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Workers want respect

Some former tech workers aren’t too happy with the lack of consideration shown by their employers — and they’re not afraid to tell the world.

Take the woman who started the layoff reaction video trend: Brittany Pietsch, a former account executive at cloud connectivity company Cloudflare. When she got laid off in early January, she recorded her entire nine-minute conversation with HR and posted it to TikTok.

Commenters are appalled by her HR department’s refusal to give her a specific reason to terminate her after just four months.

“To be let go for no reason is a huge slap in the face,” Pietsch said to HR in her video. “It must be very easy for you to just have these little 10-minute, 15-minute meetings, tell someone that they’re fired, completely wreck their whole life and then that’s it, with no explanation. That’s extremely traumatizing for people.”

The TikTok has racked up over a million views — and even caught the attention of Cloudflare CEO, Matthew Prince.

“The video is painful for me to watch,” he wrote on X. “But any healthy org needs to get the people who aren’t performing off. That wasn’t the mistake here. The mistake was not being more kind and humane as we did.”

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How will this affect tech?

There are many ways that the layoffs could affect the tech industry, but the biggest one is recruitment efforts.

Worker frustration has been mounting in the tech sector much before this round of layoffs. Tech employees have been fighting for unions, stricter ethical frameworks and better diversity and inclusion policies, according to several New York Times reports.

Tech careers marketplace Dice surveyed tech workers in 2023, and 60% said they were likely to change employers within the next year — up 8% since 2022.

Other sectors are now actively looking to hire laid off tech workers, Dice CEO Art Zeile told CNBC. Industries such as aerospace, consulting, health care, financial services and education are happy to take on these workers. According to Zeile, ex-techies are happy to jump to these new areas because they often offer more work-life balance and permanency than the tech world does.

“The idea of stability is much more part of the conversation today,” he said.

What to read next

Sabina Wex is a writer and podcast producer in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Fast Company, CBC and more.


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