Step Aside, 'Quiet Quitting,' the Latest Workplace Trend Is 'Rage Applying'—Here's What That Means for Companies

It's trending in TikTok and across the workplace culture.

A new buzzword has been hitting social media thanks to Gen Z (and some Millennials). What is known as "rage applying" is a way for individuals, who are feeling underappreciated and underpaid at work, to get back at their bosses and feel empowered at the same time. So how do they do this, exactly, and what does rage applying actually mean?

This new trend is providing a way for younger workers to let off some steam and seek some revenge in the workplace. Not too long ago the most popular way to do this was with quiet quitting, but now things are getting a little more "aggressive." Instead of quietly sitting back and doing the bare minimum at work (and instead of communicating concerns to their managers), individuals are taking action in a big way.

It's a bit of a controversial trend, so we'll explain what rage applying is, why it's happening and what businesses can do about it.

Related: ‘Cold Regards,’ ‘Please Hesitate To Reach Out’—We Can’t Stop Laughing at These Snarky Gen Z Email Sign-Offs



What Is Rage Applying?

Rage applying happens when an employee is feeling unappreciated—perhaps from being passed over for a promotion or being paid an unfair wage. This feeling inspires them to send out their resumes to as many companies as they can find in hopes of landing a job with more pay and a better workplace environment. And many TikTokers claim that this is working for them! In a short time, they are receiving not just one job offer, but several.

Basically, these younger workers are being spurred on by anger and frustration to actually do something about their situation. And, when angry, a person tends to lose the fear that they may have otherwise had about putting themselves out there and going through job interviews again.

Plus, there's a different feeling of sending out your resume when you truly need a job rather than when you're choosing to look around for a new one. In that respect, rage applying isn't such a bad idea. However, it could also lead to a rash decision that is later regretted.

Some would argue that it's better to let that rage give a person the courage and motivation to talk (in detail) to their current manager about what they want, sell the strengths that they have developed in the job and try to find common ground about how to make things better going forward.

When Did Rage Applying Become a Thing?

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In early December of 2022, TikToker Redweez shared in her video the success she found from rage applying. She claims that she got mad at work which led her to rage apply to about 15 jobs. She ended up getting a job that paid her $25,000 more and the company is a great place to work for.

This message resonated with a lot of Gen Zers and her video went viral. The video has been shared over 20,000 times and has been viewed 2.3 million times.

Related: 50 Gen Z Slang Words You Need to Know to Keep From Becoming "Cheugy"

What Is Causing Rage Applying?

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Some causes of rage applying are not surprising—it's hard for Gen Zers to get ahead with lower-paying jobs, higher inflation and higher interest rates for borrowing money.

Another problem can be that some of these younger workers want the same luxuries they grew up with and they are impatient to start living that same lifestyle. They want a good work-life balance that has traditionally taken older generations longer to "earn" throughout their careers.

Instead of feeling a lot of loyalty to a workplace and aligning personal goals with the company goals long-term, many Gen Z workers keep their personal goals separate and find opportunities elsewhere if they have not been offered better opportunities/experiences in their current organizations.

The desire to have a job that provides good pay along with an ideal lifestyle can carry a sense of urgency. This need is matched with rage when it seems that the person is being overlooked for a promotion, a raise doesn't happen quickly or they consistently feel like they're being asked to handle more responsibilities than what they're getting paid for. Then, when that anger hits, the desire is to show the boss that someone else sees and understands their worth.

The Downsides of Rage Applying

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As with anything in life, if you make a decision out of anger, it could have repercussions. In a fit of rage or frustration, a person could take a job with higher pay without thinking hard about if it is the right fit for them or not. With the main focus being money, getting back at their boss or working in a different environment, some other important factors could be forgotten.

For example, if there wasn't any communication or a check-in with their manager about their feelings before taking this action, they may end up throwing away a good job for nothing.

The other problem is what happens when you become dissatisfied with the new job. Do you rage apply all over again? If this becomes a pattern, it will raise red flags to any future potential employers. Good communication and patience can go a long way in getting a person to where they want to be.

Related: Gen Z No Longer Giving the 'Thumbs-Up' on These 10 Emojis—See the Controversial List

What Can Businesses Do About Rage Applying?

Since Generation Z employees seem to have different expectations and attitudes in the workplace than previous generations, it's going to be prudent for employers to learn how to communicate with and understand this younger generation.

Because Gen Zers grew up in a time of a strong economy, they were hit with an uncertain future when after COVID the economy took a plunge just when they were entering the workforce. It's likely scary to see such change and not know where things are headed or if they will be able to afford what they need as they start out in their independent life. A survey by Pew Research Center shows that half of the oldest Gen Zers (ages 18 to 23) reported that they or someone in their household had lost a job or taken a cut in pay because of the outbreak. This is in part due to the fact that a large percentage of Gen Zers worked in high-risk service jobs before the COVID outbreak.

Since this age group is going to be more insecure about the future, it's important for managers to communicate well and frequently about future plans for the employee. Don't leave them guessing about expectations. The old adage that no news is good news is not going to cut it. They need to know that they are valued and may need more frequent confirmation of that.

Ways To Effectively Manage Gen Zers At Work

Communicate In Person

Although this generation has grown up in the digital world and communicates primarily via text or instant messaging, they need face-to-face communication in the workforce to better gauge how they are doing. In fact, in a recent poll, 72% of Gen Zers said they prefer face-to-face communication over other types in the workplace. Only by reading a person's face can they discern feelings. They are looking for honesty and transparency.

Provide New Challenges

Gen Zers value challenges and new opportunities. More than 70% believe it is more important to be seen as having a curious and open mindset than a specific skill or expertise. They are willing to try new things and aren't afraid of failure when they can learn from their mistakes. Just know that if the new challenge is bundled with a new responsibility that wasn't part of their initial job description, it's worth having a pay and job title conversation as well, if applicable. While Gen Z values opportunities to grow, they want to feel that they are valued for their work in return.

Embrace the Generation Gap

Each generation has unique qualities to add to the workplace. Take Gen Z seriously when they give suggestions or complaints. They're likely coming at an issue from a different angle that has a lot of value.

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