There’s a new trend on TikTok: videos of young people secretly recording their bosses and then publicly quitting their jobs. If you spend any time on the social media platform you’ve seen at least one of these videos.
It’s no secret social media has changed how we communicate and interact with each other. It has amplified and memorialized people’s stories and experiences.
Each generation has a different relationship with social media. While Millennials were introduced to social media when it was still in its infancy, young people today (Generation-Z) have always had social media so they’ve always had access to an excessive amount of content. They’re used to people sharing everything about their lives, looking online for free advice and using YouTube as a personal reference library.
Platforms like TikTok and Instagram have allowed young people to feel empowered to speak up for themselves. So when the Great Resignation was born it made sense why young people were going to social media to share their stories of leaving toxic workplaces. Every single person who has ever held a job has had the fantasy of telling off their boss and then dramatically walking out the door giving everyone the middle finger.
What happens after you post the video on TikTok and you get millions of views? In the movies and on TV this act would be seen as “the turning point” to the plot but, unlike real life, movies and TV shows end and you never see the long-term effects of making this kind of bold statement.
Young people speaking up for themselves is a good thing and having platforms like Tik Tok to express how you feel is really important. This is how real change is created in our culture. The problem is you only get one chance to make an impression and you want it to be based on your skills and abilities, not based on the actions of a bad boss or an unfair work environment. The key is to focus on how you can show the world your ability to overcome challenges and be resilient when things don’t go your way.
This is why if you want to post about your work experiences, it’s best to focus on the ways in which you’re a leader and can add value to your organization. Careers are long and you’re going to be working for a long time, which means you’re going to have to deal with lots of different types of companies, bosses and coworkers.
In the workplace, there are two types of people. There are the ones who solely focus on everything that’s wrong with the company, how the boss doesn’t treat them fairly and how much they hate being at work every day. Then there are other people who recognize that there are issues with the organization and they don’t agree with how their boss treats them but they focus on what is within their control and either leave the company or figure out how to appreciate what’s good about their situation.
These two people can have the same exact title and make the same amount of money but one is able to see that they have control over how they see themselves and others and the other person remains unhappy and stuck in a place they don’t want to be.
If you’re unhappy right now at work and have been tempted more than once to pull out your phone and announce that you’re leaving, take a moment and think about what’s best for you and your career long-term. Stop focusing on what you want now and think about the long-term outcome you desire.
If you want to work at an organization with high values, an excellent culture and quality leaders, think about what they’re looking for in their employees. They want people who are loyal, committed to their work and can be trusted to get their work done on time. While you may not be working at that kind of organization now, make career choices that align with the types of places you do want to work. This means you need to think about what your future boss would think if they saw your “I’m quitting video.” They may not think you’re a good fit for their culture.
Going to a job you hate every day is rough. While you may just want to hang out in the breakroom and gossip with your coworkers, this is your opportunity to be intentional about how you show up at work.
Instead of walking into work full of dread, imagine that you really enjoy this job. Think about the things you like most about your job (even if that’s just break time) and focus on how much you enjoy these aspects. No matter what job you’re in there are things to be learned. See yourself as an explorer and start getting curious about your job and to see everything as a learning opportunity. Every job is a stepping stone to finding your right career path.
This might seem counterintuitive but here’s the best way to deal with a person in your life you really don’t like but still have to deal with: think about them from a place of love. Your boss is mean and rude because of something they feel is lacking in their lives. Is it fair that they are taking it out on you? No. Is there a way for you to change this person? No. So all that’s left is how you choose to see this person. Hate and anger take up too much time and energy and really your mean boss doesn’t deserve all the brain space you’ve reserved for them. Practicing empathy for another person is a lot easier.
We’re all guilty of gossiping at some point in our lives. Think of gossip like junk food. It feels really good at the moment but then a couple of hours later you start to feel a little sick. While you may think gossiping with your coworkers is bringing you closer together, it actually creates an environment of distrust. When you gossip you’re essentially judging another person without their input and if you’re doing it to other people, they’re doing it to you.
When you’re going through a hard time it’s easy to think, “this will never end,” but it does. In a year or two from now you’ll be onto something new and these people who are driving you crazy right now will soon be a fading memory. Trust that this is temporary.
This is the most important thing you can do: make finding a new job your top priority. This is what happens for most people. They’re in a job they hate and by the time they get home everyday they’re so drained from the job, they have no energy to look for another job. When the weekend comes around they don’t want to give up their days off looking for a job. Then Monday comes again and the cycle starts over and nothing in this person’s life changes.
If you want a new job this requires change and change is uncomfortable. Embrace the fact that you’re going to be uncomfortable for a bit while you look for another job. Trust that the discomfort you feel now is worth enjoying going to work every day. Start getting up early and commit to spending one hour every morning job hunting. If you’re not a morning person or work really early, commit to doing one hour in the evening, even if you’re tired and don’t want to do it.
There are no role models for this situation. You’re the first generation that grew up with social media, which means you don’t have anyone to look to for guidance. And you’re new to the workplace and navigating the working world is challenging at any age. The best thing you can do is be realistic with yourself and recognize it takes time to figure out what you want to do and even then, you’re still having to work your way to better pay, more autonomy, and more meaningful work.
In the meantime, get through each day and start making choices for the person you want to be.