When Vy Nguyen, 26, quit her job at an engineering firm to protect her mental health last May, she did what many of her peers are doing: She took to TikTok.
She posted one short video of herself mugging for the webcam with the subtitle “quits my 9-5 without a backup plan” and a triumphant voiceover exclaiming “I’m f–king crazy, but I am free.”
The TikTok went on to attract more than 1 million views. In another post, she admires herself in a mirror and says, “I’m kind of focused on being a baddie right now, can’t really work.” And in a third, she responds to the news that her boss supposedly had to hire two people to replace her with a voiceover saying “Oh. My. God,” and a subtitle reading, “So I could have been making twice as much as I was making.”
A record number of Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs — according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, quit rates hit an all-time high of nearly 3 percent this year, a phenomenon known as the Great Resignation — and the younger amongst them aren’t going quietly. Millennials and Zoomers are taking to TikTok to post short videos shaming “toxic” workplaces, glorifying their resignation letters, counting down their last days and fêting their new unemployment. The hashtag #QuitTok currently has over 573,000 posts on TikTok, and those creating them say they’re not worried about alienating future employers. Such ideas – like previously bucked norms around workplace hierarchies or not openly sharing salary information with co-workers – seem antiquated to the younger generation.
“If a company were to think of me differently because I chose my mental health over making money, I wouldn’t want to work with them,” said Nguyen, who admitted that she did have a moment of fleeting hesitation before posting. But, now that she’s successfully launched her own freelance marketing business, she has no regrets.
“I feel like it should be normal to quit a job that you don’t like,” she said.
Gabby Ianniello also has no shame about bashing corporate life online.
“Employers need to recognize that we are human and the human experience is that not every single day is butterflies and daisies,” the 28-year-old former real estate marketing coordinator told The Post.
After unhappily working for nearly six years, Ianniello quit in January and launched her own consulting business catering to other 20-somethings who, like her, are fed up with the grind of traditional 9-to-5 jobs. She goes by TheCorporateQuitter on Instagram and TikTok, and rails against grueling hustle culture with posts telling viewers “you are allowed to jump ship, you don’t owe the company that you work for anything” and “inner peace is the new success.”
There seems to be a definite audience for such sentiments. Ianniello has more than 27,700 followers on TikTok, and the comments sections on her post are filled with commiserating. “I literally have 0 days off. My time off is the commute home until someone calls me,” said one commenter. “The word ‘corporate’ triggers me,” said another.
Experts caution that future employers might not be so empathetic. “If you lose a job, quit a job, walk away from a job, that doesn’t necessarily put you in a good light,” NYC career coach Elena Mosaner, 41, told The Post. “You don’t want your future employers to see certain things like that being public.”
She said she’d warn prospective employees away from airing their grievances on social media. “Why would you post that?” Mosaner said of the #QuitToks. “It really shows an image of someone who’s not considerate.”
But, 27-year-old career adviser Alexandra Szilagy said that employers are getting more accustomed to Gen Z’s unique outlook, especially in a pandemic where lines between personal and professional spaces have been blurred. One can’t easily grab a drink with co-workers at the bar by the office to blow off steam, so taking to TikTok is a logical alternative for some.
“We’ve seen such a shift going from physical offices to constantly being online and working online,” she said.
And while she wouldn’t recommend that disgruntled young workers get too specific on social — naming and shaming a former boss, for instance — she said some employers value outspoken workers.
“I see a shift in companies wanting that experience and insight from the younger generations being unapologetically themselves,” she said. “Companies want to hear more about what their employees need.”
Ianniello doesn’t care whether or not employers want to hear her thoughts. She won’t be silenced.
“The system is in place for a reason, but in a lot of ways, it’s broken and seeing profit over people,” Ianniello said. “The fact that there might be people judging other people for being real and authentic says more on the part of the employer than the person who’s creating the content.”