Rage Applying: An Act of Revenge Against A Problem Employer

 You’ve had the worst day—worst week—worst month—at work. You’re overloaded, micro-managed by a boss you can’t stand and underpaid.

man in blue crew neck shirt wearing black framed eyeglasses
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

          You’ve learned from TikTok posts that rage applying is the ultimate act of revenge against an employer that “done you wrong.” You decide that’s your answer—you want the fix, the high that rage applying might give you. You take control, using LinkedIn’s “easy apply” and Indeed’s “quick apply” to send your resume with only a few clicks to forty-five jobs in less than an hour.

You sit back and wait, expecting a dozen “come interview with us” offers. All you need is one. Ten months ago, during the great resignation era, when employers pulled in all viable job candidates to fill vacancies and you last job-hunted, you received multiple offers. Now, none.

            Rage applying, or spraying resumes to every reasonable job opening, once worked for ticked-off employees. In July 2023, the quick-click catharsis strategy more often fails. Employers easily spot the generic cover letters rapid-fire job applicants use. If not, when interviewers ask, “What led you to apply for our company?”, rage appliers find themselves unprepared to give specific, job-landing answers, instead stuttering, “I wanted a change.”

            Worse, employees that exit a problem employer often find themselves in a worse situation, with a toxic employer who hires them because that employer can’t keep employees. Further, when employees leave jobs without having developed the skills to deal with what frustrates them, they often find the exact same situation in their next job.

            Luckily, if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, you have better options than applying for every posted job. Here’s how.

Prepare and select.

            Assess what you want to change in your job, so you can answer the “why are you moving on?” question with positive specifics. With your criteria in mind, research potential employers and apply for a select few jobs, so you won’t hop from a problematic job into one with greater downsides.

            Develop several versions of your resume and cover letter so you can provide prospective employers with material tailored to their position with a few last-minute tweaks. Because the best positions often aren’t posted, connect with those in your network and let them know what type of job you seek.

Fix what’s not working.

            Workplace problems often stem from lack of communication, and most managers want to retain their current employees. Give your employer a chance to retain you by explaining what would keep you satisfied and productive.

            Prepare yourself for a successful discussion by outlining ahead of time what you want to say and the outcome you hope to achieve. If you can, look at the situation from your manager’s perspective.

            If you’re vibrating with anger or frustration, calm your emotional storm before starting the discussion so your grievances don’t burst forward like a flood of hot words through a dam. The best manager/employee discussions rest on a shared purpose, so speak to how making changes will benefit your manager and department as well as yourself. You’ll find specifics on how to accomplish this in chapter 15 of Navigating Conflict, https://amzn.to/3rCKoWj.

Avoid the temptation to attack your manager with blaming, judgmental statements. Remember, you’re not holding court — you’re engaging your manager in an open dialogue. Even subtle judgment can hook the other person’s defensiveness and launch you into battle. Respect is like air—when present, we don’t think about it. When it’s missing, we notice.

             Are things not working well in your current job? While rage applying has gone viral on TikTok, a wise person once said, “before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves, one for yourself.” Instead of mass applying to dozens of jobs you may not want, consider using the leverage you have with your current employer to make your current work situation more satisfying.  

(c) 2023 Lynne Curry

If you found this post useful, you’ll find additional helpful strategies in Navigating Conflict’s chapter 15, “The most effective way to start a conflict discussion” and chapter 12, “Bringing issues up so they can be resolved,” https://amzn.to/3rCKoWj.

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2 thoughts on “Rage Applying: An Act of Revenge Against A Problem Employer

  1. It seems so satisfying to let it all hang out and to feel justified and given permission, even, to do it when you find yourself in a job that no longer is what you want or with a boss who is a total jerk and you can’t take it any more. That’s a fantasy!
    In real life, as is pointed out in this post from Lynne Curry, rage-applying may land you no responses to putting your resume out on LinkedIn, or it may land you an interview with an equally or more dysfunctional employer than your current one–an employer with a turnover problem and potentially with ethics and harassment problems, too.
    Lynne has some remedies, but you will be the one “owning” them, taking accountability, and working to bring about better communication and change in your current workplace. Probably this one is a challenge even to HR, which may not really have the resources to get involved, but which may well understand and empathize with your frustration–just sayin’.

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