Frustrated Gen Z workers are celebrating their resignations in highly public social media posts.
Amid the ‘Great Resignation’, young people in the US and UK are posting TikTok videos and Instagram reels of the moment they said: ‘I quit’. The hashtag quitmyjob has 194.1million views on TikTok, while #iquitmyjob has 40.9million.
The Reddit forum R/antiwork – where people share thoughts on leaving work, the drawbacks of work, and why society as a whole should work less – has seen a surge of subscribers this year.
On Twitter, workers share screenshots of text exchanges with their bosses. One reads: ‘Mail me my check. I quit.’
It comes after Prince Harry came under fire for advising people who feel ‘stuck in jobs that don’t bring them joy’ to quit and said leaving work was something to be ‘celebrated’, nearly two years after his acrimonious departure from the Royal Family.
Although the public resignations pre-date Harry’s comments, the Duke would no doubt approve of the trend after saying that a wave of pandemic resignations was ‘to be celebrated’.
Amid the ‘Great Resignation’, young people are posting TikTok videos and Instagram reels of the moment they said: ‘I quit’. Above, Hunter Aleece (left), from the US, went viral with her clip. Above right, an Irish user named Rachel who revealed how she quit and went travelling
The reasons are varied. Complaints of a toxic work environment, bad management and unreasonable hours often accompany the resignation posts. Others simply ‘don’t enjoy what they do’.
One man, who has the funds to continue travelling even after quitting, said simply: ‘I’m not wasting my life away working a job I hate!’
It is not clear in all cases whether the people resigning on so-called ‘QuitTok’ have another job lined up, or how they intend to support themselves.
Some paint themselves as inspirational figures. One woman declares at the start of her video: ‘This is proof to quit that job you hate and do what you want’, before sharing a mini-movie of the holiday she enjoyed with her boyfriend after quitting.
The reasons why people are #quitting – bad bosses, bad hours, and feeling overworked – have been around for centuries. But they have come into sharper focus in the wake of the pandemic.
The reasons for quitting are varied. Complaints of a toxic work environment, bad management and unreasonable hours often accompany the resignation posts. Above, one woman from the US said she was quitting because of bad management. She did not name the company
One American woman cited mental health as the reason for a change in her job (left). Right, another woman from the US who said she quit her job ‘without a back-up plan’
Some TikTok users, like Jack from the US, go so far as to share their resignation letters. Others record their phone conversations with their bosses
The result is the ‘Great Resignation’. America’s quitting rate is historically high, reaching 3 percent this autumn. In the UK, one study found as many as one in four workers is actively planning to change employers in the next few months.
Laura Trendall-Morrison, founder of the GameChanger Consultancy, said: ‘Popular opinion suggests the disruptions of the past 18 months due to Covid and other issues have caused individuals to question values, work life balance and their core purpose in the context of how this relates to social engagement and well-being.
‘The opportunity to reflect has given people the opportunity to determine if their work makes them fulfilled and engaged.’
James Routledge, author of Mental Health at Work and founder of workplace mental health organisation Sanctus, agreed: ‘You could call it the great resignation, I prefer to think of it as the great awakening. We’re all becoming increasingly aware of our mental health and many of us are making decisions that prioritise our mental health, even if they’re counter cultural.
The Reddit forum R/antiwork – where people share thoughts on leaving work, the drawbacks of work, and why society as a whole should work less – has seen a surge of subscribers this year. Employees also share screenshots of their text exchanges with their bosses (pictured)
‘Long ago people put on their suit and tie and left their soul at home when they went to work. How do you do that when you suddenly work from home? The pandemic has left us all asking some big, existential questions.
Think before you post! Why you SHOULDN’T brag about your resignation online
Dr Sam Mather, who lectures at Henley Business School, said: ‘OK, you may have been looking forward to quitting and telling the bosses what you think of them, but doing it publicly doesn’t bode well for your future career.
‘It can brand you as someone who is unable to deal professionally with difficult situations. From a neuroscience perspective it suggests that you are unable to manage your emotions and behaviour appropriately.
‘Your emotions have overrun your the smart part of your brain and therefore your ability to think logically and professionally. This may be interpreted as a lack of control, self awareness and maturity.
‘After all, organisations need people who are able to continue to problem solve, innovate and be smart even in a challenging and pressured environment. Broadcasting your resignation in an emotional and combative way does not showcase your smart self, no matter the circumstances.
‘By all means, poor leadership or organisational practises need to be addressed but for your future self’s sake, it’s far better to deal with these things formally and with dignity.’
‘We’ll see more people leaving jobs, turning down promotions, taking career breaks and changing their career too. This is all a result of people prioritising their mental health and exploring who they are, what they care about and how they want to live in this world.’
People are also leaving for positive reasons. There have been reports of salary surges amid candidate shortages, meaning people might leave an employer for a comparable, but better paid role, at a competitor. Others are changing industries completely.
Some TikTok creators tell how resigning gave them the push they needed to start their own business, or even, in some cases, become full-time social media stars.
The rise of hybrid working models means workers can also seek out opportunities in locations that might have previously been unavailable. There is also greater choice regarding working from home arrangements.
But these real-life practical issues are often absent from the most popular QuitTok videos. The point of these clips is simple: I quit, and you can too.
However experts warn against such public posts, with Trendall Morrison explaining: ‘If you ask those who post, why they would do this, at the risk of their future career, the answer is invariably to “get them to change” or to “help other employees”. It is rarely for individual reasons, and more about raising awareness of poor practice.
‘However, is having your say and the 15 minutes of fame, the congratulatory comments and virtual high fives really worth it, or is it damaging to future job prospects and reputation?
‘In the age of social media, it is standard practice for recruiters to search and scan social media accounts to see if somebody is a good fit for the role, what their conduct is like, and whether they are a good fit for the company.
‘That includes assessing whether the possible recruit will be an asset, and add value to the company, or a liability which could damage the company’s reputation and brand value. Those who publish notes of resignation on Tik Tok and other forms of social media would certainly be put into the latter category.’
Fury as Prince Harry says quitting work can be good for your mental health and ‘many people around the world have been stuck in jobs that don’t bring them joy’
Prince Harry yesterday advised people who feel ‘stuck in jobs that don’t bring them joy’ to quit and said leaving work was something to be ‘celebrated’, nearly two years after his acrimonious departure from the Royal Family.
The Duke of Sussex, who lives in an £11million mansion in California and has a series of endorsement deals with companies that pay him to represent their brands, said people should leave their jobs to put their happiness first.
The 37-year-old prince’s comments may be seen by some as referring to how he and wife Meghan Markle stepped down as senior royals last year and left Britain for North America before claiming his family cut him off financially.
His quotes were published on the same day his brother Prince William’s discussions about his own mental health were released in an Apple audio walking tour. William told how his job as an air ambulance helicopter pilot caused him a mental health crisis when he helped to rescue a seriously injured child – but he continued to work in the role.
Prince Harry talks about his work at California-based mental health company BetterUp, where he is ‘chief impact officer’, in a Q&A session with US business magazine Fast Company
Harry also said today that the world was at the ‘beginning of the mental health awakening’ and spoke about ‘continuing to pioneer the conversation’. He was speaking in an roundtable interview with US business magazine Fast Company about his role as ‘chief impact officer’ with California-based mental health start-up BetterUp.
BetterUp is valued at £3billion and Harry’s role, which he began in March, includes product strategy, philanthropy, and public advocacy related to mental health. He is also involved in its commitment to ‘Pledge 1%’ – a movement which encourages companies to donate 1 per cent of equity, staff time, product or profit to their communities.
But Kieran Boyle, managing director of CKB Recruitment in Gloucester, told MailOnline: ‘This fella really does live in cloud cuckoo land, doesn’t he? Sure, most people would love to chuck in a job they hate, but the reality is a different thing entirely. A massive chunk of working people are only two or three pay packets away from losing everything. Perhaps our young prince should start to engage his brain more before his lips move.’
Rob Peters, mortgage expert at Simple Fast Mortgage in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, added: ‘If you quit your job without the means to support yourself, I am pretty sure that the stress of ‘where the next meal will come from’, might be equally bad for your mental health.’
And Scott Gallacher, director at chartered financial planners Rowley Turton in Leicester, told MailOnline: ‘Whilst I agree that none of us should be stuck in a job we hate, quitting without either a ‘stuff it’ emergency fund or a replacement job lined up would be foolhardy. Not all of us have a trust fund to fall back on. In addition to the immediate concerns of how would you pay your bills, there is the risk that if you get into financial difficulties you could damage your credit rating and therefore your longer-term financial future.’