- Major tech companies and some startups have announced thousands of layoffs in recent months.
- To help cope, some laid-off workers are posting videos about their experience on TikTok.
- Some of them described it as a way to regain a sense of control over their lives and careers.
One Thursday in August last year, Hayley Bhereur walked out of her office, got into her car, and began to sob.
The 26-year-old marketer had just been laid off from her job at a nutrition startup in Toronto. After about 15 minutes of crying, she said, she had an idea: She would record her grief and post the video on TikTok.
Bhereur, who goes by Hayley Rebekkah on social media, had around 5,000 followers on the platform, and thought they might want to see this difficult part of her life, in contrast to the light-hearted videos about traveling and outings with friends. that I usually shared.
Bhereur’s post, which racked up 173,000 views, marked the beginning of her vlogging about being unemployed, looking for a new job, and running to help her get through tough times. Bhereur told Insider that in the four months since she posted that video, she’s landed a new job, gained 30,000 followers, and made $10,000 from brand deals on TikTok.
“In fact, it’s crazy to say that since I posted that video online, my life has completely changed, but it’s the truth,” Bhereur said. “He was in an extremely vulnerable state. I think sometimes that’s the thing to show.”
It used to be that getting fired could feel like an embarrassing setback, perhaps only witnessed by coworkers who saw you take your coffee mug and whatever you might have kept at work. But now some Gen Z and millennial workers are picking up their phones and documenting their layoffs and their paths through unemployment, recording their reactions hours or even minutes after being laid off.
TikTokers have used the hashtag #unemployed more than 560 million times.
These videos are putting faces to headlines about job cuts. And in some cases, public acknowledgment of a difficult period seems to help workers recover more quickly.
Several TikTok users told Insider that sharing their unemployment experience was a form of empowerment: Using social media gives them a chance to connect with others, feel less discouraged, and perhaps build a following or advance their job search. As layoffs in industries like tech increase, we could see more posts about lost jobs.
“None of the opportunities that have come my way would have come my way if I was still in that role, if I hadn’t been fired and if I hadn’t posted that video,” Bhereur said.
A way to connect with others.
After posting his layoff video in August, Bhereur vowed to go for a run every day for the rest of the year and document it on TikTok. He wanted responsibility and community, and social media provided it.
“I was pretty overwhelmed by the kindness,” she said. “I have found a community.”
For Jane Yang, a 25-year-old UX designer based in Washington, DC, who was laid off in November from a tech startup, taking to TikTok to share her story has helped her move forward.
“It gives me a sense of control over how I spend my time,” Yang, who has about 15,700 followers on TikTok, told Insider. “It helps me focus on the areas where I want to grow and improve, both professionally and personally.”
There are certainly things to consider before documenting your layoff journey. The TikTok users Insider spoke to said they shouldn’t share any private company information or post conversations from their now-former employer. And it’s better not to badmouth the employer, they said. Plus, turning to social media isn’t the only way to tap into your network to try and land a new role.
An opportunity to restart a career
Within days of posting her video, Bhereur said, she had several informal interviews and even job opportunities. She ended up applying for and getting a job at a Canadian non-profit organization.
But Bhereur said the connections she had made on social media were invaluable. Since then he has worked with brands like Knix and Ugg as a result of his TikTok.
“I turned to my community on TikTok, and a lot came out of it,” he said.
Yang, who is still unemployed, said she received more than 20 emails with job offers. For now, she said, she is taking the time to work on her skills and prepare for her next role.
“If you’re thinking of posting on TikTok, you should,” he said. “It’s a great way to connect with others, and it’s also a great way to create an online journal of your life.”
Neha Khurram, a career coach and talent consultant, said posting on TikTok could be a good option for those who are unemployed and want to build a community around a topic. But, she pointed out, there are other ways to recover.
“Don’t post about your layoff if you don’t want to on TikTok. You can still take advantage of the most searched platform for recruiters: LinkedIn,” he said. “If you post about your unemployment on either platform, try to focus on what you want next and what the time off has taught you about your strengths and the next step in your career.”
Bhereur, who hopes to one day become a full-time content creator, encouraged anyone considering posting about their professional setbacks to do so.
“If you’re trying to build a community online that follows and supports you, I think you have to show the good, the bad, and the ugly,” he said. “You never know what might come of posting about it.”