On TikTok and YouTube, here’s why the shutdown of videos is going viral

On TikTok and YouTube, here’s why the shutdown of videos is going viral

On TikTok and YouTube, here's why the shutdown of videos is going viral

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The Bright Side is a series about how optimism works in our minds and affects the world around us.


Samantha Rae Garcia held her restaurant job in Midland, Texas for four years before deciding last year that she could no longer tolerate criticism from her boss. Ms. Garcia, a psychology student at the University of Texas Permian Basin, consulted with her parents. She recorded her decision moments before quitting. Then she made a TikTok video about it.

In the video, which was recorded spontaneously, Ms Garcia, then 26, bats her eyelashes, smiles and gives a satirical thumbs-up. Her boss, off camera, says she’s tired of petting Ms Garcia. Text on the video reads: “My boss didn’t know I was here while she was talking about me.”

Ms Garcia, using a word that cannot be printed, whispers a response, calling her boss a “bad manager”.

Since she posted the video in February 2022, it has been viewed 3.7 million times.

Users responded to Ms Garcia’s reaction: in addition to opinions, thousands of supportive comments on TikTok were received. One read: ‘I don’t know how you keep your cool but proud of yourself for not leaving.’

“I felt validated,” Ms. Garcia said in a recent interview.

As her mother feared the video would harm future opportunities, Ms Garcia, after dropping off resumes at various restaurants, landed another job the next day. (The person who hired her was unaware of the video. When she told her new boss about it, Ms Garcia said, “They laughed about it and said, ‘Oh my God, we don’t won’t treat you like that.’”)

TikTok is full of advice on what to do after quitting a job. Ms Garcia is part of a different trend, predating TikTok, in which young people post mini-dramas that attract millions of viewers. And in some cases, these very public videos can translate into new career opportunities, helping those who post them develop their personalities online.

Quitting the videos or QuitToks, as they are sometimes called, reflects “a breach of the social contract that if you work hard and play by the rules, the American dream is still there for you,” said Ann Swidler, a sociology professor at the ‘University. from California to Berkeley whose courses include the sociology of culture. Corporate loyalty isn’t what it used to be, Dr. Swidler said. There is “a cultural disillusionment with the promises that roll behind the world of work”.

Service workers in low-wage jobs publicly proclaim that the implicit trade-off of working for money is no longer a fair deal. And with 1.9 job openings for every job seeker, they can afford to take the risk of being publicized.

The common theme of the videos is “frustrated expectations,” said Joseph Fuller, professor of management practices at Harvard University Business School. “Nobody takes a job thinking, ‘This is going to be terrible; I can’t believe I have to do this. “, did he declare.

“Generally people don’t quit their jobs,” he added, “they quit their boss.”

Before the videos were released on TikTok, users were sharing similar stories on YouTube and Facebook.

In 2011, Joey La Neve DeFrancesco, then 23, posted a YouTube video of him quitting his hotel job with the support of his marching band. In a recent interview, he said he’s been frustrated with long hours, low pay, split tips and opposition to unionization. “I wanted to send a final message to management and do something that was going to be funny for co-workers and maybe inspire some union-busting managers,” he said.

In the video, a smiling Mr. DeFrancesco and his band members confront one of his managers who, upon seeing the musicians, tries to get everyone out. “I’m here to tell you I quit!” Mr. DeFrancesco responds. He tries to deliver his resignation letter to the manager, but it floats to the floor. Then he raises his arms triumphantly and the marching band launches a festive marching tune. The video has been viewed 8.5 million times.

The three-minute video earned him appearances on “Good Morning America,” “Access Hollywood,” and “Anderson Cooper 360.” It “changed my life,” he said, though it didn’t change his values: Mr. DeFrancesco works primarily as a labor organizer.

Many recent videos about abandonment seem like a spur of the moment. Like Mr. DeFrancesco’s video, Marina Shifrin’s was planned. In September 2013, she was 25 and working in Taiwan, writing, as she called them, “celebrity fluff bits”. After experiencing “constant harassment from my boss,” she said, “I was unraveling.”

And she felt trapped in a system that abused young women, she said. “I felt like I had no resources to get myself out of this situation, so I turned to the internet because that’s where I spent most of my time.”

Ms. Shifrin took a methodical approach. “I’m probably the only person who posted a viral video that wrote a pros and cons list,” she said. His downsides included “no more health insurance” and “will never be hired in the corporate world.” Ms. Shifrin decided that the pros outweighed the cons.

In the video, titled “An Interpretive Dance for My Boss Set to Kanye West’s ‘Gone’”, Ms Shifrin writes that she is at work at 4.30am. She is the only person in a room full of cubicles. Dressed in a green blazer and her employee badge, she performs the title interpretive dance, in a bathroom, in a recording studio, on a desk and in the aisles, while superimposed text lists his reasons for leaving. As she emerges from a cabin, the text reads: “I STOP!” When she leaves the office, she turns off the lights. The text reads: ‘I’m gone’.

The job she was leaving was to get as many views as possible; her response video was successful, she said, because she focused “on content instead of caring about views.” That her video went viral, she said, was “sweet justice.”

In less than 24 hours, as Ms Shifrin flew from Taiwan to Los Angeles for an appearance on “The Queen Latifah Show”, she said, she gained around 2.6 million additional views. Hollywood agents came to call. Ms. Latifah offered him a job on the air. For seven years she worked in television and published a book called “30 Before 30: How I Made a Mess of My 20s, and You Can Too”.

Ms Shifrin’s video has been viewed nearly 20 million times. After posting the video, the song “Gone”, which had been released eight years earlier, hit the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at age 18.

Ms. Shifrin understands why people are drawn to Quit videos. “One of the most relevant experiences is feeling mistreated in a work environment,” she said. Once posted, the videos “balance the power a bit.”

Mr. DeFrancesco and Ms. Shifrin’s videos were a kind of performance art. Today’s videos are less about presentation and more about specific complaints. Many have minimum wage workers, often young women.

In February 2020, Maria Kukulak recorded her decision to quit her job at Wendy’s because she said her new managers were “really mean”. Ms Kukulak says she will quit after finishing her shift: “I will sweep and then jump out the window. In the middle of the TikTok video, she learns that a manager called her a “lost cause.” She jumps out the window as promised. “I’m not a lost cause and I quit,” she told her boss. “Bye.”

His video has been viewed over 15 million times. Ms Kukulak now works as a personal trainer and does not make a living from TikTok, but would love to. “I love taking videos of myself,” she said in a recent interview. With 227,000 followers, she dreams of becoming a full-time content creator. “I feel like I have talent,” she said.

Like Ms. Kukulak’s TikTok, the most popular videos tend to be dramatic and short; viewers come for the emotional punch, not the details.

On February 5, 2020, a McDonald’s manager named Nelly (she does not reveal her last name in the video or on her account) asked a colleague to film her happily pressing the lever on the soft ice cream dispenser. “Let’s see how far we can get this cone!” Free cone challenge!” she announces. Then she hands the cone out the window to a delighted driver, declaring, “I’m going to stop!” Free cones! Free cones!

His video has been viewed 6.5 million times.

Nelly then posted a thoughtful 18-minute video on YouTube in which she says she doesn’t approve of companies that take advantage of their workers. At the time of publication of this article, its detailed explanation has a view count of 66.


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