Quiet quitting is the new hot-button topic. Older generations seem to loathe it, but younger generations are embracing it, but what exactly is quiet quitting, and why is it so controversial? But before I get into all that, I must say; that it’s getting annoying having every little thing our generation does critiqued and berated like we are some kind of war criminals. We get it. You don’t like our participation trophies but gave them to us? I know I couldn’t afford to buy them when I was in little league. (Sorry, I’m just annoyed at the world for being annoyed at us.) But before I get sidetracked, let’s talk about quiet quitting.
What Is Quiet Quitting?
Quiet quieting has no set definition, which makes this argument even more infuriating at times. How can employers bash employees over something that doesn’t have a set meaning? For some, it means setting boundaries with work. For others, it means they won’t overwork or go above and beyond what’s necessary, but one thing remains true. Quiet quitting does not mean you are leaving your job.
New Term, Old Concept
While quiet quitting is a new phrase to describe work boundaries, the concept isn’t new. Some people may try to convince you that quiet quitting is laziness or slacking off in the workplace. In reality, it is Gen Z demanding a healthy work-life balance. There is this notion that quiet quitting is a product of the Great Resignation. Why work harder if the company needs me since many people are quitting? But that rhetoric is coming from angry employers and not the participants.
Don’t get me wrong. I would be trying my best to stop quiet quitting if I was a boss. Why wouldn’t I want to exploit my employees for the betterment of my company? (If you can’t tell, I’m being facetious.) But the dynamic among workers has changed, especially after COVID. So many jobs that were “impossible to do” from home soon became possible out of necessity. Still, with the world returning to normal, employers want people back in corporate buildings. While COVID sucked, working from home gave a lot of people more freedom and time throughout the day. Gone were the days of hour-long commutes. We tasted a healthy work-life balance we could only dream of before COVID.
So what does wanting a work-life balance has to do with quiet quitting? Quit quitting, at its core, is a small act of defiance against exploitative work practices in the workplace. Our mindsets on work expectations have changed. Why would I go out of my way and give 110% to an employer every day when they don’t respect me as a person? I am just a cog in the machine. I will do my job and what was originally expected of me, and that is it. Our generation doesn’t ask for balance. We now demand it. Get on board or suffer our wrath. That’s not to say we will sit back, relax, and not do work, but we aren’t going all out every second of every day. There is a time and place to shine for your effort, but it’s not every day. (Maybe this is why burnout is such a big issue, but what do I know? I’m just a writer.) Quiet quitting is our way of letting employers know that we aren’t cogs in a machine. We aren’t working dogs. We are people with lives outside of work who are now prioritizing a balance between work and life.
Call Us Lazy
You can call us whatever you want, but this idea of quiet quitting isn’t going away any time soon. There is a group of us who only commuted to offices for less than a year after graduating college, and some have never stepped foot into an office until earlier this year. I get that the world was in lockdown, but that very lockdown changed a lot of the world. Should we prioritize working hard and grinding out success? Why? Because you were forced to do it, do we have to do it now? I don’t know about you, but that sounds a lot like reinforcing a cycle of trauma. Call us entitled! It doesn’t faze us anymore. You’ve been throwing that word in our faces since we were kids. Quiet quitting is our way of taking back some control in our lives.