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“Quiet Quitting” on the Job is Just Conditioning Yourself to Fail
Lazy is as lazy does
Closing your laptop at 5 p.m. Doing only your assigned tasks. Spending more time with family. These are just some of the common examples used to define the latest workplace trend of "quiet quitting."
Some experts say it's a misnomer and should really be defined as carving out time to take care of yourself.
Ed Zitron, who runs a media consulting business for tech startups and publishes the labor-focused newsletter Where's Your Ed At, believes the term stems from companies exploiting their employees' labor and how these businesses benefit from a culture of overwork without additional compensation.
"If you want people to go 'above and beyond,' compensate them for it. Give them $200. Pay them for the extra work," Zitron told NPR over email. "Show them the direct path from 'I am going above and beyond' to 'I am being rewarded for doing so.'"
..."The term 'quiet quitting' is so offensive, because it suggests that people that do their work have somehow quit their job, framing workers as some sort of villain in an equation where they're doing exactly what they were told," Zitron said.
Employers benefit financially from workers doing extra work without compensation and it is reasonable for employees to push back against that, he added.
"It's part of an overwhelming trend of pro-boss propaganda, trying to frame workers that don't do free work for their bosses as somehow stealing from the company," Zitron said.
For employers that are dealing with workers who may be exhibiting signs of quiet quitting, Zitron has one simple message for them: Pay them for extra work.
This mentality actually fits in really well with a popular subreddit called r/antiwork. It has 2.2 million members on Reddit that almost universally seem to be lazy slackers that are angry that they have to work to live. Of course, this article is a big hit over there with 20+ threads on the subject because it validates the way they look at the world.
Granted, at one time or another, almost all of us have been at some lousy, go-nowhere job that we were doing solely because we felt like we had to do it in order to pay our bills. You know what I mean…
Heck, that describes most of my twenties, when I worked at a collection of dead-end jobs. Wal-Mart portrait studio photographer. Burger King assistant manager. Group home worker. There were a lot of terrible jobs like that, but a few better ones. I worked in a Laser Tag place once and really put in some effort. In fact, I came early, stayed late, and came up with a lock-in plan that made the company another $15,000 a year. My immediate goal was to make it to assistant manager. However, the big boss thought I was unworthy of a promotion because when he asked me to write the lock-in plan up for him, I did it in pencil. He used it. They made the money, but since it was in pencil, he thought I didn’t deserve to move up. Incidentally, if you’re wondering how I know that, it’s because the useless ***** told me that himself.
My last job before I went full-time in the blogging world was doing tech support. I had to be there at 6 AM so I could talk to angry customers all day who couldn’t get their Internet working. I was actually really good at it. So much so that I would be forwarded the customers with the worst problems that the other techs couldn’t handle. I had taken that job in part because they literally didn’t care what you did when you weren’t on a call (And I wanted to work on Right Wing News). Ironically, I did such a good job that I was promoted to another significantly higher-paid, easier job in the company where they didn’t want me working on Right Wing News in my spare time. Eventually, after someone alerted the bosses there that I was doing it anyway, I was demoted back to my tech job for doing it. Yet and still, when they laid all of us off, I was one of the few people they were willing to pay more to stay. I declined, went full-time as a blogger, and from there, it was history.
So, I absolutely get coasting on certain jobs, AND as you can see from these stories, going above and beyond didn’t really work out all that well for me. So, why do I think promoting “quiet quitting” is such a terrible idea?
Because when you start out with the mentality that you’re only going to do the bare minimum in every job, you are putting yourself in a position where you aren’t going to get any promotions, raises, learn any new skills, get enthusiastic recommendations if you go to a new job, or grow as a person. Maybe that’s just fine with you if you’re in some soul-crushing, dead-end job with no future that you can’t wait to leave, but otherwise?
It DOOMS YOU because there are no successful "quiet quitters"
It guarantees that you aren’t going to learn, and you aren’t ever going to move up. If you’re genuinely content with that, fine.
However, there seems to be an awful lot of people who aren’t actually okay with it, and instead of changing their own behavior, they are railing against the way the world is designed. They’re doing some mediocre job they hate, which is all they deserve given their level of effort, and they’re posting on r/antiwork about how unfair the whole system is because it doesn’t cater to people like them. In their minds, the people going through the motions should be getting much higher rewards and the bosses should be looking for every opportunity to pay them more and make life easier – except that’s not how the world works.
In the real world, the hustlers, the hard workers, and the people making the life of their boss easier are the ones reaping the biggest rewards or moving on to someplace else that does reward them for that kind of performance. If you reject that idea and embrace “quiet quitting,” you’re essentially embracing never getting ahead. For an awful lot of people, that’s a mistake they’re going to regret one day.
Maybe you don’t want to work your way up the ladder or be the CEO’s right-hand man at your corporation, but you know what? It’s awfully nice to have that option. It’s even better to have that knowledge because if one day, you decide you want to set up shop and work for yourself, you know how to handle it. You know who doesn’t have that option most of the time? People with that “quiet quitting” mentality. They don’t have the money, the skills, the connections, or the work ethic to be successful on their own. That’s why it’s wrong to try to convince people that they’re “exploited” victims because work is difficult, unpleasant, and demanding. If work wasn’t that way, why would anyone get paid to do it? Life is full of opportunities, but they don’t go to the sort of people that embrace “quiet quitting.”