Is Rage Quitting Right?

“I am done with this job.” This is a phrase that many of us might have heard a colleague or fellow worker announce in anger and walk out. Some of us might have silently applauded the move, and others wondered at the stupidity or impetuousness of the move.

To rage quit means you are so angry and frustrated with a situation that you are forced to just quit entirely without waiting for any resolution for the problem.

Rage quitting is generally not a spur of the moment decision but an accumulation of anger and frustration at the state of affairs in the workplace. It is a sign of serious flaws in a workplace: from lax health and safety standards to exploitative working conditions and abusive managers.

Rage quitting started as a gaming term when frustrated players quit a game after repeatedly losing.

Though rage quitting can come across as an impulsive decision, it is dissatisfaction with the work atmosphere that has built up over time and one stray incident can trigger the anger and force one to give up and not fight it anymore. 

It is found that a large number of people who rage quit are already in the process of finding alternatives and have a backup lined up, be it another job, enough money saved to see one through the next few months or an upcoming opportunity ( further studies or such).

There’s a lack of statistics about rage quitting, but Peter Hom, a turnover expert at Arizona State University in the US, says that in the US, there is more at-will employment, hence rage quitting is more common there compared to some European countries where companies penalise employees for leaving without serving the notice period.

Compared to the Western countries, the Asian countries are more tolerant of workplace abuse and bow down to a hierarchical and authoritarian structure. The tolerance levels are higher there. 

In general, says Nita Chhinzer, who researches strategic human resource management at the University of Guelph in Canada, “Higher-educated people are more likely to quit, because they think that their skills are highly transferrable and generalisable”. 

The same is true for lower-skilled jobs where people are not scared to walk out of a job. They move in and out of similar jobs easily. “It is like musical chairs”, says Hom. He refers to people working for export-driven factories in China and Mexico, where people are not too bothered about quitting.

This doesn’t mean that impulsive quitting is right. Chhinzer says that with “rage quitting, they’re not really stopping to make those rational decisions about something and just thinking about what are their options”. Fed-up employees might overestimate their ability to secure another job. 

Reasons for Rage Quitting

One of the most common reasons is poor management. When managers fail to address employees’ repeated concerns, employees feel unheard and unappreciated and leave in frustration. Bad management is often related to harsh schedules, overwork and dismissal of safety concerns. 

Dr Mantosh Kumar, senior consultant, clinical psychology, Sukoon Health, says, that the underlying reasons for quitting are unforeseeable stressors caused by “poor employee satisfaction, poor communication and management, high or unreasonable expectations from management, self-esteem issues, low tolerance, poor coping mechanisms, emotional dysregulation, and diminished mental health.”

Rage quitting might not reflect well on your CV, and an exit from employment can be handled better, but one should realise that quitting that particular job is inevitable. 

If a person is unhappy, stressed out, dissatisfied and has made repeated attempts to engage with the management to improve their working conditions and has been ignored or even been told to handle it on their own, then it is time to move on.

Rage quitting should be a last resort. Try to talk out your frustrations with colleagues and the management. Draw boundaries for yourself, practise mindfulness, patience. Take regular breaks and, if possible, seek professional help to gain the right perspective.

Human Resource professionals and councillors say that an informed decision is better than rushing into something that might prove to be a bad decision or harmful in the long run.

Diana Coker
Diana Coker is a staff writer at The HR Digest, based in New York. She also reports for brands like Technowize. Diana covers HR news, corporate culture, employee benefits, compensation, and leadership. She loves writing HR success stories of individuals who inspire the world. She’s keen on political science and entertains her readers by covering usual workplace tactics.

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