Article: Quit-Tok: Gen Z trend exposing toxic workplaces

Life @ Work

Quit-Tok: Gen Z trend exposing toxic workplaces

Gen Z – the digital natives of the workforce – are eschewing traditional resignation letters in favour of public declarations of their departure, in a trend called “Quit-Tok.” But what's driving this phenomenon, and what does it mean for the future of work?
Quit-Tok: Gen Z trend exposing toxic workplaces

Quit-Tok refers to the trend of employees, primarily Generation Z, sharing videos of their resignation or layoff stories publicly … on TikTok.

These videos often capture the raw emotion of the moment, from the tense build-up to the liberating feeling of finally quitting a job.

Quit-Tok videos vary in format, from filming live Zoom resignations to documenting the moment a resignation letter is handed in.

Why are Gen Z turning to Quit-Tok?

The emergence of Quit-Tok was not a matter of if, but when, it would explode on social media since more digital natives have been joining the workforce.

“The majority of young users on TikTok have grown up as digital natives, sharing every kind of milestone online,” Tess Brigham, a California-based therapist and coach, told the BBC.

This inherent comfort with sharing their lives online extends to their professional lives as well.

Gen Z values authenticity and transparency, and by sharing their resignation or layoff stories, they expose both the good and the bad of their workplace experiences.

As Gabrielle Judge, a former tech worker who went viral with her resignation video, puts it, she wanted to show viewers that she had walked away from the low-pressure and relatively well-paid role after her employer began laying off her team and giving her extra tasks.

Beyond just expression, Quit-Tok also provides a platform for Gen Z workers to connect with others who have had similar experiences.

Christina Zumbo, a former Australian government worker who had a Quit-Tok moment, said she talked about her journey on social media so other people could somehow learn from it.

“I decided to share this journey online because it simply isn’t talked about enough,” she told Channel News Asia.

Her video resonated with thousands, highlighting the shared experience of workplace dissatisfaction and the desire for change.

“I had no idea so many people would see, relate, and share their own stories,” Zumbo said.

Gen Z has also been known for prioritising mental health, work-life balance, and a sense of purpose in their careers. They are believed to be less tolerant of toxic work environments and are not afraid to walk away from jobs that don’t align with their values.

The impact of the Quit-Tok trend on workers

Quit-Tok appears to empower employees in that it shows agency. Younger workers are seen as taking control of their careers and speaking out against unfair treatment.

Zumbo believes: “It's important to take control of our lives, and be actively on the path we want to be on, instead of walking along one we don’t want to be on.”

These viral videos can also put pressure on companies to improve their workplace practices.

Nolan Church, former head of talent at DoorDash, notes that layoff videos have become “an accountability mechanism to ensure people are being treated humanely”.

Quit-Tok also challenges the traditional power dynamics between employers and employees. By publicly sharing their experiences, Gen Z workers are forcing companies to listen to their concerns and take them seriously.

But while it may be empowering for individuals, public resignations can also have long-term consequences for future job prospects.

It’s a calculated risk some are willing to take to advocate for change. In some cases, filming a resignation without consent could raise legal issues.

Quit-Tok is a reflection of the perceived Gen Z desire for transparency, authenticity, and work-life balance. The movement of calling out injustice through online means is reshaping the way we think about work and empowering employees who are taking control of their careers.

While there are risks involved, the potential rewards of speaking out and receiving support from an online community can be liberating.

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Topics: Life @ Work, Culture

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