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TikTok’s ‘Act Your Wage’ trend is the new and improved version of ‘Quiet Quitting’

act your wage trend

The best thing about TikTok is that it introduced a generation of teenagers to anti-capitalist ways of thinking. And for that, we should all be grateful. Hot off the heels of Quiet Quitting, a movement that had office overlords bursting into bitter diatribe à la Kim Kardashian's Variety interview, Gen Z is back to revolutionise the workplace with another trend: Acting Your Wage.

Sound familiar? We've all heard the phrase "act your age" at some point, whether wielded at us or another. The sentiment is simple: grow up, adjust your behaviour and above all, know your place. Well, Act Your Wage hinges off that idea, with the belief that your duties and workload as an employee should reflect your pay.

This means, for example, if you're on minimum wage your commitment and output will reflect that. Despite what those at the top of the corporate food chain say, it's not about slacking but about setting boundaries. Acting your wage means fulfilling your job description to the best of your ability, but doing so within the eight-hour working day. A person who acts their wage will be polite but firm about working unpaid overtime (including weekends), taking on more than a single person's workload, being on-call while on holiday – a completely reasonable list.

Where Quiet Quitting missed was, as many people pointed out, it was basically just fulfilling your job expectations – no more, no less. Whereas, Act Your Wage rebrands the idea. Rather than positioning the pressure to go above and beyond as the standard, Acting Your Wage insists that the employee-employer relationship is a transaction, and if the business needs a job done, the person needs to be fairly and appropriately remunerated. Which, when you break it down like that, shouldn't sound so groundbreaking.

@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

Acting Your Wage has its critics though. An article from Forbes entitled Acting Your Wage is Detrimental to Long-term Career Success, pointed out that instead of coasting, you should put your energy into finding a job that inspires you. "You’re wasting precious time working a dead-end job that you hate," the feature reads. However, it pays to remember that we're living in a time of intense financial insecurity and millennials and gen-z are experiencing crippling financial anxiety because of it. Between the rising cost of living, student loan debt, housing affordability and inflation towering over our heads, it's no wonder people are hesitant about flitting from job to job.

Ultimately, Acting Your Wage is simply another move to repackage and resell workers rights. Which we'll always get behind. Imagine what will happen when TikTok learns about salary transparency? I can hear the employers shaking in their boots already.

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