What is Rage Applying? What to Know About TikTok’s Latest Trend

Like “quiet quitting” in 2022, “rage applying” is the latest TikTok workplace trend, and many Gen Z employees are swearing by it. Find out what it entails, why it’s resonating with Gen Z, and if it’s beneficial. 

Move over, quiet quitting. Rage applying is the new Gen Z corporate trend taking over TikTok. 

“Essentially [rage quitting is when] you have individuals working at companies, they get frustrated and use some of that anger and rage to go on a mass [job application spree],” said Trndsttr founder Jake Bjorseth. “New roles, new jobs, you name it. 

“I think it’s a derivative of this generation that sometimes wants to prove that, ‘Hey, I don’t really need this job. There are other job opportunities for me.’”

The term “rage applying” may be new, but the concept has been around for quite some time.  

You work at a job that you loathe. You want to leave as soon as possible to pursue a better opportunity, a higher salary, an improved work-life balance, etc. So, you apply to as many jobs as you can to make your exit pronto. 

Rage applying has resonated the most with Gen Z, and some people have hit TikTok to share their success doing it. 

TikTok user @redweez told followers in a video in December 2022, “I got mad at work and rage applied to like 15 jobs. Then I got a job that gave me a $25,000 raise and it’s a great place to work. So keep rage applying. It’ll happen.” One TikTokker replied, “Me toooo! 35K and got it in six weeks. Keep going!” The video has over 360,000 likes to date. 

An exasperated worker throws their hands up at their office desk.

Gen Z Is the Drive of Rage Applying 

Why is rage applying resonating with Gen Z? The short answer is the pandemic’s effects on how they (and we all) look at work.

“The pandemic was a pivotal and really dramatic recalibration of society, writ large,” said JUV Consulting CEO Ziad Ahmed. JUV Consulting works with brands to help them reach young people in an effective way. “[It] was a profound moment of reflection. I think many people [and Gen Zers] were on a metaphorical hamster wheel. And we have been taught since we were young that there was a way to live a life and you did X, Y, and Z, and that’s how life was meant to be. 

“During the pandemic, we got to see well that if the circumstances change, an entirely different world is possible. I think many people began to question, ‘Could I live my life entirely differently than the way that I’ve been living? Am I happy with the way that I’ve been living it?’ I think for a lot of people the answer was no.”

As a result, a lot of Gen Zers came out of the pandemic with totally different lifestyles, career trajectories, even new friend groups, Ahmed said, adding that rage applying is a manifestation of that. 

“It’s this idea that we can change, and we get to, and we shouldn’t have to accept the way that things are,” Ahmed said. “Also, as a lot of companies are engaging in layoffs. Given the economic condition and really poor decision-making practices in a lot of cases, a lot of folks are reckoning with this reality that oftentimes companies ask a great deal of employees only to not treat [them] the way they deserve to be treated.

“And so I think a lot of folks are reckoning with that. For a lot of Gen Zers, we’ve grown up in a world where almost every major institution has let us down, whether that’s government or financial institutions, brands or the economy. And so I think there is this general feeling that if we can’t really trust anyone or anything, we might as well shoot our shot to get the best that we can get.”

The career side of TikTok is also providing GenZers information they otherwise might not see, Ahmed said. People are taking their followers on a journey, showing them how they got to where they are in their careers, and sharing information they hope will be useful, like rage applying. 

A young worker looks at their laptop during a job search.

Can Rage Applying Be Beneficial? 

Rage applying can work in your favor if you try it and land a job you want. But, it may be better to take a moment to calm down before applying nonstop. 

“I don’t think doing anything out of rage or intensity is ever the right way to do things, and that’s speaking from someone who loves to use rage and anger as an entrepreneur to work harder,” Bjorseth said. “But I always encourage young people that you should be applying to as many opportunities as you can and for even jobs that you don’t think you’re going to get. 

“The worst thing that you can get is no, but you’re not going to get yes if you don’t potentially go ask for it. If you’re in a job that you don’t absolutely love, you should always be spending extra time going applying for and looking for new roles.”

Companies can’t always tell if you are rage applying though, Ahmed said, so your resume can hit the right company at the right time and land you an interview. 

“If someone were to rage apply to [my company] JUV consulting, it’d probably look like the other applications,” Ahmed said. “I might find my best applicant that way because somebody who is motivated to get out of the current situation that they are in to look for better is probably a decent applicant. 

“Somebody who is really looking for something new and different and willing to just find and stumble upon something new and exciting is probably someone worth talking to. There is a benefit to optimizing your chances towards getting the thing that you want, and I always think the intersection of that strategy and effort can get you quite far.” 

Rage applying might work for some people, and others might do better targeting a few companies. You have to determine what you feel comfortable with and what works best for you, Ahmed said. 

“We’re all on our own journey to craft a life that works for us and our communities,” Ahmed said. “If that looks like rage applying, go off, live your best life. And if that looks like staying at your current job, awesome. And if that looks like being really coordinated in your strategic outreach to a few different places, [do it]. I don’t think that there is one right way.”

A worker puts together resumes and talks on the phone.

What You Can Do Instead of Rage Applying

You can revamp your job search strategy instead of rage applying.

Educational leadership and development expert Marchem Pfeiffer said it’s important to consider whether rage applying is worth the return on investment. Strategize to find a new opportunity if you are unhappy with your current role. 

“I’m pretty sure we’ve all been in a specific environment where we’re like, ‘This place is terrible. I don’t want to be here. I am not valued in any way,’” Pfeiffer said. “But take a step back and start to formulate a plan for how you can make this work for you, either in the current environment you’re in or in a different environment.”

Research the work culture of the companies you are applying to so you don’t end up in the same situation again, Pfeiffer said. He also suggested not rage applying to several positions at one company. It can be indicative to HR of rage applying, and they may not take you seriously. 

Also, network. Reach out to the hiring manager for the companies you want to work for, find out what they need, and how you can solve their issues, Pfiferr said. 

“Nine out of 10, they will at least bring you in for an interview,” Pfeiffer said. “So be strategic, figure out what will work best for your life. Understand that yes, we all need money, we all need a job, but that there are things outside of that. If rage applying coupled with your current toxic environment is hindering your ability to truly live life, then you need to make some kind of big change.”

Top Takeaways

What is Rage Applying? What to Know About TikTok’s Latest Trend

  • Rage applying is applying to as many jobs as possible in a short period to leave a job situation as quickly as possible. 
  • Before you rage apply, take a breath. Apply to companies you want to work for instead of every role in your field. 
  • Avoid rage applying to multiple roles at one company. 
  • Instead of rage applying, strategize. Research work cultures at companies you want to apply to make sure it is a fit.

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