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What Is TikToker Laura Whaley's Viral ‘How Do You Professionally Say...?’ Series All About?

Whaley thinks the idea of working super hard for years and years without a break isn't something many people want anymore.
Image Source: Laura Whaley Instagram
Image Source: Laura Whaley Instagram

Laura Whaley, a 29-year-old digital media professional from British Columbia, gained unexpected TikTok fame during the pandemic. Stuck at home, a never-ending work meeting took a humorous turn when a co-worker committed a Zoom faux pas by asking questions just as it was wrapping up. Whaley turned this into a viral TikTok skit, and now with 3.7 million followers, she has become a trusted source of work-related advice.

In her series "How Do You Professionally Say...?" Whaley shares practical tips on handling workplace situations, drawing from her own experiences. She encourages her diverse audience, spanning from Gen Z to Gen X, to tackle work issues in their own way. Whaley discusses her viral journey, highlights workplace red flags, and provides tips for maintaining a professional image.

Image Source: Laura Whaley Instagram
Image Source: Laura Whaley Instagram

When Laura Whaley first posted her initial TikTok videos, building a following wasn't on her radar. With virtually no followers at the start, she didn't anticipate much visibility for her content. However, to her surprise, the videos gained traction and went viral. It was only then that she realized the potential of her TikTok journey, prompting her to reconsider her initial lack of intention behind the posts.

When Laura Whaley first witnessed her TikTok audience expressing strong resonance with her videos, it marked a profound moment. Comments poured in, with people sharing a sense of solidarity and realizing they weren't alone in their experiences, spurred her to recognize the community forming around her content. In response, she decided to make her videos more purposefully, aligning them more closely with what resonated with viewers.

On what works with her audience, Whaley said that content centered around setting boundaries tends to resonate the most. Traditional workplace settings often neglect the importance of boundaries, making skits that incorporate a sassy take on boundary-setting particularly appealing. These videos serve a dual purpose–providing a source of entertainment and acting as a call-out for the establishment of essential workplace boundaries. It's a narrative about reclaiming power as an employee and resisting norms imposed by managers or companies.

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Reflecting on work-life balance and boundary-setting across generations, Whaley dismisses the idea of clear-cut generational differences. Instead, she observes a broader cultural shift over time within working culture. Whether it's the incoming Gen Z workforce or individuals with extensive experience, the emphasis on establishing boundaries seems to be a timeline shift rather than a rigid generational divide.

Discussing the influence of Gen Z on the trend of boundary-setting, Whaley suggests that individuals entering the workforce now generally possess a better understanding of the importance of boundaries. There's a noticeable departure from the historical mindset of unquestioning obedience to employer demands. Now, there's a trend of questioning and challenging expectations, leading to a more empowered workforce that holds companies accountable.

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A post shared by Laura (@loewhaley)


In terms of workplace red flags related to boundaries, Whaley acknowledges the subjective nature of such indicators. While everyone's boundaries are unique, she identifies some broad concerns. Expectations to work evenings and weekends, high turnover rates, and micromanagement tendencies emerge as significant red flags due to their potential to hinder productivity. Additionally, she raises awareness about vacation policies, especially those reliant on managerial discretion, and the potential pitfalls of the shift to unlimited paid time off, emphasizing the need for consistency and careful consideration of team dynamics.

When it comes to making friends at work, Whaley suggests being a bit cautious. While it's fine to be friendly with your co-workers, actively trying to make close friends at work might not be the best idea. Whaley thinks it's important to remember that the workplace is mostly for doing your job, not necessarily for building personal friendships. Having good work relationships is great but it's also crucial to be careful and not mix personal and professional stuff too much, especially if everyone doesn't agree on what's okay.

If your job involves going to social events, like fancy cocktail parties, Whaley sees it as a chance to connect with people in your company. She recommends thinking about your career goals and deciding if making more work friends could help you. But, if you're not too keen on networking with a specific group, Laura says it's okay to politely say no, especially if the event involves a lot of drinking and you are not comfortable with it.

When it comes to social media, Whaley thinks there's no one-size-fits-all answer about whether you should keep your profiles private or be friends with your co-workers. It's all about what you're comfortable with and how much of your personal life you want to share. Whaley suggests thinking ahead and making sure you are okay with anyone from your work seeing your social media because, in her experience, they might come across it eventually.

Whaley learned a lot about workplace stuff from her own experiences starting in the workforce. She points out the risk of letting your immediate colleagues decide how things work at your job. Instead, Whaley thinks it's better to be proactive and figure out what you want in the workplace. She encourages people to set their own rules and not just adopt what others say without thinking. That way, you can stay true to yourself and not end up being someone you're not comfortable with in the workplace.

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A post shared by Laura (@loewhaley)


Lastly, Laura Whaley talks about how things are changing at work, especially with younger people like Gen Z who care more about having a good balance between work and life. She believes working hard for a short time is good to get where you want in your career. But Whaley thinks the idea of working super hard for years and years without a break isn't something many people want anymore. As a leader, Laura Whaley makes sure her team members succeed not only in their jobs but also in their personal lives. She hopes the future will bring healthier workplaces where people can have a good balance between their work and personal lives.