The next generation of workers are changing work culture, with a focus on employees expressing themselves fully.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 28, 2022.
A video showing innovative and informal sign-offs on the emails of young workers is gaining the attention of people on the internet. NinetyEight, a marketing and brand growth operation company run by members of Generation Z, is showing how the younger generation is shaking up their work culture. “F–k you, I’m out,” read a sign-off from an employee on their email sign-off and people are loving it. Through time, work culture has been gradually changing, but a fair few members of the older generations viewed (and still view) order, structure, hierarchy, dress code and maintaining the status quo as more important than work itself. As younger generations entered the workspace, the rules of the game changed. Workspaces became more informal and welcoming.
Anyone who has typed out emails to upper management or even established brands and companies knows how much we fret over small details such as email sign-offs. We often spend more time structuring the email and using 'proper' language than actually conveying the intended message. Some of the unoriginal sign-offs include "Warm regards," "yours sincerely" and so on. Not to mention no one likes to read emails so it was really creative of the employees of NinetyEight to keep things light. Some of the sign-offs included, "hehe bye," "that's all," “f–k you, I’m out” and "that's about it.. mmm.. yeah." One person went with the Matthew McConaughey classic — "Alright, alright, alright." The email sign-offs struck a chord, garnering more than 6.8 million views and 1.4 million likes.
The video was posted from the company TikTok and appeared to show Truman Rae followed by screenshots of the amusing email sign-offs. In most workplaces, such informal language or conduct could result in a manager having a word with you and possibly giving you a lecture on the impropriety and in some cases even a meeting with HR. The caption of the video reads: "Bryant is a menace on gmail fr." Bryant Lin is the one who dropped the f-bomb to sign off.
Users on TikTok loved the vibe of the company and shared some of their own favorites as well. “I once got an email with ‘warmest vibes’ as a send-off and I’m stealing it for my own use,” wrote one person. Another added, “As an elder millennial who spent the last 20 years working under boomers: yessss! Thank you!!!! Welcommeeeeeeeeee, we’ve been waiting for you.” One user commented, "As a millennial, I don't see why we have to be so formal. I love this Gen Z vibe."
NinetyEight was born during the pandemic describing themselves as an "agency of pitch hitters, clutch shooters, and Gen-Zs who dare to dream." The main idea behind the agency is to formulate marketing strategies aimed at Gen-Z. "In a way, nothing about us is small. Our ambition, determination and the number of ideas are all limitless," they write on their website. "We’re small in size, age, bureaucracy, and BS. Don’t get it wrong: we love our small size. As a team of hybrids, we are a complete agency, and we don’t need to be any bigger. So maybe quantity doesn’t equal quality."
“In recent years, brands have started to tack themselves onto social causes, and the audacity to exploit and co-opt honest messages for their own profit has left our generation disgusted and exhausted,” writes Lin in a blogpost. “Truth is, most brands only pretend to care about any social cause because that is where people’s attention lies.” Lin adds that brands have co-opted messages of social justice to further their own presence. "Intentionally or unintentionally, brands steal attention from the activists actually doing work," adds Lin.