“No, I Can’t Just Get a Job”: Memes That Nail the Job Search Struggle

I adore television shows where the main cast of characters are terrible people.

“Seinfeld,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Arrested Development”—all of these shows feature casts full of unethical narcissists. 

But no show does it better than “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” a show with characters so vile, they make “Seinfeld” look like “Sesame Street.” 

The true beauty of “Always Sunny” is that its characters, despite being absolute scum, often accidentally make poignant observations about issues in the real world. 

Take this scene, from season three, episode seven: 

Despite the fact that in this scene, Charlie (the one freaking out) should get a job and really hasn’t tried very hard to do so, what he’s saying resonates with anyone who’s gone through the job search process. 

Parents give bad job advice that often boils down to, “Just go out and get a job!” As if it was easy! As Charlie says, it’s not like we can just “strap on our job helmets” and “fire off into job land!” 

Charlie’s frustration in this scene clearly resonated with a lot of people, because this clip has become the most popular “get a job meme” on the internet. 

But it’s far from the only one. 

Here are a few more common memes about hunting for a job, with some insights on why they either resonate or reinforce the echo chamber.

 

Kim Kardashian: “Nobody wants to work these days”

In a 2022 interview with Variety, Kim Kardashian gave a quote that instantly became iconic, though for all the wrong reasons: 

I have the best advice for women in business. Get your [$%!#@] a** up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days.

This quote got a lot of backlash from people who pointed out that everyone featured in this video is excessively wealthy and privileged. The Kardashians no doubt rely on a large team of support staff to run their empire. 

It’s unclear who Kim is talking about when she says “nobody wants to work anymore,” but we hear this sentiment a lot these days. The idea that “kids today don’t want to work” is one of the most persuasive—and false—gen z stereotypes out there. 

In fact, before this video went live, there was an earlier meme in 2021, when a number of short-staffed fast-food restaurants posted signs begging for patience, because “no one wants to work anymore.” 

Sonic in Albuquerque with a sign on the door that says they are short staffed because This false notion is so pervasive, and anyone who is struggling to find a job knows how ridiculous it sounds, whether it’s coming from a billionaire influencer, a fast food manager, or our own parents. 

 

“You got a job?” “Baby, I own businesses.”

If your FYP on TikTok is anything like mine, you’ve come across some variation of this meme: 

@mattheperson♬ nicki minaj is the queen of rap – alex

If you want the full context, this audio is from this interview with Tokyo Toni (aka Blac Chyna’s mom) on Mehgan James’ Podcast, “The Hollywood Group Chat.” 

But even without the context, you can see how people latched on to this audio as a way to poke fun at how seriously they took their “jobs” at a younger age.

For the creator above, it was the task of making and dealing custom slime at school. For me, it was a classic lemonade stand, which I used to fund trips to the movies. 

When it comes to entrepreneurial life, though, it really does get a bad rap. Lots of people are discouraged from striking out and starting their own business because it’s often ridiculed or looked down upon. 

This is unfortunately true for many hiring managers, who might see a gap on your resume for entrepreneurial work as a bad thing. 

All that said, there are plenty of articles that push back against the notions that these memes poke fun at. Here are just a few to check out: 

 

Memes about the ridiculousness of job applications in 2024

If you’ve been frustrated by the many hoops you have to jump through just to apply for a job, you’re not alone. 

More than one TikTok user has gone viral pointing out some of the most kafkaesque, infuriating parts of the modern job-hunting process. 

My personal favorite is this one from Luis DeFelice:

@ballet_felice tech dystopia for the win #techhumor #jobsearch #comedy #skit #fyp ♬ original sound – Louis DeFelice

When baby boomers and GenX were younger, they had it easy—they could walk into a business, hand over their printed resume, and interview right on the spot. 

These days, businesses have put in tech “solutions” that only make things more complicated and frustrating for applicants. Job-hunting is already a full-time job, without having to enter your work history in three different platforms! 

And as if that weren’t enough, when you finish the arduous application, the hiring manager ghosts you, even though the job listing is still up and still listed as “urgent”. 🙄

User Ryan James created another popular TikTok about this same phenomenon: 

@ryan.jtc Applying for jobs today #fyp #comdey ♬ original sound – Ryan James

If you’ve noticed, like this creator, that it seems like there are some job listings out there that will never be filled—you’re right. 

A study from Clarify Capital found that half of hiring managers kept job postings open because they were “always open to new people”—not because they were actively hiring for a specific role. 

 

How to answer the most dreaded interview question

I’ve covered some the best ways to answer some of the most common interview questions, and I’ve written about the best questions to ask during an interview to leave a good impression.  

But there’s one common interview question that still stumps me, and many other people: 

Why do you want to work here?

Obviously, employers ask this because they want you to prove that you’ve done your research about the company and that you’re passionate about the role and the opportunity. 

But let’s be honest, unless you’re applying for your absolute dream job, the real reason why you’re applying is because you need a salary to get by. 

And no TV show has summarized this better than the Simpsons, specifically this screenshot: 

Homer Simpson meme:

That’s it—that’s why people apply for jobs. They want to get paid, so they can live, because everything is so expensive right now. 

Of course, I wouldn’t recommend actually saying this to a job interviewer. But I do have some more resources that are designed to make the job application process easier. 

So once you’re done laughing (or crying?) at these memes, check out these articles: