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Move over quiet quitting: What is 'rage applying,' the newest workplace trend taking over TikTok?

By AYIE LICSI Published Jan 18, 2023 8:02 pm

There are usually two types of employees you'd find in a toxic work environment: those who prefer doing the bare minimum, a.k.a. quiet quitting, and those who'd rather ditch the drama and go on a job-hunting spree because hey, you know you deserve better.

If you find the latter totally on point, then you're part of this new career trend called "rage applying," which has been taking over TikTok and the workplace.

The short-form video app has become a breeding ground for workplace trends as millennials and Gen Z share their experiences and air out their grievances about grinding the nine-to-five. Like "quiet quitting" that came before, "rage applying" hopes to once again reshape hustle culture.

What is "rage applying"?

A similar term, "rage quitting," has been around since 2011, and it's basically a phrase for how a person angrily abandons an activity that becomes frustrating, like a difficult video game level.

"Rage applying" is somewhat similar, as it happens when an employee feels overlooked, underappreciated, and undercompensated at their job or just has a really bad day at work. But instead of outright quitting immediately, a person sends out their CVs or rèsumès to several companies to find a new job that pays better.

The trend started to get traction on TikTok in early December 2022 after creator @redweez shared how she got mad at work and mass applied for 15 jobs. The user said she found a new employer that paid her $25,000 more and is a great place to work. Some videos about rage applying have also been around since October.

@redweez Keep rage applying when youre mad 🫶🏼 that energy will push you to greater horizons than the job youre stuck in! #work #milennial #worklife ♬ The Sign - Ace of Base

Entirely, rage applying doesn't sound like a new thing, but more users on LinkedIn seemed to have caught wind of the trend. In a study posted on Jan. 15, 52% of respondents who have been at a job for three months said they're actively trying to leave. 

@chelseastokes_ #megamouth #careercoachontiktok #careers #careeradvice #careercoaching #jobsearchhelp #salarynegotiation #corporatelife ♬ original sound - EthanSchriver

The downsides to rage applying

Varied content has been created on the topic, with some users joking about how they weren't accepted at a job they rage applied for at 3:00 a.m. Meanwhile, others highlighted the negatives of applying en masse.

"You're not taking the time to think rationally about 'what don't I like about my job?' and 'what's making me not happy?' and 'what do I want in my next job?'" career coach Jenna Greco said in a video.

"Because when you throw your resume out there and apply for a bunch of different things and see what sticks, chances are it might not be something you truly want and is aligned with what would make you feel excited and fulfilled at your career," she added.

@jennakgreco On a mission to stop rage applying. Pause. Reflect. Be purposeful. #corporatelife #corporateamerica #jobsearch #jobsearchhelp ♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) - 山口夕依

The creator instead suggests people "don't make a change out of a place of desperation."

"Because you're just going to wind up in a similar place, new job, different title, different company because you didn't take the time to get clear on what you actually want."

Rage applying can yield different results, as TikTok commenters pointed out.

"I applied for jobs in my car during my lunch hour while angry crying and got the BEST job I've ever had! So happy," one user wrote.

"I did this too and got a 35% raise!" another shared.

One user shared that the job they transferred to wasn't the right fit.

"I didn't rage apply but took an offer out of rage more money, same problems. Done. It wasn't the right fit. Seven months in, laid off. I won't make that mistake again," a TikTok user said.

"I rage applied for 5 months ...still nothing..." one netizen commented.

Other users on Twitter also pointed out that terms like "rage applying" and "quiet quitting" are just employees setting healthy boundaries and shouldn't put a negative spin on workers.