Making a TikTok layoff video ‘is insanely risky for future job prospects’ says ex-Google recruiter

 On Jan. 9, TikToker Brittany Pietsch posted a video of her layoff from tech company Cloudflare. The video went viral, with various outlets weighing in both on how the company handled the layoff and Pietsch’s choice to post it at all. To date, the video has been played 1.1 million times, and Pietsch’s repost of the video has been played 2.4 million times.

She’s not the first TikToker to share this moment on the platform. In April 2023, Joni Bonnemort, now 39 and based in Utah, posted a similar video. “I documented my layoff because at that point I was already very active on TikTok,” she tells Make It. She adds that “it didn’t feel like that much of a stretch to share my layoff despite the vulnerability I displayed. I posted it because it was my experience.”

Viewers’ responses were “95% positive,” Bonnemort says. People were supportive and shared similar stories, and employers started asking to see her resume. In fact, “my current employer saw my TikTok video and reached out for an interview,” she says. It’s garnered 1.4 million plays to date.

Bonnemort and even Pietsch’s stories are encouraging. They illustrate the positive side of posting these kinds of videos, like garnering support from your viewers. And career experts can understand their appeal — for some, they can be a way of holding their employers accountable for unfair work practices. Bonnemort’s former employer, for example, didn’t offer any severance. They can also help people feel a little less alone at a difficult time.

Still, when it comes to recording and sharing your own layoff or firing, career experts would advise you to exert some caution. “I think that this is insanely risky for future job prospects,” says Nolan Church, former Google recruiter and current CEO of salary data company FairComp.

Here’s why.

One of the challenges with creating these kinds of posts is they won’t always show the most professional version of you.

“You are going to be doing it in a time where you are very emotionally elevated,” says career coach Phoebe Gavin. “You are experiencing maximum anxiety, frustration, resentment, anger, and these are not emotions that lend themselves to good decision making.”

You could still make a measured, professional post at that moment, but it would be just as easy to get emotional. Getting laid off can be a painful experience.

“It is not going to be in the interest of your professional reputation for you to post a video of you sobbing or cursing them out or calling them out in a very aggressive, uncharitable way,” Gavin says, as a hypothetical, “even if those are appropriate reactions to the way that you’re being treated. Because if the goal is, ‘I want this thing to help me get a new job,’ then the thing has to show you in a very good light.”

Posting such a video can put into question your motivation.

It can seem like the intention for posting such a video is ”‘My company has done me dirty, so I’m going to get back at them by showing the world that they don’t have their stuff together,’” says Gavin. Even if this isn’t the case, that’s what it looks like, and for recruiters, it doesn’t reflect highly on the person posting.

Your company might deserve the kind of blowback going viral in this way because they’re not treating you well. “But you facilitating that might not be in your best interests as a professional,” says Gavin.

Ultimately, this kind of video could make it hard for a future employer to trust you.

“If I found out that you did this, the first thing I would think of is, ‘well, what else are you putting on social media that we’re talking about?’” says Church. Career coach and founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach Angelina Darrisaw agrees.

“Especially in a virtual world where we may be working remotely or hybrid,” she says, “I have to trust to an extent that there’s good intent on both sides, that every word I’m saying isn’t being recorded.” People want to feel comfortable speaking during work interactions, and if they think anything they say might be somehow used against them in the future, that can make those interactions tense and scary.

“No one’s going to trust you” if they find you’ve done this, says Church.

Bonnemort herself does not regret posting that video, “especially when you consider that it helped me secure my current employment position,” she says.

But when it comes to TikTok layoff videos, keep in mind that “the only one that you see is the one that goes viral that everyone’s talking about,” says Gavin. “You don’t hear about the ones where the post kind of goes nowhere, or the post gets backlash, or the post prevents that person from having a speedy and successful career transition.”

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