A friend/co-worker recently introduced me to the term “quiet quitting”. If you haven’t heard of it, it basically means that you dial back your day-to-day work responsibilities and shift from a high performing capacity to one that does the bare minimum. This is such a foreign concept to me. Why would someone intentionally do less than what’s expected? I’ve always strived to be an over achiever, never settling for the current role I’m in and constantly doing whatever I can to go above and beyond to get to the next level.
While “quiet quitting” helps people to set boundaries and separate their work life from their personal life (which I totally agree with by the way), I’m sure it negatively affects their co-workers if they are doing less than what’s expected, which ultimately puts the work and pressure on someone else. It’s evident that “quiet quitting” is popping up as a result of the pandemic. Employees were expected to do more, since they were working remotely, and ended up working more hours than they might have if they were in an office. Now that companies are shifting back to in person or even hybrid working, the expectations haven’t changed, forcing people to continue working beyond the 40 hours a week they are committed to. People are tired. They are overworked and under compensated. And now they are disengaged. Either they are quitting (you’ve likely heard of the great resignation), or they are taking things down a notch and doing less than what they’ve done in the past in hopes they get back some sort of satisfaction/balance.
All of that being said, companies have to do more. I fully believe in recognizing people for their good work, especially for going above and beyond. Recognition doesn’t have to be in the form of money either. Positive reinforcement, plan for promotion or what’s next, a care package of some sort, whatever you can do that shows your employees that you care about them and value them. We are all human beings, and we have to take care of each other. Burn out isn’t good for anyone. In a past life, we used to write First Class cards, recognizing people who went above and beyond. It was a simple thank you note that went a long way. I collected those cards all 10 years I worked for that company, and still have them tucked away for a rainy day.
My advice: don’t sell yourself short. Continue to chase the hustle, even when times are tough. You will shine brighter than the others who are kicking back. Block time on your calendar to get actual work done, instead of hopping from one call to the next with no time to do the work. Go outside and get some fresh air, decompress, and get back into it. But do set expectations. Work your Monday-Friday from 8:30am-5pm and then check out. Don’t work holidays or weekends. Give yourself balance. Take time for yourself and time for your family. Be open and honest when there is too much on your plate and work is becoming overwhelming. Sometimes, we have to say no. Don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution.
What do you think about “quiet quitting”? How do you create balance while still going above and beyond? Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!
-Jenna Whelan, VP of Consulting and Research Services