There has been a trend online of folks discussing “quiet quitting.” And like most things on the internet, people are at war about what it means, what it does, and whether it is appropriate. The problem with the argument on this phenomenon is that people are out here arguing a subjective, vague, and misleading idea.
To simply say you are for or against quiet quitting as a blanket statement is completely missing the point, in my opinion. The general concept is, one will do their job duties as described within their agreed upon work hours, no more no less. In essence, I see this as being the concept of working to live and not living to work. It does not mean that the employee will not do their job as needed, well, and with the utmost professionalism. It simply means that they will not do more than required (whatever that required spectrum is). Other people have clarified that this applies to avoiding burnout.
The problem is business owners and supervisors are taking this stance as an attack on work ethic. They believe that going “above and beyond” is a critical part of professionalism and workplace development. Without putting in the extra hours and extra work, how will people develop their skills and show their drive for promotions? This concern is slightly laughable in so much as there will always be people with the drive to go the extra mile and put in the extra effort to move up. If anything, this open admission of “quiet quitting” should be considered an opportunity to understand where your employees are in their career path and professional aspirations. Learn if your employees are suffering burnout, or prefer to be rank and file versus moving up the ladder. It will help supervisors better manage projects by being aware of who can and will handle complex duties while those who can run the assembly line and keep that going. There is room for all kinds of employees in the world, it is just a matter of people working at the place and at the pace that best suits them, their capabilities, and their lifestyle.
My takeaway from this trend is that this is absolutely nothing new and nothing different from what you see of employee types all around the world. Whether you call it “quiet quitting,” or “work-life balance,” ultimately what we are arguing about is differentiating where you stand in one of two categories: do you work to live, or do you live to work? The truth is, neither is a bad lifestyle, it is simply just that, a lifestyle. Some people are career driven and place their identity and focus on their profession. Others are home life driven or hobby driven and use their occupation as a means to live the life they want outside of their job. Both are perfectly meaningful lifestyles.
The part that I believe people struggle to reconcile is when they want a time consuming career whilst not letting the career consuming their time. I see this a lot with college professors who have aspirations for publishing research but also want to have lots of free time to do things they enjoy. The argument being they put in the hard work getting their professional degree so they are somehow owed the freedom of time with the professional advancement. Same with other professionals that dedicated years to higher education. The truth is, from what I have seen, the two are one in the same – dedication to an advanced degree is a preview to dedication to a career that is near the same level of time-consuming as acquiring the degree was. Continuing education, research, and so forth. Early on, you make the choice that you want to live to work. A PhD does not earn you a free ride to a successful career… But I digress. I stand by my believe that a title or a degree does not automatically earn you respect or notoriety.
Quiet quitting, at the end of the day and in my opinion, is an internet trend. Period. It is a buzz term for clickbait that means no more than “working to live” or “work-life balance.” Ultimately, what the takeaway should be is that there is mass burnout. Capitalism has taken its toll and squeezed the lower and middle class masses for all they are worth and we are tired and drained and need a break. Also, there are people who want to work without climbing the corporate ladder or making waves. And that is perfectly fine. Let people be what they want to be, work with their strengths, and adjust accordingly. No need to get hysterical over social media shenanigans.
Just my humble opinion. Now my lunch break is over so back to work.
Until next time friends. Be good, stay safe.