I may not be the world’s leading expert on the latest TikTok trends, but some of these recent fads are showing an unhealthy view of the workplace to American young people. Unsurprisingly, many are outgrowths of the government’s decision to shut down businesses during COVID-19. The first of these trends is called “Quit Quitting,” where influencers challenge their followers to do as little work as possible at their jobs without getting fired. The second trend is called “Act Your Wage,” which calls for workers to only put in as much work as they feel is justified for what they are paid.
Both of these viral fads put impressionable young people at a disadvantage in our free market system. If someone lives in a communist country where workers are paid the same no matter how hard they work or how much they innovate, then it stands to reason that you might as well work as little as you can get away with. However, our Founders wisely gave us a free market system where those who excel will naturally rise to the top.
Critics would say that I’m painting an idealistic view of capitalism, that big powerful corporations suppress individual achievement. Without a doubt, there are many such companies out there, both big and small. However, the solution is not to relegate yourself to a life of mediocrity and unfulfillment. The solution is to simply not work for one of those toxic companies. The businesses that are thriving the most are the ones that reward the efforts of their employees and let the hardest, smartest workers rise to the top. If every workplace you go to ends up being a toxic workplace, then I’ve got news for you: the workplace isn’t the problem. You are the problem.
Our nation has outpaced every other nation on the planet in innovation because our economic structure caters to human nature. You can try to reject that nature with “quiet quitting” or “acting your wage,” but those are the paths to misery and hopelessness. Embrace the spirit of American work ethic, and watch out for these awful TikTok trends!