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Here’s Why Experts Caution Against Posting Layoff Videos

Experts caution against potential risks to professional reputation.
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Olivier Bergeron
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Olivier Bergeron

A TikTok video depicting a layoff incident at tech giant Cloudflare has ignited a firestorm on social media, prompting widespread conversation on company practices and employee rights. Posted by TikToker Brittany Pietsch (@brittanypeachhh) on January 9, the video has swiftly gained traction, drawing attention to the handling of layoffs and the role of social media in documenting workplace events. In the video, Pietsch shares her experience of being laid off from the company, sparking significant engagement from viewers. With over 1.1 million views to date, the video has stirred debate over corporate transparency and the impact of layoffs on employees.

TikTok | Brittany Pietsch | @brittanypeachhh
Image Source: TikTok | Brittany Pietsch | @brittanypeachhh

This viral sensation mirrors a similar occurrence in April 2023 when TikToker Joni Bonnemort, residing in Utah, shared her own layoff experience on the platform. In April 2023, she uploaded a video akin to Pietsch's, providing insight into her termination.

"I documented my layoff because at that point I was already very active on TikTok." Despite the vulnerability displayed, she felt compelled to share her story as it unfolded, asserting, "I posted it because it was my experience," Bonnemort told CNBC Make It.

Bonnemort's video resonated with viewers, with her reporting a staggering "95% positive" response. The outpouring of support not only served as a source of comfort but also sparked connections with others sharing similar experiences. Remarkably, her transparency even caught the attention of potential employers, leading to interview requests.

Image Source: Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA production |Pexels
Image Source: Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA production | Pexels

Phoebe Gavin, a career coach, cautions against the emotional vulnerability displayed in such posts. "Layoffs are often accompanied by heightened emotions, including anxiety, frustration, and resentment, which may not present the individual in the best professional light," she explained. "While a measured response is possible, there is a risk of appearing unprofessional or vindictive."

Furthermore, posting a layoff video may raise questions about the individual's motives. Angelina Darrisaw, founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach, highlights the perception that such videos are retaliatory in nature, potentially damaging the individual's credibility in the eyes of future employers.

"Trust, a crucial component of professional relationships, can be compromised if an individual is perceived as untrustworthy or vindictive," she said.

Pexels | Photo by Anna Shvets
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Anna Shvets

Nolan Church, former Google recruiter and CEO of FairComp, underscores the long-term consequences of such actions. "A viral layoff video could tarnish an individual's reputation and hinder future career opportunities," he stated. While some may view it as a brave act of transparency, others may see it as a breach of professionalism.

In a similar incident, an Amazon employee, known as @thatamazonguyy on TikTok, disclosed his termination from the e-commerce giant after posting a video on the platform. The video gained considerable traction, with the former employee humorously advising customers against ordering heavy items due to the physical strain on workers.

With a remarkable seven-year tenure at Amazon, the man's abrupt termination shocked his followers, as he shared the news in a subsequent video, expressing dismay over being ineligible for rehire by Amazon. Despite intending humor, the video offended some viewers. The incident, however, has sparked debate on employee expression, corporate policy, and public perception, raising questions about social media boundaries and workplace grievances.