man at desk wearing headset (l & c) with caption 'you were the top rated employee in 2020' man in chair with caption 'what happened next tell us please' (r)


‘You’ve created an environment where there’s no incentive for me to work hard’: TikToker tells boss he’s putting in ‘below-average’ effort to match his pay, sparking debate (updated)

'Employers always have an excuse for below-average wages, but accept no excuses for below-average work.'


Brooke Sjoberg


Posted on Feb 10, 2022   Updated on Feb 24, 2022, 6:44 am CST

A TikToker reenacted an interaction he had with his boss a few weeks before leaving the job, sparking a discussion about compensation and job performance.

TikToker @krisdrinkslemonade said he had a friend who was skilled in voice acting to help him reenact the conversation and play the part of his boss. “I have 9 weeks left at this job so,” he captioned the clip. (He later revealed he was getting laid off.)

“Mainly, I want us discuss the difference in your performance between last year and 2020,” the “boss” tells the TikToker. “You were the top-rated employee in 2020, but it doesn’t feel like you’ve been nearly as present. What’s changed?”

The TikToker then tells his “boss” that when his performance in 2020 was not rewarded, he saw no reason to continue bringing that level of performance to work.

“2020 was the second year in a row I didn’t get a raise, even though I was the top employee,” @krisdrinkslemonade says. “When I asked why couldn’t get a raise, you said it was because my position—no, ‘My pay was a fair market value for my position.’ And when I asked where my pay falls on the pay scale, you said ‘below the median,’ so below the average of what I could make in my position. So, at that point, I just decided I’m going to become a fair market value employee and put in a below-average amount of effort because that’s what I feel like you pay me to do. You’ve created an environment where there’s no incentive for me to work hard. So I don’t.”

His video garnered much interest from viewers, racking up 10.4 million views and thousands of comments. In a follow-up video, he explains he reenacted the conversation for TikTok but that it occurred in real life, during his annual review.

“The long silence was met with a drawn-out sigh, and my boss went through the five stages of grief, landing on acceptance and finally went, ‘Can you please just do your job for the rest of the time that we’re here,’ because we’re only here for another nine weeks since we’re both getting laid off,” he recalls.

Commenters praised @krisdrinkslemonade for advocating for himself at work. Others shared similar experiences or criticisms of the modern labor market.

“I told an employer once that I am merely performing at the level of the value they placed on me,” one said.

“Funny how employers always have an excuse for below average wages, but accept no excuses for below average work,” another wrote.

“I feel like I have a similar conversation coming up,” another commenter wrote. “One year ago I asked for more challenges and a raise. Got a lot more responsibilities, no raise in sight.”

“Yep, that’s my attitude from now on,” one commenter wrote of their own experience. “I’m never settling for anything less than what I’m worth ever again. They don’t like it? Oh well. Not my problem.”

The TikTioker revealed in a comment that he works “in adjustments for a bank services company.”

“I’m craving something more creative,” he added. “I do voice-over work on the side now.”

Update 6:37am CT Feb. 24: When reached for comment, @krisdrinkslemonade told the Daily Dot he knew some people would resonate with his video, but he never expected it to go as viral as it did.

“I’m so glad that so many people heard it, and agreed with it. I feel more vindicated in what I said. It seemed to help a lot of people want to have this in conversations with their bosses. So hopefully, if I’m not getting the raise, hopefully somebody does out of this,” he said.

He said the conversation was one he “had in my head so many times.”

“I had wanted to say this for maybe five, six months. I said it to the mirror a lot of times, so I guess it wasn’t necessarily planning it, maybe it was,” he added.

As for what’s next, @krisdrinkslemonade said some recruiters and employers who saw the video have reached out to him.

“[They said] they would like to see my resume or help me find work. So I don’t feel too concerned about not finding a job. I found a lot of support in strangers from this video,” he said.

Today’s top stories

‘Fill her up’: Bartender gives woman a glass of water when the man she’s with orders tequila shot
‘I don’t think my store has even sold one’: Whataburger employees take picture with first customer who bought a burger box
‘It was a template used by anyone in the company’: Travel agent’s ‘condescending’ out-of-office email reply sparks debate
Sign up to receive the Daily Dot’s Internet Insider newsletter for urgent news from the frontline of online.
Share this article
*First Published: Feb 10, 2022, 7:53 am CST