Is live-quitting jobs on TikTok the latest trend?
Live resignations are becoming more common. As a result, the videos get millions of views.
Even years after the Great Resignation, a lot of people are still quitting their jobs. Even though a lot of people still send official resignation emails to their bosses, more and more young workers are doing something different: live-quitting.
In July 2021, a video of UK McDonald’s employees live-quitting in the middle of their shift went viral, and now TikTok is full of people sharing live footage of the moment they told their bosses, “I quit.” These short videos are sometimes scary, usually funny, and almost always interesting. So, they get hundreds, thousands, or even millions of views on social media.
Why is #quittok such a big deal?
What’s the deal with live-quitting?
Even though each #quittok video is different, they all show workers leaving their jobs in real-time. For example, some show workers leaving on a live Zoom call, while others show the moment they hand in their resignation letter.
In September 2022, former Australian government worker Christina Zumbo, who was then 31 years old, talked about the moment she sent her resignation email and waited for a video call from her boss. Zumbo had already shown her 140,000 TikTok followers glimpses of her mental health problems at work. She said she thought other people on the platform would be able to relate to the post.
But even she was surprised by how many people liked and talked about the short clip (53,000 likes and almost 3,000 comments).
Marisa Jo Mayes also used TikTok as a “fun, creative outlet” and shared content as a way to “fight [her] unhappiness at work” before she decided to live-quit her job at a medical device company.
Mayes’s 30-second clip shows how nervous she was before a call with her boss and how quickly she felt better after the call. In the video’s description, she wrote, “It’s like an elephant foot off my chest, but I’m also sad.”
Even though it was first posted in late 2020, it’s still one of the most liked #quittok moments as of this writing, with more than 200,000 likes. Mayes says it was easy to share the moment on the platform.
She also said that live-quitting on TikTok wasn’t something she did on purpose but was just part of her routine. She said that she had been talking a lot about her self-improvement journey, so it felt natural to talk about this big event.
What makes people live-quit?
Most young people who use TikTok have grown up with computers and share every important moment online. So Tess Brigham, a therapist and coach in California, says it’s natural for them to talk to their bosses privately about why they want to leave.
She thinks that the #quittok live-quitting trend is also based on a more fundamental change in the way people think.
Millennials and Gen Z saw how hard it was for their parents to work in corporate jobs when the economy crashed in 2008. Now, some of these young people are struggling with student debt and low-paying jobs of their own. Covid-19 has also affected their early work experiences. The youngest workers have never even been inside an office. Brigham says that because of all of these stressors, younger workers, especially Gen Z, put a lot of value on their mental health, happiness, and good work environments. So, they find it very inspiring when they see stories about people live-quitting “toxic workplaces” and standing up to unfair bosses.
Since Covid-19, Zumbo has seen a big change in how he balances work, life, and what’s most important to him.
What’s the meaning?
Brigham says it is still being determined what the long-term effects of live-quitting and posting #quittok videos will be. For example, knowing how these posts might affect future job prospects is impossible.
But while we’re still finding out, she thinks that the #quittok live-quitting trend could help open the corporate world.
Is live-quitting a change that will last?
Klotz thinks these quit rates will likely stay high in the short term. However, the upcoming economic downturn and general uncertainty about the future of the job market could change things in the long run.
A big recession would at least slow down the number of people quitting their jobs.
It makes sense that the job market will worsen if there is a recession. So, employees need more choices when it comes to changing jobs.
There are some signs that high living costs and inflation are changing the way people work. For example, in the UK, data shows that older people are returning to work to make ends meet. Other data, on the other hand, suggests that more “boomerang employees” are going back to their old jobs after a pandemic move.
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But McAlpine needs to find out if even a global financial crisis would be enough to stop the Great Resignation and make people stay in jobs they want to leave.