t.”
Since he created the spreadsheet, Houck said people have already asked to remove their names because they found a job. “Pretty amazing, but not surprising,” he said. “These people weren’t let go due to underperformance, they were just unlucky to be in the wrong role or wrong location.”
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