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Breaking the silence on Quiet Quitting: why you should (not) be doing it

It's not ghosting your boss. It's something else

What’s all the fuzz about?

Today, we’re taking a break from talking about investing; instead, we’re looking at a recent phenomenon in work culture.

You might have seen the term “Quiet Quitting” on your LinkedIn feed or on your Insta or TikTok.

Before knowing what it meant, I imagined people’ ghosting’ their bosses and just not showing up or replying any longer.

As a business owner myself, I didn’t quite like this idea.

But when I decided to dig a little deeper, it turned out to be something else.

And if done well, it might not even be a bad idea.

Quiet Quitting is not ghosting your boss

So… turns out I was wrong on that one.

The name is a bit deceptive.

The best description of Quiet Quitting that I’ve found is: “saying goodbye to unnecessary stress that has been added to their lives from consistently going above and beyond by taking on responsibilities that do not fall under their job description.”, from the website Parade.

If done correctly, Quiet Quitting is not just stopping doing anything at all at work, nor is it doing only the bare minimum.

Doing as little as possible, is also a practice that exists and it's as old as time.

But that’s not what Quiet Quitting is about.

A healthier relationship with your work

Quiet Quitting is not about leaving your job but ‘quitting’ some tasks that were never part of your responsibilities to begin with (or at least shouldn’t have been).

Quiet Quitters work from 9 to 5 and not a minute more (something that’s not too uncommon here in Holland, to be honest).

Suppose employees get a workload assigned that’s simply not doable in a single day. In that case, they will continue with it tomorrow rather than spend their free evening on it.

I personally think that's not a bad thing per se.

The occasional overtime is okay, as long as it happens sporadically.

If it becomes structural (and is uncompensated), it’s a sign of lousy resource management by the employer.

Especially over the last years, with the pandemic and the introduction of hybrid working, the boundaries between work and personal life have become more blurry.

So it’s not a bad thing that employees, especially the younger generation, stand up for themselves and protect their work/life balance and mental health.

Taking stock of mental health in the workplace

I came across this interesting research done in the U.S. by the website Jobsage.

I assume that the work culture in the U.S. is a bit more cut-throat, on average, than here in Europe. So, these numbers might be lower here. Still, they paint an interesting picture:

1 in 4 employees say they have quit a job once for the sake of their mental health.

Nearly 2 in 5 have considered doing so.

The worst impact on people’s mental health was finances (42%). (Something I want to help solve with MoneyMinds 😉)

The second to worst impact on mental health was work (nearly 2/5th).

With stress, worry, anger, and sadness becoming so common, it’s no surprise that employees are trying to redefine their relationship with their jobs.

On hustle culture and setting healthy boundaries

Work can be very taxing on us.

It makes sense that Quiet Quitting is getting so popular.

Quiet Quitting, if done well, is more about setting healthy boundaries for your work.

Do you pick up the phone after office hours, do you check emails at night, and how do you treat overtime?

These are important (and personal!) questions to answer.

Some jobs might require a lot more “extra” than others.

If you have a ‘high up’ position, have a lot of responsibilities and get compensated well, it makes sense to give more to your job too.

Some people love their jobs deeply. Some are very ambitious. For them, no amount of time seems to be too much.

We seem to have this ‘hustle culture', where our job is seen as part of our identity, and we’re constantly pushing for more. Getting more done. Earning more.

Being busy is seen as a status symbol.

Ask anyone how they are doing, and they’ll say they’re good and that they are very busy.

I am personally guilty of this too. I co-run a digital agency which isn’t always 40 hours a week.

And I’m writing this newsletter to you on a Sunday.

That’s not complaining; that’s me doing what I like in my free time! 😁

But, importantly, it’s my choice to do so.

Make sure you actively choose the (work)life you want for you.

Find what works for you.

Life is too short to live anyone else’s life. Especially living the life your boss or manager might want you to live.

Clichés are true, sometimes. 😉

When can Quiet Quitting be good?

✅ If it gives you a better work/life balance.

✅ If it helps you say no to unnecessary tasks and stress at work.

✅ If it lets things ’fail forward’: allowing balls to drop at work (ones you’re not responsible for) can help expose leaks in the organisation that management isn’t aware of.

How not to Quiet Quit

❌ With impure motives. If you are not doing your job out of revenge, to hurt others, or because you’re lazy, that usually has a way of back-firing.

❌ Taking it too far. Only drop unnecessary work and stress, but your core duties should still be performed (well!).

❌ As a band-aid solution to a deeper problem. Sometimes, it’s better to fully quit and find a more inspiring and rewarding job elsewhere.

All things considered, I support anything that builds a long-term, win/win relationship with your employer. And if quiet quitting is your strategy to achieve that, go for it!

Further reading

📕 Quitting by Desing by Dr. Lyn Marie Morski

🖥️ ’What is quiet quitting’ article by Parade

🔢 Mental Health Survey by Jobsage

💭 ’The case for quiet quitting’ article by Fioneers

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this more ‘relevant’ and opinionated newsletter!