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getting fired

Brittany Pietsch documetns being fired from Cloudflare.

A video making the rounds on TikTok is a prime example of how American corporate culture can be downright cruel. Even the company CEO said it was “painful” to watch. The video was posted on TikTok by Brittany Pietsch, who was fired from her job as an account executive at Cloudflare just 3 months after being hired.

Cloudflare is an American company that provides content delivery network services and cloud cybersecurity, based in San Francisco, California.

After hearing her coworkers were getting fired through video calls, Pietsch prepared herself to push back against the bad news, when one was scheduled for her. But she had very little ground to stand on in the conversation because the HR people doing the firing had little knowledge of her situation and all of the answers sounded scripted.

The video, titled "POV: You're about to get laid off," featured Pietsch looking at her computer screen and although you cannot see the people firing her, their voices can be heard.


Original creator reposting: brittany peach cloudflare layoff. When you know you’re about to get laid off so you film it :) this was traumatizing honestly lmao #cloudflare #techlayoffs #tech #layoff

"We finished our evaluations of 2023 performance and this is where you've not met Cloudflare expectations for performance and we've decided to part ways with you," the HR representative can be heard saying.

Pietsch was shocked that she was being laid off because she had just started the job in October and her 3-month ramp-up was interrupted by the holidays. "I'm going to stop you right there,” she said. “I've been on a three-month ramp, and then it was three weeks of December, and then a week of Christmas and here we are. I have had the highest activity amongst my team."

The 3-month ramp-up is the allotment of time a company gives a salesperson to get up to speed on their new assignment. She also thought that she was meeting expectations at her new job.

"Every single one-on-one I've had with my manager, every conversation I've had with him, he's been giving me nothing but that I am doing a great job,” she said.

Even though Pietsch may have a case for keeping her job, she soon realizes she has no chance to save it because the HR people know very little about her performance. The HR representatives say they aren't giving her any "clarity or answers” that will “meet the expectations that you're communicating to us." The HR people add that they are happy to follow up with her about her performance, but Pietsch doubts that will ever happen. "But then when?” she asks. “If it's not as I'm getting fired, it's certainly not going to be after when I'm no longer part of the company." Eventually, the exchange ends when the HR representative concludes that there is nothing they can do for her.

"So I don't think there's anything we can say in this moment or today, Brittany, that's going to change the way that you feel,” the HR representative said before moving the conversation toward the next steps of the firing process.

The video has been seen over 4 million times on X, so the CEO of Cloudflare Matthew Prince, responded to the video on the platform. He admitted that the video was painful to watch but reiterated that Pietsch was let go for her performance.

The positive takeaway is that the CEO noted the process wasn’t “kind” or “humane” and that he will look into “improving” it “going forward.” The video is also an excellent example for other companies on how not to let someone go, especially at a time when people are very sensitive about workplace behavior on social media.