Isolated Workers Are Posting on TikTok to Regain a Sense of Control

Isolated Workers Are Posting on TikTok to Regain a Sense of Control

  • Major technology companies and some startups have announced thousands of layoffs in recent months.
  • To help cope, some out-of-work workers are posting videos about their experiences on TikTok.
  • Some described it as a way to gain control over their lives and careers.

On a Thursday in August last year, Hayley Bhereur walked out of her office, got into her car, and started to cry.

The 26-year-old marketer had just left her job earning a living 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 – a contrast to the light travel videos and friends trips that she usually shares.

Bhereur’s post, which has garnered 173,000 views, was the start of her vlogging about being unemployed, looking for a new job, and running to help her through hard times. Bhereur told Insider that in the four months since she posted that video, she’s gotten a new job, gained 30,000 followers, and earned $10,000 from brand deals on TikTok.

“It’s crazy to say that since I posted that video online, my life has completely changed, but it’s the truth,” Bhereur said. “I was in a very vulnerable state. I think sometimes that’s what needs to be shown.”

Getting off the sidelines used to feel like an embarrassing obstacle, perhaps only seen by co-workers who looked at you carrying your coffee mug and whatever tchotchkes you 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 reaction hours or even minutes after being let go.

TikTokers have used the hashtag #unemployed more than 560 million times.

These videos are making headlines about job cuts. And in some cases, public acknowledgment of a tough time seems to help workers bounce back faster.

Some TikTok users told Insider that sharing their experience of unemployment is a form of empowerment — using social media allows them to connect with others, feel less discouraged, and perhaps build a following or progress. do their job search. As layoffs in industries like tech mount, we could see more jobs about lost jobs.

“None of the opportunities that came to me would have happened if I was still in that role, if I didn’t get fired, and if I didn’t add that video,” Bhereur said.

A way to connect with others

After posting her layoff video in August, Bhereur vowed to go on a run every day for the rest of the year and document it on TikTok. She wanted accountability and community, and social media provided that.

“I felt quite 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 startup, turning to TikTok to share her story helped her keep going.

“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 I want to grow and improve, professionally and personally.”

To be sure, there are things to consider before documenting your vacation trip. TikTokers that Insider spoke to said not to share any private company information or post chats from your former employer now. And it was better not to talk trash about the employer, they said. Plus, taking to social media isn’t the only way to tap your network to try and land a new role.

An opportunity to resume 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 with a Canadian non-profit.

But Bhereur said the connections she made on social media were invaluable. She has since worked with brands like Knix and Ugg as a result of her TikTok.

“I turned to my community on TikTok, and so much came from it,” she said.

Yang, who is still unemployed, said she received more than 20 emails with job leads. Right now, she said, she is taking time to work on her skills and prepare for her next role.

Jane Yang smiled as she walked on the beach

Jane Yang, a 25-year-old UX designer, describes her unemployment journey since she was laid off in November.

Jane Yang



“If you’re thinking about posting on TikTok, you should,” she said. “It’s a great way to connect with other people, and also a good 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 content. But, she noted, there are other ways to bounce back.

“Don’t post about your layout if you don’t want to do it on TikTok. You can still leverage the platform most searched by recruiters – LinkedIn,” she 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 their career struggles to do so.

“If you’re trying to build a community online that follows you and supports you, I think you have to show the good, the bad and the ugly,” she said. “You never know what can come out of posting about it.”

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