Is TikTok's 'Rage Applying' Trend The Solution For A Bad Day At Work?

Not only did the COVID-19 pandemic lead to the widespread use of masks and terms like "quarantine," "pod," and "social distancing," but it also resulted in an uptick in worldwide job frustration. According to a 2022 Gallup report, 44% of workers reported having recently been stressed in the office. The bottom line? Most employees don't find their jobs meaningful. 

The cause of this pervasive attitude varies — for some, workplace anxiety is the result of a toxic boss, while others face unmanageable expectations and unfair compensation. Whatever the root, career-based dissatisfaction is here to stay. "This isn't just a passing trend, or a pandemic-related change to the labor market," clarified Bonnie Dowling, an associate partner at McKinsey & Company, in a conversation with CNBC. "There's been a fundamental shift in workers' mentality, and their willingness to prioritize other things in their life beyond whatever job they hold..." For the last few years, social media trends have reflected these frustrations. 

The "quiet quitting" phenomenon emerged in 2022 as a pushback to hustle culture. "Rage applying" is TikTok's newest solution to a subpar workplace environment, but can this trend benefit your career in the long run?

Rage applying is nothing new

Often motivated by frustration, "rage applying" is the act of sending out applications to different jobs in the hope of better compensation, more time off, and a less-toxic workplace environment. The trend, which emerged at the tail end of 2022, has amassed well over 11 million views on TikTok. It is only growing in popularity as employees learn to leverage new job offers. 

Though the hashtag is only a few months old, "rage applying" is far from a new concept. "Applying for new roles because you're frustrated with your pay, manager, co-workers ... are age-old reasons why employees have always looked to move on," Amy Zimmerman, the chief people officer at Relay Payments, explained to CNBC. Even if doesn't result in a pay upgrade, "rage applying" can help you regain a sense of control in a situation when you feel powerless. If scenarios posted by content creators like Nathan Kennedy (@newmoneynate) and John Liang (@johnsfinancetips) on TikTok are any indication, shooting out applications to new jobs can only benefit your career — you just need to apply productively.

Rage apply wisely for the best outcome

When it comes to applying for new jobs, quality should never be sacrificed for quantity. "Rage apply" wisely by curating an effective resume — or CV depending on the job in question — and perfecting the art of the cover letter. Many companies are on the lookout for new employees in the last three months of the year, making this the ideal time to shoot out applications. More specifically, it's always best to submit your applications in the morning and within the first few days of the job opening.

The ideal resume will give your future employer an understanding of your personal goals — be sure to list your related skills, experience, and education. The accompanying cover letter should be entirely based on the role in question, explaining what makes you uniquely qualified.

At the very least, it never hurts to keep your options open. "You don't have to take a job just because it's offered, but going out and interviewing keeps you sharp," Liz Ryan, CEO of coaching and consulting firm Human Workplace, told Worklife. "There is no benefit to putting your head in the sand."