Perhaps, with its pop culture reference, timely hashtag and photo of a handsome young man drinking a mojito on a company-branded swing, it was destined to go viral.
“And just like that, today is my last day at Peloton Interactive,” begins Colin Burke’s LinkedIn post from February 2022. “After three years, I get locked out this morning along with thousands of other teammates and friends.”
After chronicling his time as Peloton’s inaugural social impact marketing hire, giving thanks and celebrating achievements, Burke announced his quest for “all things” brand marketing or social impact. “Feel free to reach out with any opportunity or pass on my info!” he concluded.
The post received nearly 15,000 likes and 700 comments, and nearly 2,000 private messages offering job tips and interviewees to Burke. “Now, obviously, people get laid off every day, and there’s a blueprint,” says Burke, 25. “Back then, I didn’t really know what I was doing.”
LinkedIn, which started as a job search site in 2002, has slowly grown into a more de facto social network. As workers were encouraged to bring their “whole selves” to work, it became equally common and beneficial to combine their professional personas with their personal lives. So has building a personal brand – whether you’re a lawyer or an accountant. The “trimmed” posts that have flooded in recent weeks and are raising everyone’s concerns exemplify that change.
For a recently laid-off employee desperate to find a new gig, Burke’s experience going viral sounds almost too good to be true. But the incidence is decreasing day by day. With hundreds of thousands of layoffs taking place in knowledge industries such as technology, media, and finance, workers—mostly young—are turning en masse to share their grievances and frustrations on sites where their future employers are looking to see them. Most likely.
According to data provided by LinkedIn, from November to December 2022, posts mentioning “layoffs” or “layoffs” increased by 78% compared to the previous month. Luck. There was a 22% increase in “open to work” posts between November 2021 and November 2022.
Hofstra University’s Frank G. The trend makes perfect sense for Dr. Janet Lenaghan, dean of the Zurb School of Business. “Gen Z will be 25% of the workforce by 2025, and they grew up sharing all kinds of personal information on social media,” Lenaghan pointed out. Luck, “It’s really a shame that older generations would have felt about things like layoffs.”
The Power of a Well-Personalized Story
Burke, who was one of 2,800 people Peloton laid off last February, approached his viral post practically. He felt he needed to thank the people he worked with, but as a marketer, knew the value of a well-rounded personal story.
“You need to think when you write, ‘I want to be grateful for the experience … which can be difficult,'” he says. “I wrote this on a Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. hours after they were laid off.”
Nikita Kulkarni, 28, was on medical leave from her three-year job of content design and UX writing at Instagram when she was fired in December 2022. Around 7 a.m., he got the dreaded “difficult decision” email. An hour later, before he told most of his friends, he dashed off a short LinkedIn post with far less flair than Burke. He had no model to work from; The only other post she saw that day was from her co-worker, who had already gone viral on LinkedIn with 500 likes.
She says that Kulkarni added #metalayoffs to increase the reach and hit publication – “in a fugue state”. The post has since received 831 likes and 62 comments, mostly from people she knows, and praise from coworkers: “Nikita is amazing, hire her!”
Leanaghan advises laid-off employees to pause before sharing. “You shouldn’t underestimate the emotional impact of being fired; You need a minute to process,” she says, looking forward to seeing you once the dust has settled. “Post your layoff is not a time to bash your former employer, it’s really to be able to move forward with the knowledge and skills and confidence you’ve gained and will bring to your next job opportunity.”
Convention would suggest that workers strike while the iron is hot. But not all young people who have been laid off in recent weeks are rushing to share their stories on social media. Abigail O’Neill, 29, was laid off from her role as account coordinator at a creative agency in early December. A friend who shared her own layoff story on LinkedIn inspired her to draft her own.
In his attempt to match LinkedIn’s style, O’Neil says he took a much more serious tone—something he felt contradicted his real-life sense of humor. But that mismatched formal rhythm has kept O’Neill from pressing publication. “People who know me, wouldn’t they be with her? Did she suddenly start drinking corporate Kool Aid?” she says.
She also feels that successful posts like Burke’s reflect a measure of certainty that she isn’t sure she has. “On LinkedIn, you should be like, ‘Hello, I’m unemployed, but I’m very passionate about my work and looking for something in this industry,'” she says. “And I’m just not there.”
Posting may not get the job, but it helps break down layoff stigma and make connections
As the workforce changes, LinkedIn layoff posts become more acceptable, says Hofstra Dean Lenaghan, changing norms and standards of behavior. She doesn’t predict that they will completely replace the traditional application process; The latter accounts for still more technical details, such as cover letters and background checks. But these LinkedIn posts “absolutely” help jobseekers make initial contacts, she says.
Kulkarni can testify to this. After a few weeks of talking to people who came in contact with him through his posts, he resorted to the old method. But her posts continue to pay dividends—she says that “almost a certain empathy is created” because people want to help.
The day before our interview, Kulkarni spoke with a recruiter at a large tech company, who said he’d heard she was fired and offered to expedite the interview process. “If not for my position, they would not have known this,” says Kulkarni. “That was one leg because, historically, there has been a stigma. Now we’re putting a stigma on its head. If so many people are laid off, we can’t all be bad at our jobs.”
“Just as Gen Z talks about mental health and grief and all these difficult topics that are a part of being human, it’s now so easy to find community online, whereas my dad is about secret shame,” she adds.
Burke also ended her current role as a brand manager at Nike the old-fashioned way: applying through the HR portal with her resume and cover letter. Nonetheless, he advises anyone posting a LinkedIn resume just to reclaim their agency.
“Being exempt is something that happens to you; It’s numbers in a spreadsheet,” he says. “It really sucks, especially with Gen Z, because we’re conditioned to think we’re unique, but layoffs remind you that you’re not special. Are.”
It’s the shame she feels about her layoff that’s holding O’Neal back, even though she thinks she’ll have “huge success” with a post. She is currently in two second round interviews and admits that if neither of them is successful in the offer, she will accept.
“I know it works, but it’s so weird—this dichotomy [LinkedIn being] A really powerful tool, and being more than just a website,” she says. “I’m like, Why am I scrolling through this? Why can’t I avoid this? It’s awkward, but it’s effective.