Think you should “act your wage” at work? Think again


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you would’ve heard of the infamous “quiet quitting” — the idea that if you dislike your job, instead of leaving and finding a role you’re more suited to, you decide to do only the bare minimum at work as a way to get back at your boss. Sounds silly? Well, now there’s a new trend taking over TikTok called “acting your wage” — which involves people gloating about how they have decided to stop putting in extra effort at

at work to avoid being taken advantage of by their employer.

I’m going to say this upfront, if you don’t like your job, then just leave! Don’t “quiet quit” or “act your wage” — it’s not fair to your employer who has invested in your growth and development, and it’s not great for your career progression long-term to have a reputation for underperforming. The “act your wage” trend is for people who want to go nowhere, fast. As an entrepreneur and business owner multiple times over, I can’t imagine why any employer would want to invest resources in someone who consistently only does the bare minimum.

The reality is, we live in a free market, and people are competing with each other. If you want to get ahead in your career then you’re going to need to stand out and make your mark. This could be taking on extra responsibility, putting your hand up for new projects, working long hours (when required) and showing initiative every day. If you do these things you will be offered promotions and pay rises. If not, you will miss out and watch others advance in their careers much faster than you.

As for the focus on “overworking” — some companies will have a high-performance culture, and how they demonstrate they care is by investing in your training, development, and career progression. If you would rather be in a role that prioritises balance and lifestyle over career development, then that’s fine. However, you need to find a company whose values align with your own. As an employee, you shouldn’t sit in a high-performance small business requesting career development and progression and then complain about the amount of work that comes with it.

I do believe that it’s important for people to be well-rounded, and this includes having a full and rich life outside of work. However, if you’re in your 20s especially, it’s often a time in your life before you have responsibilities like a partner or kids, so it’s a great opportunity to really apply yourself and go all-in on your career. By taking this approach you’ll master valuable skills and progress faster, paying you back tenfold over the years to come.

Instead of the term “work-life balance,” I prefer to use “work-life harmony.” Start by asking yourself what you want out of life, and then build your career and life around that. If you’re someone who does want a hugely successful career, it helps to value the other aspects of life because being a fully developed person will make you more effective at work.

The key for creating “work-life harmony” is to learn to negotiate with your employer, and set reasonable boundaries. “Boundaries” has become a buzz word in recent years and is often seen as a hugely positive thing, however boundaries can actually be quite toxic when they fail to take into consideration the perspective of other people. There’s a difference between asserting boundaries—which are healthy—and making one-sided demands. You need to learn to find a win-win situation for both yourself and your employer.

This brings me to my final point: challenge. Overcoming challenges is how we learn, grow, and ultimately become stronger. If you want to develop your skills in any area of business, you need to seek growth opportunities and stretch goals that will help you become better. By doing the bare minimum and never going above and beyond, you miss out on the benefits of facing and overcoming challenges; an essential skill if you want to rise and thrive long-term, both in business and in life.

There’s no doubt that Gen Z is changing the world for the better. However, when it comes to “acting your wage” or “quiet quitting” let’s give these trends a miss. Imagine if you decided to only put in the minimum effort required for your relationship, or family life? Your personal life would fall apart, so why treat your career any differently? Trust me, acting the wage you want, rather than settling for the one you already have, is the only way to set yourself up for long-term success both in your career and in life.


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