A new trend is emerginggave rise to burned-out workers . Now, disgruntled workers are broadcasting their resignations on social media platforms like TikTok under the hashtag “Quittok.”
Workplace experts have dubbed the phenomenon, driven largely by members of Generation Z, “loud quitting.” And while some young professionals may be getting positive reinforcement from their circle of followers, career and HR professionals generally discourage the practice.
The risk: That overly confessional or otherwise unprofessional videos will surface on the internet for years to come, potentially turning off future employers that might fear being similarly exposed.
“The way in which it’s done needs to be considered,” workplace consultant Mike Jones, founder of Better Happy, a consulting firm that focuses on employee engagement, told CBS MoneyWatch. “If it’s done with a bad attitude, that will reflect badly on them in the future, and it’s difficult to make something disappear from the internet. Even if your employer treated you poorly, you’ll have a video of yourself being unprofessional following you the rest of your life.”
“It’s time for me to move on”
Quittok only recently started drawing attention as a social phenomenon. Some trace its origins to 2021, when the employees of a British McDonald’s quit en masse and one worker documented the resignation in a video posted on TikTok. The video has since been viewed 16 million times on the platform.
On social media, the hashtag #quittok has drawn more than 41 million views. For example, when one TikTok user decided she’d had enough of her role, which she described as a “corporate job,” she livestreamed the moment she nervously informed her boss she was resigning.
“I just wanted to call you and let you know that I’ve made a decision that it’s time for me to move on,” viewers can hear her say to her manager, who is not shown in the video.
In a similar vein, other short clips feature workers simply contemplating and openly discussing whether to resign.
“Sometimes they are unhappy at work and are talking about wanting to quit, but they don’t necessarily do it live,” Jones, of Better Happy said.
Some who document their journeys into unemployment, or perhaps a more fulfilling job, say they do it to motivate other similarly disenchanted employees to break free. Said one TikToker said in a recent video, “I have nothing lined up, and that’s ok,” she said. “I’m here to tell you that you also have permission to quit your job that makes you miserable.”
Not surprisingly, it’s more common for younger workers to share their work tribulations online than it is for older generations.
“The main reason people do this today is that Generation Z have grown up in a digital era and are more comfortable communicating through tech and social media than they are in person,” Jones said. “So when issues go on at work, or they’re unhappy at work, they’re not comfortable talking about it [in person.] They let the issue build up, and they get so frustrated that they decide to publicly air it.”
Jones said the trend also forces employers to be more accountable and aware of how they treat workers in this digital age, when information is shared freely and can quickly reach prospective employees.
“Generally speaking, it creates a high level of accountability,” he said. “We used to have few protections for workers, and managers could get away with treating workers like dirt and never be found out. This creates radical accountability around that, and that’s a good thing.”
If employers don’t like seeing workers air their grievances on social media, then they would do well to “make them feel we care about them,” Jones added.
By contrast, others deride the trend as unprofessional and say there are more tactful ways for unhappy workers to leave their jobs or celebrate making a change.
“It is simply bad behavior, with a large dose of narcissism,” Steve Palmisano, founder of marketing and consulting firm AdElevat, wrote on LinkedIn. “Anyone doing this has to be able to realize it is bad form on so many levels.”