If you scroll through CareerTok, you’ve likely come across the latest workplace trend “rage applying.” It refers to the anger-induced practice of vigorously applying for numerous jobs in a short amount of time. Doesn’t sound that bad, right? Well, one often overlooked aspect of this trend is that the rage appliers often go out for jobs that aren’t necessarily in alignment with their professional goals or current qualifications. This isn’t surprising since the term “rage” itself denotes feelings of frustration and anger which could often lead to erraticism. Unfortunately, this isn’t easy to recognize out the gate, particularly if you find yourself in an undesirable role and are ready to GTFO ASAP.
Adina Sterling who is a scholar at the Academy of Management and an associate professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University says it’s important to try and remove emotion for job applying.
“To help you with the emotional elements of it, go to a career mentor or someone on your board of directors – your sounding board about your career – and ask if they think a move is the right one,” Sterling told ESSENCE. But before taking that step, let’s unpack the concept.
“Rage applying is not necessarily a new phenomenon,” Sterling said. “There are times in people’s careers when they apply to many different jobs simultaneously such as when they are entering the job market after college or graduate school or after they have decided to quit their personal business and return to the traditional labor market. The real difference is the emotion behind it. Usually employees have decided “enough is enough” with a boss, stagnated career opportunities, experiences of exclusion at work or experiences of bias, and they have a strong desire to change course right away.”
Although the concept can have a negative tone attached it, rage applying can actually be advantageous.
“Applying to many jobs at once can be beneficial in some cases,” Sterling said. “Research studies indicate that black people and other racial minorities have to apply to more jobs to find job opportunities – owing in part to bias and discrimination in labor markets.”
She’s right. What’s more, data has even shown that Black applicants have had to “whiten” their resumes to get noticed by hirers.
The Harvard School of Business pointed out that companies are more than twice as likely to call minority applicants for interviews if they submit whitened resumes than candidates who reveal their race. This analysis comes from 2016 study Whitened Resumes: Race and Self-Presentation in the Labor Market (pdf) co-authored by Katherine A. DeCelles, the James M. Collins Visiting Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.
Despite the clear discrimination that riddles hiring practices, Sterling says rage applying isn’t always the perfect solution.
“It is often better to find a new job prior to quitting one because quitting a job before having one in place is a negative sign on a resume,” she says.
“The key to applying to a lot of jobs at once is to take a step back and make sure negative emotions are not hampering the job search. Otherwise, this might lead you to take subpar opportunities out of frustration with one’s current job.”
She also cautions against “rage accepting” as well.
“Accepting a new job prematurely just to get out of a bad situation isn’t aways the answer,” she told ESSENCE. “Seeing what is out there and what your options might be is always informative, but you risk rushing into something that might not be well-suited to you if you rush. If you are looking in a rush, this will likely lead you to miss red flags from a new employer that could surface three or six months later. You might also not take the time to negotiate the strongest employment terms possible.”
If you are already at the point where advising against rage applying is a foregone conclusion, Sterling says there are a few things to keep in mind.
“Do not reveal to your current employer or work team that you are applying to a lot of jobs out of frustration. My general rule is that even if you cannot make a workplace better, at least try not to make it worse by feeding into a low morale environment. If you tell your coworkers that you are applying to a lot of other jobs it is only going to add to a problematic work culture.”