Quiet quitting: It pays to be a quiet achiever and not a mute spectator

Meddling with careers is unacceptable in this dire economic situation; work is no place for fence-sitters setting boundaries

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File photo

Allan Jacob

Published: Thu 25 Aug 2022, 3:52 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Aug 2022, 4:00 PM

To those promoting, branding, and salivating virtually over quiet quitting, here’s some sage advice that stems from experience: make less noise and resign to the reality — of unemployment or being unemployable.

If forecasts are any indication, there’s an economic storm coming. Keep the dream alive — but dreams don't sell with employers who set targets and are hiring doers, learners, achievers, and team players who dig in when the chips are down. Even Meta and Google have spelled out the riot act to employees working from home, who until recently relished the prospect of a pandemic without end.

These once mollycoddled work-at-homers turned loners have now been asked to get back to physical offices and factories. It wouldn’t be wrong to conclude here that the origins of quiet quitting stem from the state of loneliness the world is facing post the deadly days of the pandemic, when remote offices sprung up in the millions.

Now, there's a pall of fear and uncertainty engulfing office staff who are reluctant to make a loud and cheerful return to work. I believe this is where employers should intervene, and assign counsellors to revive workplaces. But it pains me when people spin it quietly (and dangerously), while touting some inexplicable state of balance.

I read a report this morning about someone I would, without hesitation, term a slacker, who enjoys the cover of initialled anonymity to indulge in the trendy, viral passion at work: quiet quitting. This person slogged for years, but found her career heading nowhere during the pandemic. So she slowed down, did less, and quiet quit.

Only her initials were revealed in the report, which begs the question: is this trend sustainable when people are wary of coming on record?

I also wonder if these employees model themselves on anti-heroes — the modern prophets of Zoom who have led us to the 'great resignation' as they prepare to welcome the impending recession that experts are predicting in the short term. For now, they should spare normal quiet achievers and those struggling to find employment — both meaningful or mundane — the slow burn.

I appreciate that quiet quitters are drawing boundaries and having quiet time away from work, but their meddling with careers is unacceptable in this dire economic situation. Work is no place for fence-sitters setting boundaries or for crying wolf when something like coronavirus has shaken our world.

And if the pathogen is indeed the reason for this bout of sleep-induced labour that they call burnout, why not host a party and look at the bright side that the worst is over? I am not in favour of slaving at work, and would recommend moderation with regular vacations thrown in if one can afford it.

Balance in isolation will run its course; it’s about making make peace with work, play and pay while spending time with family to avoid so-called monotony. It takes courage to be a silent worker or quiet achiever. And quit if you have options.

Don't be a quiet quitter. It’s worse than being a mute spectator at work.


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