Career Change

Three women who were laid off from tech companies and startups share why they posted about their experiences on TikTok

In November, Facebook's parent company, Meta, laid off more than 11,000 workers. Alejandra Hernandez was one of them. 

After just a few minutes of what she called a "quick breakdown," the 37-year-old recruiting program manager picked up her phone, opened TikTok, began recording herself, and posted the clip.

With that share, Hernandez began documenting her unemployment. The result has been life-changing, she told Insider. Her mental health has improved, and she's inspired others who've lost their jobs, she said. 

"Posting on social media has honestly been not only therapeutic for me but has given me purpose," Hernandez said. "If I didn't film my days to share with others, I don't know what I would be doing all day, to be honest with you."

Hernandez has been offering followers a look inside her job hunt and working to build a wedding-planning business using TikTok. The wedding-planning account's following has tripled to 31,000. She hasn't booked clients but only recently received her business license. She said several people had expressed interest in hiring her as their wedding planner after seeing her TikToks.

Hernandez is one of at least dozens of recently laid-off workers using the platform to turn what was once often a quiet, lonely process of picking up the pieces of one's career into a public display that's, for some, leading to job opportunities, friendships, and a renewed sense of purpose.  

Some users are posting their layoff stories with the hashtag #LaidOff, which has 119 million views, #unemployed, which has 591 million views, or #unemployedlife, which has 14 million views. 

"I've had a ton of people comment on my videos saying how much my story has resonated with them and how they love following my journey because I keep pushing forward," Hernandez said. "That's been really awesome to hear."

Hernandez and others shared their advice for anyone considering documenting their unemployment experience on TikTok.

Focus on building a community

Hernandez said the No. 1 goal of any TikTok post should be to build a sense of connection with your followers. 

Jane Yang, a 25-year-old UX designer in Washington, DC, who was laid off in November from a tech startup, agreed. Vlogging about unemployment on TikTok has helped her network, get job leads, and both give and find support. She said anyone making a TikTok video should focus on developing connections with followers. 

"When you're creating content, it can be draining when you're focused on gaining a massive following or views," she told Insider via email. "It becomes unexciting and your sense of satisfaction is based on how other people value you. 

Yang, who has about 16,500 followers, added: "For me, building community means finding people who share similar goals and/or interests as you, people who understand or relate to you. It's like building a group of friends who want to see each other grow." 

Show the good and bad 

Hayley Bhereur, a 26-year-old marketer who was laid off in August from a nutrition startup in Toronto, posted on TikTok as a way to vent and connect with her followers. She made a post right after she was laid off. It shows her sobbing in her car and drew more than 185,000 views.

After making that video, Bhereur, who goes by Hayley Rebekkah on social media, continued posting about being out of work and the daily runs she went on to help her cope with unemployment. Since then, Bhereur told Insider her mental health had improved, in part, because her followers had been so supportive. She's also gained more than 30,000 followers and said she'd made $10,000 from brand deals.  

Bhereur thinks her success has come from the fact that she shows the ups and the downs of what she's gone through.

"I would absolutely say post to TikTok about your experience," she said. "If you're trying to build a community online, I think you have to show the good, the bad, and the ugly. Life is not perfect." 

Of course, not everyone might see as much success as Bhereur has, but she and others said posting consistently to the platform about their lives made them more productive and feel more accomplished. 

"Posting gives me a sense of control over how I spend my time," Yang wrote. "It helps me focus on what areas I want to grow and improve on, both professionally and personally." 

For all the value they see in posting, Hernandez and Bhereur cautioned against doing so recklessly. Each said it's best to not share conversations with your former employer, disparage the employer, or give out its private information.

Those restrictions aside, Bhereur said, the benefits of posting to TikTok outweigh the risks.

"Posting is so vulnerable," Bhereur added, "but you never know what can come from it."