TikTok #ActYourWage video plays on ‘quiet quitting’ Gen Z trend to get more for doing less

A Florida TikTok content creator named Sarai Marie has produced a viral video in which she satirizes the latest workplace trend of so-called “quiet-quitting.”

In the video, which has garnered more than 12 million views, Marie plays two roles: an insufferable employee named Veronica and her conventional boss, Susan.

“Hey Veronica, I’m going to have you take this home and work on it tonight,” Susan says, handing Veronica a stack of papers.

“Respectfully Susan, I’d rather spend time with my family,” Veronica replies, slurping on a massive iced coffee.

Next, Veronica declines to attend a 6:30 pm meeting because it falls outside of her stated nine-to-five work hours. Her boss asks her to be available on vacation, which Veronica summarily dismisses, and when asked to handle a heavy workload she responds she is only one person, not two.

Finally, at 5 o’clock, Veronica shouts, “Alright, thank you, byeeeee.”

@saraisthreads #greenscreen I’d rather spend time with my family. 💅🏽 #actyourwage #fyp #work #working #corporate #corporatelife #corporatetiktok #corporateamerica #corporatehumor #office #officelife #manager #managersbelike #career #quietquitting #quietquittingmyjob ♬ original sound – Sarai Marie

(Video: saraisthreads/TikTok)

Marie’s video is tagged #ActYourWage, a hashtag that has already received 37.6 million views on TikTok. Whatever the ultimate purpose, the video sheds light on the latest maneuver by young people of Generation Z to get more for doing less.

Proponents of the idea believe it to be a long-overdue movement to create healthier work boundaries for employees, but employers and experts in the field warn the tactic will ultimately hurt employees.

“Nobody wants to get the reputation for being somebody who’s not going to go the extra mile when it’s needed,” David Bradshaw, vice president of North Star, a human resources strategies company, told The New York Post. “At the end of the day, if you want to get ahead and [have] an optimal career, you have to put the effort in. There’s no way of getting around that.”

New York-based content creator Jareen Imam doesn’t see it that way. Her TikTok video seeks to explain exactly what “act your wage” means.

In it, the boss character contends that “It’s great visibility” for a junior employee to go above and beyond their rate of pay. The employee character rejects the idea and says, “Visibility doesn’t pay the bills. If you want people to work hard you just have to pay them better.”

@jareenimam Replying to @Engineered Sarcasm what does acting your wage mean? @Jareen Imam #workculturematters #workboundaries #quietquitting #betterjobs #AEJeansSoundOn #healthyworkplace #greenscreen ♬ Blue Blood – Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

(Video: jareenimam/TikTok)

Although it appears to be an offshoot of “quiet quitting,” champions of the movement say “act your wage” is not the same.

“Motivation is the bridge between the two, but they’re still two separate and very different constructs,” Meisha-ann Martin, head of people analytics at Workhuman, told the outlet.

Evidently, “quiet quitters” try to get away with doing the least amount of work as possible, while the “act your wage” brand of employees stick to the letter of their job description and pay rate; no more, no less.

“We’ve all reevaluated our life circumstances in lots of different ways throughout the pandemic,” said Bradshaw.

Martin advised dealing with employee concerns on an individual basis.

“There is this tension between what people versus businesses think they need, [but] it’s a fake dichotomy,” she said. “If people get what they need, organizations will thrive, but we’re still kind of stuck.”

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