Woman sitting at a window away from her desk
Unsplash | Johnny Cohen

TikToker Encourages Young Workers To 'Act Your Wage'

It's an increasingly difficult job market for young workers to break into, leading to the now-viral trend of "quiet quitting".

We can add another mantra to the playbook of young employees who are overworked and underpaid: act your wage. The concept comes to us from a content creator who's urging people to insist on having a life outside of their jobs.

Quiet quitting is all the rage these days.

The buzzword was sparked by a TikTok video, but the concept is nothing new. It's essentially work to rule: doing what's laid down in the job requirements, doing it well, but not going above and beyond.

TikToker Sarai Soto wants workers to act their wage.

A play on the saying "act your age," the idea came from TikToker Sarai Soto, who you can find @saraisthreads.

Soto introduces the idea with a series of seemingly playful videos that encourage workers to stand up for themselves.

What does it mean?

TikTok stills from user urging employees to 'act their wage'
TikTok | @saraisthreads

It's mostly self-explanatory, but Sarai introduces the concept in a fun way. In this video, she introduces two fictitious people: a boss named Susan and an employee named Veronica. Susan asks Veronica to do some work at home, and Veronica responds, "Respectfully, Susan, I'd rather spend time with my family."

It's a primer on how to politely decline extra work.

TikTok stills from user urging employees to 'act their wage'
TikTok | @saraisthreads

Later in the same video, Veronica receives an invite for a Zoom call at 6:30 pm. Because she's acting her wage and also presumably quiet quitting, she respectfully declines the call as it's outside of her working hours.

It serves as an inspiration for other workers.

Comments on a TikTok video urging employees to 'act their wage'
TikTok | @saraisthreads

Most people are in the "work to live" camp, meaning they'd rather not have to hold down a job, but need a source of income. Sarai's videos aren't going to free anyone from the drudgery of working life, but they do give an example of how to set boundaries.

Many of us are conditioned into normalizing hustle culture.

Comments on a TikTok video urging employees to 'act their wage'
TikTok | @saraisthreads

We're told, over and over, that we need to work hard and good things will happen. But hard work alone isn't always going to get us to where we want to be. It's important to recognize where work ends and living begins.

People are feeling seen.

Comments on a TikTok video urging employees to 'act their wage'
TikTok | @saraisthreads

"People just really feel seen, they feel heard, they feel like someone's standing up for them" Sarai told Business Insider. "I can't tell you how many messages I receive of people being like, okay, I know your content is funny and provides this comedic relief, but I'm telling you, although it's exaggerated, I've been through those exact same scenarios."

Is it worth it to go the extra mile?

People working on laptops around a conference table
Unsplash | Marvin Meyer

Soto explained her philosophy: "If you're acting your wage, that means that the amount of labor that you're putting in reflects the amount that you're getting paid. So you're not going to go above and beyond and do the job of two to three people and do all this extra work if you're really not even making a livable wage."

Do you agree?

Make sure to check out some of Sarai's videos. They're fun to watch and also convey an important message. Then let us know what you think in the comments. Should workers always work to rule and act their wage, or are there situations where it's beneficial to go the extra mile?