Ever since professor Anthony Klotz coined the term “The Great Resignation” in 2021 we have been inundated with more and increasingly nonsensical workplace trends bouncing around the business rags. Quiet quitting, quiet hiring, bare minimum Mondays, ‘tang ping,‘ (‘lying flat’ in Mandarin Chinese), and now we have “rage applying” which we’ll get to in a minute.
We haven’t mentioned it before because it’s stupid but “quiet hiring” is one of nine workplace trends for 2023 identified by research firm Gartner and the newest buzz phrase on the block until the next dumb one comes out. All nine are:
These trends really aren’t so terrible when not packaged in dumb buzz phrases and they aren’t new either. Quiet hiring in particular boils down to dumping more work on your existing employees or shuffling them around rather than scouting new talent because it’s too hard to find people these days. Gartner describes it as:
In 2023, savvy HR leaders will turn [quiet quitting] on its head with “quiet hiring” in order to acquire new skills and capabilities without adding new full-time employees. This will manifest in a few key ways:
- A focus on internal talent mobility to ensure employees address the priorities that matter most without changes in headcount
- Stretch and upskilling opportunities for existing employees while meeting evolving organizational needs
- Alternate approaches, such as leveraging alumni networks and gig workers, to flexibly bring in talent only as needed
“With quiet hiring, we’re talking about an organization strategically, at a leadership level, looking at the talent they have across the organization and where the critical gaps are and finding ways to fill those,” she said. “It’s trying to acquire new skills and capabilities without acquiring new people,” said Emily Rose McRae, senior director of research at Gartner, to San Francisco’s ABC7. Yeah, they’ve been doing that for a long time, it just has a stupid name now.
While employers are moving people around and forcing a single person to do the work of two or more (sound familiar, acting seniors who aren’t getting senior pay?), workers are apparently angrily spamming resumes hoping for an exit opportunity that sticks. So the “rage” in “rage quitting” boils down to rage at rising cost of living, flat salaries, and the bullshit that comes with working for companies that suck.
When “rage applying” appeared a few weeks back I was convinced it had to be a troll. Actually I’m still not convinced it isn’t but HR magazines are picking it up so even if it started out as a joke it’s no doubt been absorbed by and instilled fear in HR people everywhere. So what is it exactly?
HR Exchange Network describes it as:
Rage applying is when young employees in professional fields get fed up with the workload, boss, compensation, or all of the above and apply to as many other companies as they can while soaking in their anger. The act of applying to other jobs when one’s morale is low is nothing new. But the term “rage applying” is the latest buzzword to surface in Human Resources as Gen Z and some Millennials grapple with a wide range of disappointments and setbacks.
Many of them began their careers in a pandemic that had people feeling more isolated and forcing them to work from home. As a result, they have not cultivated the kinds of relationships that get people to stay. They might have lacked the mentorship that can fuel a new worker.
Oh fuck off.
In January, CNBC tapped a bunch of “experts” to explain the driving factors behind rage applying and shared this TikTok that raised awareness of it among disenfranchised young people “lacking mentorship” in that viral way popular TikToks do:
@redweez Keep rage applying when youre mad 🏼 that energy will push you to greater horizons than the job youre stuck in! #work #milennial #worklife ♬ The Sign – Ace of Base
CNBC also introduces us to Chelsea McLin, a young woman who leveraged rage applying to get a $14,000 bump in salary:
Whenever Chelsea McLin was “fed up” with her job — whether it was because she received a passive aggressive email or got more work than she could manage — she would think to herself, “Let me fly somewhere.”
She then applied for a bunch of jobs, sometimes four to five a day, she told CNBC Make It.
“I was just overwhelmed and stressed all the time. I was like, I don’t like the person I am right now. I want to move before I actually hate this job,” said McLin, who was working as a coordinator at a nonprofit organization.
Career coach Jenna Greco told CNBC that the issue is blindly applying to any and everything just to get out of a job you hate.
What makes rage applying different from a typical job search is also the mass application to “any job” that will get workers out of the one they’re in now, said Greco — even if one is clearly unqualified for it.
For example, Chelsea McLin said, she applied to jobs “everywhere” and some of those positions were chosen at “random.”
“There were a lot of tech jobs, project management jobs … I don’t know if I’m qualified, but I might as well put it out there.”
And it worked out for her. What’s the problem?
Said the career coach, if you rage apply to a bunch of jobs you might have to — brace yourselves because this will be shocking — deal with rejection. One might counter this concern by suggesting that if you are spamming resumes, you are less invested in the process and therefore won’t take rejection personally because you know that you aren’t a good fit for the positions you’ve applied for. So it’s not you and your skills that have been rejected but rather the skills and experience you don’t have.
The downside of “spraying your resume out there and seeing what sticks” is having to deal with the possibility of rejection, said Greco.
“The rejection emails wear down your confidence. I saw a TikTok the other day that said, ‘Just got another rejection email from a job I don’t remember applying to at 3am,’” she added.
“Why put yourself in a position to get rejection emails from jobs you don’t even care about or remember applying to? It can fuel more frustration in your current job.”
So? Why stay at a job that has fundamentally changed you as a person and turned you into someone you don’t even recognize?
She added that rage applying is “a very reactive way” to job search, which can be detrimental in the long run.
“You have the potential to jump from the frying pan into the fire. When you haven’t taken the time to really get clear on what you want in your next job and target roles that align with that, you’re just sending out applications hoping the next job will be better,” she said.
“The high that comes from a potential pay bump at another toxic job is going to wear off pretty quickly.”
I repeat: so? Why shouldn’t people take advantage of this hot market while we have it? There is evidence the market is cooling down from the worker side (yes, even in accounting), which is all the more reason to sniff around and see what’s out there before the tables are turned back to employers.
Go forth and rage, kids.