What Is “Quiet Quitting”?

The term “quiet quitting” has become one of the new buzzwords coming out of corporate America lately. What is “quiet quitting?”

According to LinkedIn News, “quiet quitting” is doing the job your employer hired you for, nothing more. No extra projects, hours past working hours, no interruption of family life. In short, no going above and beyond for an employer. In other words, taking care of one’s mental and emotional health by setting clear boundaries with one’s employer.

Anyone who has worked in America knows exactly how much the average corporate executive cares about the front-line employees. The short answer is “not much, if at all.” In their minds, the worker-bees are expendable. After all, there is no shortage of people desperately needing a paycheck, and any payment will do.

Following the isolation of the worst pandemic, many office workers (and managers) discovered that business did not grind to a halt just because they performed their tasks from home. In fact, many workers found something that I learned more than a decade ago—working from a home office could be more productive for some people and help with that work-life balance that managers frequently give lip service but don’t really believe should exist. Needless to say, managers don’t much like the idea of workers not being under their direct “supervision” (read micromanagement).

At the height of my career, I worked anywhere from eight to twelve hours a day. I took work home after a full day in the office. In the evenings, I mentored young writers in the Bangalore, India, office. For several years, meetings were scheduled at any time of the day or night. Though we did try to be mindful of sleep schedules, sometimes those “wee morning hours” were unavoidable. The following day, we were allowed to show up at the office a couple of hours later. 🙄 It’s no wonder I’d reached burnout long before I was retired.

“Quiet quitting” is not a new phenomenon. It’s been happening in many sectors for a long time. Think about the gal (or guy) who clocks in, does only what’s in their job description, then clocks out at the end of her (or his) shift. The overachievers usually think they are a “slacker” when they do what they were hired to do, nothing more.

That should be fine, but in the eyes of many managers, it isn’t. Employees should be taking on as much extra work as possible, regardless of whether it’s in the job description. The problem is that employers don’t want to pay for that extra work, which is wrong.

Before I toddled off to formally become a Technical Writer, I worked for a small manufacturing company that made industrial test equipment. The client company would send a list of their requirements, and the engineering team would work with them to design the needed unit. The technician then received a couple of boxes of parts, a refrigerator-sized frame, and a set of hand-drawn schematics from which we would build the unit. Each unit took about two months to fully assemble and test before it was shipped, along with a service technician, for installation and verification at the factory.

This company refused overtime; they clocked you out if you were still working at quitting time. So when they asked me to put my unit notes, schematics, and unit operating instructions on the computer, I was thrilled. I thought I would get a break from building units and work on documentation for the company, but no. They told me to take the material home and work on it on my off-time (but keep track of my hours worked), and they would pay me straight time for the extra effort. I politely declined their offer and found myself suddenly “not being a good fit for the company.” Imagine that. I entered university the following month.

Corporations care about keeping their stockholders happy, not their employees, and the employees are doing something about it. The worker-bees prioritize their wellbeing and do not allow themselves to be consumed by their workplaces.

SOURCES:

Who Is Quiet Quitting For?
“Quiet quitting”: A revolution in how we work or the end of working hard?
What is ‘quiet quitting’?
Quiet quitting
Quiet quitting: why doing the bare minimum at work has gone global
‘Quiet quitting’ is the latest workplace trend, but what is it? And who is doing it?

2 thoughts on “What Is “Quiet Quitting”?

  1. So true – I think people are just fed up with being exploited and don’t want to do it any more. I learned my lesson the hard way, and found that it doesn’t pay to kill yourself for empty promises.

    Like

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