Up in the Air 2.0: Terminated by Zoom

Just seeing this video this morning of Brittany Pietsch’s layoff experience at Cloudflare. This should be a must watch for anyone who is a manager or works in HR. Contacted by two people she’s never met instead of her actual manager, Brittany asks excellent questions and generally maintains her composure despite a very tough termination call where she’s provided with zero explanation as to why she has not met ambiguous performance benchmarks, despite positive feedback from her manager. Throughout the eight-minute call, and asking for an explanation multiple times, she’s given no actual reason for her termination.

One of my favorite movies is Up in the Air, a 2009 film where George Clooney, a smooth-talking motivational speaker, flies around the country firing people he’s never met in person, until a brash new hire, Anna Kendrick, pitches the company on doing the firings over zoom to save money (which ironically, would render Clooney obsolete). The pandemic obviously accelerated that reality, but here we are, just 15 years later.

If this develops into a trend of employees sharing their termination calls, companies are really going to have think long and hard about their process. That’s a good thing – and let’s face it, this is the world we live in, where young people are unapologetically sharing all aspects of their life. Kudos to you for not being satisfied without an explanation, Brittany.

If she’s this good at handling objections, she must be a pretty decent salesperson, right? Meanwhile, Cloudflare’s reputation has been cost far more than whatever salary Ms. Pietsch was drawing, that’s for sure.

Brittany, if I can make any introductions in my network in 2024, don’t hesitate to reach out.

This video is a Must watch.

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