Former Cloudflare employee Brittany Pietsch goes viral after filming brutal firing process

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Published Jan 18, 2024 at 02:22 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

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Experiencing unexpected termination from a job, also known as getting brutally sacked, is undoubtedly a stressful situation. So imagine how Brittany Pietsch, an American tech worker, felt when she found out that she had been abruptly dismissed from her position as an account executive at web firm Cloudflare after only three months.

Sensing that something was amiss during the lead-up to the meeting, Pietsch decided to set up a camera to record the entire conversation—without the knowledge of those on the other end of the call, of course. The end product, a nine-minute-long video, was then shared on TikTok and quickly garnered millions of views across various social media platforms.

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In the clip, Pietsch, a Mid-Market Account Executive at Cloudflare, is seen attempting to argue her case and identify the reasons why she’s being let go. While you’d think some people would be sympathetic to the woman’s situation, the comments section was not exactly giving friendly vibes. Although, some netizens backed Pietsch’s decision, like this one below:

You also had people like resident bully Candace Owens who felt differently:

Clearly wanting to respond to the internet’s reaction, Pietsch posted a lengthy statement on her LinkedIn. In it, she stated: “Well, I think by now many, many people have seen the video of me being unexpectedly laid off with no true reason or explanation. There’s several areas of speculation so I thought I would try to address it here.”

Further on in the statement, Pietsch explained how her manager had not been made aware of the call, how it had been placed in her calendar randomly without warning or context, and that her sole mission in the video was to try and understand why she was being let go in such bizarre and unnecessary circumstances.

“The last few days have been a roller coaster, receiving more messages and DMs than ever. The incredible support has restored my faith in the corporate world. The most common message I’m getting is how many have faced similar cold, unexplainable firings. Stories of sudden life changes with no explanation. Heartbreaking, isn’t it?” the post continued.

The Atlanta-based woman went on to acknowledge the overwhelming support she’s received since posting the original TikTok, expressing gratitude for the outpouring of messages and DMs. Pietsch also highlighted the prevalence of similar experiences, citing stories of abrupt firings without clear explanations and people expressing regret for not standing up for themselves.

Responding to comments suggesting that her actions might make it challenging for her to find future employment, Pietsch remained strong in her stance, asserting that any company not willing to hire her due to the video is not one she would want to work for anyway.

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince responded to the criticism following the viral TikTok video, stating: “The video is painful for me to watch,” he wrote on X. The CEO acknowledged the company’s decision to terminate around 40 salespeople, attributing it to the normal quarter behaviour of performance management. Prince acknowledged imperfections in the hiring process and emphasised the pain of the situation, noting that managers and HR should always be involved in such processes.

“Sometimes underperforming employees don’t actually listen to the feedback they’ve gotten before we let them go.We think the right thing to do is get people we know are unlikely to succeed off the team as quickly as possible so they can find the right place for them.

“That wasn’t the mistake here. The mistake was not being more kind and humane as we did,” Prince concluded.

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