Bailey Harris, 25, posted her second ever video to TikTok and it attracted over 100,000 views in its first day. The video tells her first person narrative story about being laid off by a tech company she worked at as a recruiter for 18 months. “I was never really worried about layoffs,” she said in the video, which she recorded from a car. “I just didn’t see this coming,” she added.
She continued to post about being newly unemployed. In one, she shared how she was saving money. In another, she told her viewers about a new side hustle helping a friend flip real estate.
“I was like, ‘This is relevant — why not speak about it because I know a lot of people have been going through the same thing?’” she said. The videos, she continued, were “getting a lot of comments about how people like my attitude toward my situation.”
So many people in tech have been laid off and since turned to TikTok that it is now becoming a sort of microgenre. Layoff vlogs can be a source of validation and community, or a self-esteem boost, for young workers who have recently lost their jobs. In these videos, some creators vent about their former employers or expose perceived wrongdoings. Others have a more practical objective in mind: using the platform to find their next gig.
“This is the first time employees can get laid off, and press record on their phone and have something go mega-mega-mega viral,” said Gabrielle Judge, a content creator who helps women find jobs in tech. She noted that platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn, where disgruntled employees might have gone in the past to vent, don’t have the same viral potential as TikTok.
The silver lining is that tech recruiters have said TikTok could be helpful for networking and job hunting. Dozens of companies, including Target, Chipotle and Sweetgreen, have used the app for hiring.
“If you say in a video that you would love to connect with anyone who has a role for you, a lot of people will see it,” said Jonathan Javier, the chief executive and founder of Wonsulting, which helps people, especially those who come from nontraditional backgrounds, find jobs in tech.
Brit Levy, 35, who said she was laid off by Meta in November, used TikTok to talk about her frustrations with the severance agreement she said the company was offering, amassing almost 800,000 views. Dozens of former Meta employees reached out to her after the series of videos she posted, she said. “We are finding a little community with each other,” said Ms. Levy, who lives in Oceanside, Calif.
She said she has also had hiring managers reach out to offer support and give her professional advice on the next steps she should take in her career.
This microgenre is showcasing the power of community when experiences are shared and articulated.
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