“I was part of the Shopify layoffs two weeks ago,” Andrew Galea wrote in a heartfelt Linkedin post. “With one foot out the door, on my way to a family holiday, I read the email informing me that I was being made redundant after almost six years of employment.”
Earlier in May, Shopify announced that it was cutting 20 per cent of its workforce. The news came as it reported first-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.
Mr Andrew Galea, Social Media Support Specialist / LinkedIn Photo
In a company memo released on 4th May, CEO Tobi Lütke said that Shopify was changing significantly and that there were a number of consequences to this: “After today, Shopify will be smaller by about 20 per cent.” The company had about 11,600 employees at the end of 2022.
Mr Galea explained that the layoff threat had been in the air for a while and even though the situation was uncomfortable, he felt an immense sense of relief. “Now that redundancy has finally come for me,” he wrote, “I no longer have that sword of Damocles hanging over my head. I am free.”
With reference to Mr Lütke’s comments referring to Shopify as being “at the dawn of the AI era,” Mr Galea made an interesting observation: “The letter confirmed what many of us have long suspected anyway: that Shopify is joining the AI arms race, and many Shopify jobs are destined to become collateral at some point or another. To be made redundant feels a little like freedom for me, from the jaws of The Algorithm.”
Indeed, the AI threat on jobs is a topic that has graced the headlines of many news outlets. Last March, an article published by one of UK’s main portals, Mail Online, revealed that breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence could lead to a quarter of jobs being lost in the US and in Europe.
“In a world that seems hungry to offload the burden of being human onto the limiting binaries of machine logic,” Mr galea asserted in his closing remarks, “I see this as a chance to assert my autonomy, my creativity, and my individual dignity as a person. To be valued over and above machines.”