Reaching a breaking point at your toxic job and mass-applying for new opportunities is not a new concept, but on TikTok, it has a charged new name: “rage applying.”
“Rage applying” for jobs has become a motivational phrase used by job-seekers on TikTok to encourage people to get out of jobs that are no longer serving them.
Unlike quiet quitting, when employees “shelter in place” and do the bare minimum at their job until they can escape for better opportunities, rage applying is all about channeling that anger into action so that you leave a job ASAP — even if it means sending out your resume en masse.
In a best-case scenario, rage-applying works, and you get rewarded with a new job that pays you what you deserve, as TikTok user redweez explained.
“There is mindful energy of sitting and meditating and being reflective, and that’s really powerful. But there’s also something called ‘fuck it’ energy, and ‘fuck it’ energy is really powerful, too,” said career coach Jasmine Escalera. “You just have to be thoughtful about how you use both energy styles.”
In other words, be careful about the line between letting rage fuel you and letting it overtake you. Although rage is a completely reasonable response to unjust and toxic work situations, it can cloud your judgment when job-hunting.
“‘Fuck it’ energy is really powerful, too.”
While problems like toxicity can be deal-breakers, others, such as miscommunication, can be fixable. “If you are truly applying on a whim after just one thing goes wrong, you may be leaving an otherwise great job when you actually could have been a part of solving the problem and improving the workplace,” said Bonnie Dilber, a recruiter with app-automation company Zapier.
And in worst-case scenarios, you end up in a worse job than the one you were so intent on escaping.
“If you are not taking the time to truly research the company and role, there is a risk of leaving your current position for a role or company that you are even more dissatisfied with,” said Gabrielle Woody, a university recruiter for the financial software company Intuit.
Take it from Escalera, who had “rage applied” to escape a toxic job in her past and saw her efforts backfire. Escalera said her next job was not a good fit because she took it out of desperation.
“I applied to anything that had ‘project manager’ in it. It didn’t matter where the next thing was ... I didn’t think about what’s the kind of environment I want to be in, I was just like ‘Get me out of here,’” she said.
Escalera cautioned that if you do not take the time to reflect on what you really want out of your next opportunity and do your research on potential new employers, you could end up in the same loop of toxic, unfulfilling jobs.
In her view, being reflective may not feel like as helpful an action as rage-applying, but mass-applying to jobs doesn’t work, either. In some cases, “people are applying to hundreds of jobs and [are] not having anyone reach out to them,” Escalara said, which means reflection is necessary in order to get the career outcome you want.
So, in short, listen to what your anger is trying to tell you.
“If you do not take the time to reflect on what you really want out of your next opportunity and do your research on potential new employers, you could end up in the same loop of toxic, unfulfilling jobs.”
Do use your urge to rage-apply as your signal that you need to change something about your job situation. Dilber believes the majority of people aren’t really “rage applying” after one bad day –– she thinks they are being pushed to the brink after having their contributions sidelined and ignored.
“Whatever you want to call it, if you’re not happy at work, you should get your resume together and apply for other jobs. Life is too short, and we spend too much time at work to work at a job that makes us miserable,” Dilber said.
But do also take a deep breath and get real about what kind of jobs will help you grow and keep you engaged, so your next career move pushes you in the right direction instead of putting you on yet another detour.
Be efficient in your job search. Instead of mass-applying with the same resume over and over, send tailored job applications. Companies can typically tell when you copy and paste generic answers, so Woody recommends carefully reviewing job descriptions and customizing your application to demonstrate your interest in the specific role and company you are applying to.
And you can also harness your rage to start networking so you can give yourself the space to figure out what’s actually a better fit, Escalera said.
“That can still feel like action, but it’s not the action that you are taking sitting in front of a computer pressing a button,” she said. “If you want to take action, take action from the space of [focusing on] ‘Who can support me, who can validate me, who can connect me to others, who can help me?’ to break out of that cycle.”