On TikTok, younger generations make fun of the world of work with memes and ironic videos. From surprise layoffs to workaholic colleagues, everything is there to make office life a new source of humor.
American Internet users have been having fun for some time now making fun of the behind the scenes of the world of work. Welcome to the era of WorkTok. Whether to make fun of overwork, the hard return from the weekend, shortened lunch breaks, or even the tyranny of managers… As you will have understood, WorkTok promises unfiltered content. And it’s a concept that is very successful on the Chinese social network, since the hashtag #worktok already has more than 2 billion views.
GenZ doesn’t care about the world of work
Among the key figures of WorkTok: DeAndre Brown. Defining himself as the “corporate baddie” of WorkTok, this TikToker followed by more than 700,000 subscribers regularly makes satirical videos on Generation Z’s relationship with work. In one video, the young man suddenly leaves his Zoom conference, and uncorks a bottle of wine at 5 p.m. sharp. “When it’s 5 p.m., consider me dead!” can we read in his caption. In another, the influencer puts himself in the shoes of an impassive manager who fires his employee in a matter of seconds. In the comments, the situation seems quite familiar: “It’s disturbingly realistic. They suddenly become polite robots”comments a user.
In the same vein, Laura Whaley, another American influencer who has 3 million subscribers on her TikTok page, embodies a myriad of different personalities that one can encounter in the job market. Using her many hats and wigs, the 28-year-old American parodies the person who disrupts her colleagues’ calendars, the one who works in her free time, or even the very empathetic manager. “I wish I had this type of manager.”writes a user in the comments of the latest video.
Humor in the face of professional suffering and stress
While these videos are intended to make people laugh, they also open up an uninhibited discussion about negative and/or positive experiences at work. Through humor, Internet users have the opportunity to address the tyranny of superiors as well as the way in which work can impact daily life.
For Jennifer Aaker, professor of business at Stanford and co-author of “Humor, Seriously,” requested by the New York Times, comedies about the world of work reinforce the “sense of camaraderie.” His colleague and co-author, Naomi Bagdonas, adds that humor in the workplace, including on social media, can help people cope with the “exceptionally unfunny times” we live in. She states: “When many people are suffering from stress and burnout, humor can be particularly effective in boosting morale and productivity.“.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many Internet users have taken to the Chinese social network TikTok to mock the implementation of distancing at work. The ubiquity of Zoom meetings has given rise to a plethora of parody content. But beyond humor, WorkTok could become a way to shake up work codes.
Beth Bearder, legal director at law firm Halborns, speaking to HR magazine said: “We’ve found that employees are turning to social media more often to share their experiences at work because they know what they say or do will have a huge reach“.