Quiet quitting, acting your wage at work & the TikTok trend?

career Dec 07, 2022
Woman at desk in work looking at phone

Quiet Quitting & Acting your Wage

Quiet putting is phenomenon in which ambitious professional have, collectively, decided to act their wage...This doesn't involve silently leaving your role, or handing in your notice, rather it involves clawing back of power through the use of the word no...

No more overtime. 

No missed lunches. 

No late meetings. 

No evening emails. 

Quiet quitting is a post-pandemic movement in which people are collectively saying no to living and working in hustle culture, where you are expected to operate 24/7/365 at maximum capacity, and just get on with it. 

Ambitious professionals, just like you and me, and rightly so, want to live a life while having a career.  

Before Quiet Quitting - The Old Normal...

The old normal saw our working identity, careers, and personal identity collapse into each other. Blurred boundaries mean that having ambition and showing dedication to your career required you to live to work not work to live. 

Burnt out, overwhelmed, and overworked global workforce. 

Research shows, year after year, that 52% of workers globally are burned out.  

So, what is quiet quitting? Well, it’s choosing to just do your job and the tasks outlined in your job description and avoid going ‘above and beyond’ in work.

Simply put, it’s acting your wage.

Putting in the effort for work, that you’re actually paid for.

So people are not quitting their jobs as such, but instead they are rejecting hustle culture and setting clear boundaries that show they’re personal lives are more important than work.

The 5-day Week

Before we go any further let’s look at the history of the 40 hour working week, and why we are experiencing higher levels of burnout than ever before. Henry Ford, entrepreneur and creator of the huge global car brand Ford, first introduced the notion of a 5 day working week in the 1910s. Before this, most factory workers put in an average of 70 hours per week, suffering with exhaustaion and health issues.

What Ford noticed is, his employees began to assemble cars in a tenth of the time that it had taken before, and he seen this increased productivity as a chance to reinvent the working week. So he began to double their pay, and decrease their working week to 40 hours, 5 days a week.

His argument? People need discretionary time to be able to enjoy the goods and services that many businesses and organisations are creating. But of course he claimed people also needed time to rest and recreate, and this in turn would boost effort within the workplace. Which it did, it worked.

Economists assumed that the working week would continue to shrink as technology and resources developed and expanded. Not quite. Over 100 years later, here we are working around the same model of the 5 day working week.

It’s hardly a surprise that this new generation of workers are tired of devoting their life to a system and business that has the same structure as it did a century ago. The COVID pandemic acted as a catalyst for changing beliefs around Work-life balance. Ultimately it made us all realise how important life is, being away from the ones we love for so long, relying on the people in your home, it showed us what really matters in life, and for many this meant a career change or quitting their jobs totally.

This is what is referred to as The Great Resignation, an average of 3.98 million people leaving their jobs monthly over the course of 2021, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. Now enter quiet quitting, the phenomenon that has taken the working world by storm since the pandemic, a new way of quitting, while still staying in employment.

A 2022 study from Gallup of 15,000 workers found that over 50% of the US workforce is made up by quiet quitters. The levels of engagement from workers has dramatically decreased with the percentage of disengaged workers rising to 18%. The ratio between engaged workers and disengaged workers is the lowest it’s been in a decade.

Why are people Quiet Quitting?

Why are employees losing engagement with work? TikTok has proved to be the social media platform of choice for those sharing their views on quiet quitting, with TikToker @SaraIsThreads making videos explaining exactly what is missing in the 21st century working world. Why should people engage with a company that doesn’t offer them higher wages for the quality of work produced, flexible working hours, bonuses, or promotions for ‘going the extra mile’.

The statistics show that it is Gen Z and millennials, those under 35, who are actually suffering most in the workplace. Previously, engagement from younger employers tended to be higher as with youthfullness comes an excitement to learn and grow within your career.

However, younger workers have actually dropped 10 points in the percentage who strongly agree their employer cares about them, values them, and provides them with opportunity for career progression. This sure doesn’t look hopeful if we can’t keep younger employees engaged and excited in the workplace.

The pandemic also brought along a change in the structure of the working day, with millions of people now working from home. 4 in 10 remote workers said they did not have a clear idea of what their work tasks were for the day, and in turn this negatively impacted their want to go above and beyond.

So why stay, why not just quit? Well there is a term in psychology that could possible explain why.* Commitment bias is a paradox that silently controls our decision-making, and can often make it hard to leave or quit. It sees up continuously invest time and energy into past decisions even when they no longer serve us. * Is it better to stay in a stable job in the midst of worldwide inflation and a housing crisis, rather than risk it all to find a job that better tailors to your needs? The million dollar question.

Love what you do and do what you love. Sounds good, but in todays state, not so practical for many people.

The signs of Quiet Quitting

 How can you tell if you are experiencing quiet quitting, or a colleague? There are a number of common signs and behaviours

  • Leaving work early or starting late
  • Cancelling meetings
  • Refusing to work overtime
  • Lack of interest or creativity
  • Only doing just enough to get by

Of course most of these come off the back of being overworked and usually underpaid, so can we really argue with people for simply just doing their job, no more or no less?

 It’s interesting how we now have a term for just doing your job, how it is a ‘phenomenon’. The pressures of hustle culture are rife, the notion you’re not successful if you are not doing more, 24/7.







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