Photo by Christina Morillo
For many years, workers have taken pride in their dedication to work, often at the expense of mental and physical well-being. Words like “hustle” and phrases such as “rise and grind” have slipped into our collective career lexicon. These ideas about work lead to guilt over simply taking a vacation or leaving work on time. However, the pandemic has given us time to reflect on our values. Not just values of a professional nature, but personal priorities. The work-till-you-drop culture of the past few decades seems less appealing. “Quiet Quitting” is the solution for those wishing to earn a living but not give their lives to an employer.
What is Quiet Quitting?
As a backlash to the hustle culture, workers are now quietly quitting. Despite the name, this doesn’t mean employees are leaving their jobs completely. Instead, they are stepping back and re-evaluating what’s important. People want to work to live, not live to work. Work is simply a transactional relationship and nothing more. According to CNN, “quiet quitting means doing the bare minimum at work. You do what you’re asked, and you do it competently, nothing more.”
Although the concept of quiet quitting isn’t new, the pandemic has given it more power. After working from home, many employees realized that they enjoyed the flexibility. Along with more flexibility came extra time that would otherwise be spent commuting or stuck in endless meetings. Now, it’s about getting the essential work done and shutting off work mode. The pandemic also brought with it the “Great Resignation”, with workers no longer willing to put up with low-paying and high stress jobs. For the first time in a long time, many professionals feel confident that better opportunities exist should they wish to resign.
The Great Recession Generation
Quiet quitting is a welcome relief for the generation that entered the job market during the great recession. For over a decade, employers had the upper hand. Although the recession affected workers of all ages, those entering the job market were particularly impacted. Having to work at least twice as hard to land or keep a job, competing for fewer jobs, and facing constant rejection had a ripple effect that is still felt. This generation also started at a lower salary, setting them up to earn less over the course of their entire careers. Therefore, it’s no surprise that this same group is taking the opportunity to turn the tables on employers.
Employers worried about quiet quitting should re-evaluate their company cultures. Want to boost productivity and ensure good workers don’t leave? Create an environment where employees feel appreciated and are given flexibility. Offer fair compensation and set reasonable expectations. Companies that adapt to changing mindsets and trends will come out on top.