Woman Uses 'Corporate Math' To Explain All The Ways Our Work Lives Make No Sense

From unfair expectations to insulting pay and downright dirty hiring and firing procedures, this CEO's "corporate math" nails it.

tiktoker explaining corporate math and why our work lives make no sense @courageousleadership / TikTok

Even if we love our jobs, there are aspects of working in a corporate environment that are just... well, downright vexing — and it's not just because we for some reason have to use ludicrous phrases like "circle back" and "blue sky thinking." 

Because, especially in today's economy, there are a lot of things about our corporate work environments that simply don't make sense. And one woman on TikTok has used a recent social media trend to coin the perfect term for it.


A CEO and author has coined 'corporate math' to explain all the ways our work lives make no sense.

Robyn Garrett is the CEO of a tech company, a speaker and the author of the book "Happy at Work," which delves into how leaders can create a workplace people actually enjoy coming to. So you might say she knows a thing or two about what not to do when running a workplace.

As you may have seen on social media recently, the "girl math" and "boy math" trends have been everywhere. The former was a fun way to delve into the hilarious ways women often justify spending money in joyful but frivolous ways. But "boy math" got at something quite a bit darker — the myriad ways many men tend to think about everything from relationships to politics to domestic workloads that just... well, don't really add up, if you will.




RELATED: Woman Uses 'Boy Math' To Explain Men & Women's Wildly Different Ideas Of An Equal Workload

Garrett seems to have seen an opportunity in the "boy math" trend to highlight all the ways wrongheaded ways corporate leaders are running companies — and having trouble retaining and recruiting good employees as a result.

Garrett's 'corporate math' explains the illogical, greedy and downright cruel practices that have become standard procedure in today's workplaces.

Right out the gate, Garrett's video will likely have you yelling "EXACTLY" at your phone screen if you've worked in the corporate world — or in some cases, any job at all — in recent years.




"Corporate math is expecting nine people to be able to do the work of twelve," she begins, before moving on to something downright insidious: "It's laying off a bunch of people at just the right time so that your balance sheet looks great." If you've ever wondered why people always get laid off at Christmas, well...

Garrett then moved on to something that has no doubt had all of our teeth on edge at one point or another the past year. "Corporate math is having your workers routinely work more than 40 hours a week but still saying, 'hey, why does nobody want to work anymore?'" Say it louder for the Kardashians in the back, Ms. Garrett.

From nonsensical expenditures like "sending your executive team on a fancy retreat but not being willing to pay for basic supplies," to refusing raises while asking for more work and low-balling applicants on salary offers, Garrett hit on pretty much everything grinding American workers' gears nowadays.


She even covered that most vexing and insulting of office trends — the pizza parties so many employers seem so fond of throwing in lieu of better benefits or adequate pay, a trend so infuriatingly ubiquitous it's become a shared online joke.

RELATED: CEO Sparks Backlash By Saying 'We Need 50% Unemployment' To Tame An 'Arrogant Workforce'


Garrett's 'corporate math' taps into very real trends about worker dissatisfaction and the staffing shortages it's resulting in.

Garrett's take is funny and validating for any frustrated worker, but it's far more than a jokey trend. She's tapped into the laundry list of foibles and downright exploitative practices that have fueled trends like "quiet quitting," "the great resignation" and "acting your wage."

A recent study by FlexJobs found that a staggering 62% — nearly 2/3 of us — either want to quit our jobs or have already said "take this job and shove it," with 42% saying they were contemplating quitting and another 20% saying they already had.

And Garrett's list of ridiculous "corporate math" absurdities accounts for nearly every reason a 2022 Pew Research study found for the massive wave of quitting that began "The Great Resignation" in 2021, from inadequate benefits and toxic culture to unfair pay and feeling disrespected—which, interestingly, all four of which can be summed up in those aforementioned pizza parties. 



RELATED: CEO Lays Off Half The Workforce And Is Surprised When Everyone Else Quits & His Business Fails


Thankfully, some of these trends are finally starting to change — staffing shortages have begun to tick down as wages have increased. And for the first time in what feels like forever, real wages are finally beginning to match inflation — though analysts say it will like take until the end of 2024 to fully get there, and it may not last.

Still, there's a long way to go until things are remotely fair — or even livable — when it comes to the American work world. And as difficult as things have been it's no wonder that seemingly everyone and their brother has gone on strike during what has been nicknamed "Hot Strike Summer" — a trend that has carried over well into the fall.

Here's hoping leadership soon takes out their calculators and starts re-crunching the "corporate math" numbers. Because people have simply had enough.


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.