Last week, I gave some New Year’s resolutions, specifically for women on the internet. One of those resolutions was to stop engaging in the trend known as “trauma dumping.” Trauma dumping, as I explained, is when women record themselves as they’re going through an emotional moment — sharing, as they say, “vulnerable stories” or private instances of their lives for all the world to see. The unspoken goal of trauma dumping is to receive praise for their vulnerability.
A recent trauma-dumping offender who came to my attention is a girl named Brittany Pietsch. Pietsch worked for a company called Cloudflare, and after receiving an invite to a virtual meeting with her superiors, she realized that she was about to get laid off because of her performance. So, before the meeting, she did her hair and makeup and set up her phone to record herself being let go — again, because of her poor performance. Pietsch was a sales rep, and when you are in sales, you have to sell. She was, however, unable to do that.
But never fear! TikTok is here. Not shockingly, Pietsch has a TikTok, so she took to her account to give her own spin on this situation, claiming she is actually the victim in this situation. That’s right: Though she was unable to do her job, she’s the victim. In this nine-minute long TikTok, a Cloudflare employee tells her they have finished reviewing performance evaluations and since Pietsch did not meet expectations, they have decided to part ways with her.
Pietsch holds up her hand and says, “I’m going to stop you right there.” She explains she started in August, underwent a three-month ramp, and only worked three weeks in December before Christmas. She claims to have “the highest activity” on her team and continues by saying, “I have had three contracts out, done a really great job managing my deals up until the very end.” As it turns out, those three deals did not close. Regardless, Pietsch says she just does not think ending her time with Cloudflare makes any sense.
Let me stop her right there. Cloudflare letting Pietsch go actually makes plenty of sense. In her interrupting response, she basically says a lot of nothing. What activity is she referring to? She doesn’t specify. Phone calls? Because if so, that is not how she’s being evaluated. Their performance evaluations are based on the employee’s ability to close deals, which she self-proclaims that she has not done. Despite the fact she got contracts out over this three-month ramp period, she was still unable to close a deal. Then she seems to think that because it was Christmas, Cloudflare should be more forgiving. In actuality, the end of the year is when most deals tend to close. It sounds like Pietsch just wasn’t doing her job.
But, no matter. She took to TikTok to proclaim herself the victim, using the word “traumatizing” in the caption — the same video in which she checks her appearance to make sure she looks ok. This is incredibly performative; it’s not vulnerable. Yet people still affirmed Pietsch’s sentiments about herself in their responses in the comments telling her she is, indeed, the victim. Why? Well, because it’s TikTok and also because, apparently, TikTokers just love a good trauma dump.
People have at least pointed to the fact that according to her LinkedIn, Pietsch has a history of working in sales but she doesn’t seem to be able to hold a job for longer than a year. That is evidence for any employer — who isn’t in her TikTok generation — that maybe this is an issue. Maybe Pietsch, despite being concerned with her hair and makeup, actually just is not very good at her jobs.
Generation TikTok does not understand that the internet is forever. Pietsch may have racked up the the likes and views she wanted for her TikTok, but now, when a future employer does a simple Google search for her, this video is what they will find — a video of a young woman who decided to secretly record the company she worked for because they did what most companies do: They fire people who are not performing well. Inevitably, this won’t bode well for her future. Secretly recording your company? That’s not trustworthy. Not taking ownership of your work? That’s not responsible.
The question I keep returning to as we reflect on the past and simultaneously look to the future while beginning a new year is: Are we creating better human beings? Unfortunately, I think the answer is, obviously not.