Wrongful termination of DevRel leader at Fast

Traumatizing story of yet another toxic tech company trying to silence women who are mistreated.

tl;dr I was the #DevRel leader at Fast and was terminated for lack of performance after reporting a male team member for consistently leaving me out of key meetings, discussions and decisions. I provided clear proof of this behavior and was terminated hours later. I had no job description, no direction from my manager, no support from my manager, no critical feedback, no performance reviews, no write-ups or warning, & no performance improvement plan.

I owned documentation, and in the below screenshots you can see where although I was the owner of the deliverables of this meeting, I was not given the same opportunity as the other male team members were given to contribute. I was marked optional, this was scheduled during my non-working hours, told to just watch (what the men decide) and I was laughed at for trying to gain clarity. I reported this email thread & behavior and was terminated hours later.

They’ve mistreated female employees, they’ve given better and more opportunities to men (there’s proof), they’ve rescinded offers due to arrogance, they’ve called themselves “Apple,” they recently wiped their entire Slack workspace, and they continue to fail and fall short with interviews, caring for employees and addressing fundamental toxic issues within their org.

They tried to silence me with money, knowing that I need it, and I refuse to accept their hush money. I have ethics.

If you have a story to tell about Fast and how you were treated, please share that insight via email here or directly with me. They are looking for documents & proof, as well as witnesses to attest to their behavior.


Where do I even start?

To build off my introduction, there’s a lot more to the story. A lot more that I have to share. I don’t have the emotional capacity to break down this story right now, but this Twitter thread has some insights for you. It’s on lockdown, so you’ll have to be an active follower to see it though.

You will be able to read the full story with documents, screenshots and much more when this all goes public via a reporter and/or a filed lawsuit.

My profiles are locked down

I have no idea who I can trust at this point. I have learned enough about Fast these last few days to know that they have no remorse for hurting people and they don’t care what it takes to find success, even if it means destroying peoples lives in order to do so. I have attained an attorney (contingency w/99% success rate) & am working with one trusted reporter. I’m leaving the rest of the work up to them. I put myself out there, I shared what I can share and I’m physically, emotionally & mentally exhausted.

I’ve hit a wall and I have no energy to knock it down.

If you’ve reached out, I’m sorry for not responding

I’ve prioritized messages that I could handle in the state I was in during these awful last few days. Many messages and very key opportunities have been left unanswered.

Thankfully my cousin by marriage, and one day, full-time Devocate employee, has been sorting through the inquiries and has begun organizing them.

My concerns — venting 🤪

Everyone keeps asking how they can help me and I really just want to cry and say they can’t but we all know that’s not true. I’m just too tired to even think. So instead of sitting here thinking about exactly what I need, I am going to share what I am worried about.

Financial distress

If you listened to my Racket I recorded earlier last week—long before I knew I was being terminated—you know that I am the only income in our household. We normally have a solid 4-6 months of expenses in our bank account. However, earlier in the year, our family went through the worst times of our entire lives. And many very unfortunate circumstances led to the draining of our savings account. We’re about a month ahead on expenses currently, but nowhere near the cushion we used to have. I’ve been killing myself these last few days trying to find client work & other ways to make money so we don’t get down to being in actual fear, but as I shared above, I’ve hit a wall that I can’t break down. I’m currently concerned about my physical health.

I’m not looking to work for another company again until I have spent a significant amount of time building relationships with the team, especially leadership, and have completed a minimum of 6 months of contract or part-time work with them.

In a perfect dream world, I would love to work my business full-time delivering exceptional Developer Relations and developer growth strategies to organizations. As well as coaching developers who are looking to obtain developer advocacy experience. BIG dream world is to build Devocate the product, but I fear my time in tech may expire before I ever get there.

My family’s safety

I have no immediate concern for my family, however, I’m worried about Fast’s way of operating and solving problems (the stories are scary). I have no doubt that this future “fight” is not going to be easy and I am very scared for the toll it will take on my family. Most of my children are empaths and when one of us is down, we’re almost all down.

We barely made it through the homelessness/losing my grandma + can’t say bye/moving in a blizzard/motorcycle accident/lost a lot of cash/+ many other bad things, earlier in 2021. I really don’t know if we can take another emotional hit so close to that one.

Losing who I am

If you personally know me, you know that I try to be a ray of freaken sunshine. Nicknamed “bubbles” by a past coworker even. I give back and help others every opportunity I can. I’m authentic—I share openly and deeply because I know that’s how you build true meaningful relationships.

I’ve already deactivated Facebook accounts, locked down Twitter, and made many privacy changes to LinkedIn. I am cutting ties and connections everywhere for my own safety and I am scared of turning into a bitter, tech-hating grouch after all of this. I’m scared of being alone when I need people around me.

I’m a compassionate, caring person, with a strong worth ethic. It’s almost toxic sometimes. Lazy or unproductive is definitely not something someone has ever labeled me with. I don’t want any of that to change.

If you’ve never met me, this Twitter thread pretty much sums me up (sorry its locked down).

My reputation

This is not the first time a company has mistreated me and been reported for it. It’s actually the 3rd. The first story is over here. The second story actually has a happy ending—it will be showcased in my book when I get around to writing it. And the 3rd is this one. People have to begin to wonder how I attract such bad employers.

I work hard, I care hard and even though I shouldn’t care what others think of me, I care if others think poorly of me without knowing me. Get to know me, if you don’t like me, fine, I can accept that, but please don’t judge me before you know me. You may regret it, I’m actually quite lovely when I’m being treated fairly.

Being a voice and ally for others

All of these concerns fall into my last concern. If any of the things listed above stop me in my tracks, I can’t contribute to this last concern. And that’s being there for others. Being there for my past coworkers who’ve had beer goggles on, like I did about Fast, or the other women who’ve reached out telling me their stories, or anyone else who is suffering in a similar vein as I am.

There is a fundamental problem in the Silicon Valley tech scene and I’ll be damned if I sit by and let this keep happening to other women. I need to make sure that none of these other concerns stop me from being able to serve and support in this space. Humans no longer matter, and I think’s high time we show them what happens when humans support one another.

Sincerely,

💜 Tessa

PS: If you have something to share or say, please leverage this link to do so. It’s private and secure and easier for me to organize and work through than Twitter DM’s and LinkedIn messages. I’ve appreciated the kind words I’ve received thus far.