Understand the viral film of quitting out of your job in Tiktok
Workers are sharing stories of quitting their jobs on social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube, shedding light on the difficult and unsustainable working conditions. Quitting videos reflect a cultural disillusionment with the promises of working for a company, where loyalty is no longer what it once was. Workers, particularly those in low-wage jobs, are expressing frustration with the implicit trade-off of working for money. With more job openings than job seekers, workers are more willing to take the risk of going public with their frustrations.
by Ana Machado
Workers are finding a sense of empowerment by sharing their stories of quitting their jobs on TikTok and YouTube, shedding light on the often difficult and unsustainable working conditions.
Last year, Samantha Rae Garcia, a psychology major at the University of Texas Permian Basin, decided to quit her four-year job at a restaurant in Midland, Texas, due to her boss’s constant criticism. She recorded the moment she quit, consulted her parents, and made a spontaneous TikTok video about it. In the video, Ms. Garcia sarcastically smiles and gives a thumbs up while her boss is heard off-camera criticizing her. The video has garnered 3.7 million views since its posting in February 2022, with thousands of supportive comments commending Ms. Garcia’s push back.
In a recent interview, Ms. Garcia shared that she felt validated after posting a TikTok video of herself quitting her restaurant job in response to her boss’s criticism. Although her mother was concerned about the video potentially harming future job opportunities, Ms. Garcia quickly landed another job after dropping off resumes at various restaurants. She is part of a larger trend of young people sharing mini dramas online, which can lead to new career opportunities as they build their online personas. TikTok is full of advice on what to do after quitting a job, and Ms. Garcia’s video has been viewed 3.7 million times with thousands of supportive comments.
According to sociologists and management professors, QuitToks or quitting videos reflect a cultural disillusionment with the promises of working for a company, where loyalty is no longer what it once was. Workers, particularly those in low-wage jobs, are expressing frustration with the implicit trade-off of working for money. With the current job market, where there are more job openings than job seekers, workers are more willing to take the risk of going public with their frustrations. The common theme among the videos is frustrated expectations, with most workers not taking a job thinking it will be terrible but quitting because of bad bosses.
Before quitting videos gained popularity on TikTok, similar stories were shared on YouTube and Facebook. In 2011, Joey La Neve DeFrancesco posted a YouTube video of him quitting his hotel job with the support of his marching band. In the video, a smiling Mr. DeFrancesco and his band members confront one of his managers, and he announces that he is quitting. The video has been viewed 8.5 million times and landed him appearances on TV shows like “Good Morning America” and “Access Hollywood.” Similarly, Marina Shifrin planned her quitting video in September 2013 when she was 25 and working in Taiwan. She posted a video on YouTube after experiencing “consistent harassment from my boss.”
Marina Shifrin’s quitting video was a planned one. After experiencing “consistent harassment from her boss”, she felt trapped in a system that was abusing young women. She took a methodical approach to list the pros and cons of quitting and ultimately decided the pros outweighed the cons. In her video titled “An Interpretive Dance for My Boss Set to Kanye West’s ‘Gone'”, Shifrin performs an interpretive dance in various locations, highlighting her reasons for leaving before ending with a dramatic “I quit!” message. Her video went viral and gained her nearly 20 million views. The success of her response video led to offers from Hollywood agents and even an appearance on “The Queen Latifah Show.”
The entire vision
Many quitting videos that have gone viral on social media platforms like TikTok tend to reflect the breakdown of the traditional social contract that hard work and dedication in a job will lead to success. Sociology professor Ann Swidler from the University of California at Berkeley has commented on this cultural disillusionment with the world of work, stating that company loyalty is no longer what it used to be. Workers, particularly in low-wage jobs, are sharing their stories publicly, proclaiming that the implicit trade-off of working for money is no longer a fair deal. Harvard University Business School professor Joseph Fuller has noted that the common theme among these videos is “frustrated expectations” and that people tend to quit bosses rather than jobs. However, these quitting videos often provide an emotional punch, with viewers coming for the drama and not for the details. Despite this, some content creators have been able to build their online personalities and even secure new career opportunities.
About the author / Ana Machado
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