Is Quiet Quitting the Answer to a Better Work Culture?

Social media is defining quiet quitting as people resisting the idea of work taking priority over their own life. It implies that employees no longer want to stretch the limits of their outlined responsibilities. It enforces the notion that people are taking measures to ensure that they are logging off when it’s time to log off. That is one way to see it, which rather than quiet quitting, seems to me like it’s a basic productivity need and an ongoing issue around setting boundaries.

But quiet quitting could also look like unwillingness to pursue anything beyond your specified role. It can be perceived as a stagnant career and no motivation to grow professionally. Here’s where we, as the millennial generation, have got to differentiate between quiet quitting and setting boundaries. It’s utterly important that we start labelling this as something constructive that actually resonates with our current job situation.

Reflection prompt. What has gradually built up to this moment where you don’t want to do above and beyond your prescribed tasks?

Why do you think you’re quiet quitting?

  • Do you feel like personal life is taking a backseat?
  • Have you lost interest in your current role or realized that you want to pursue something different?
  • Has your team lead / manager been incapable of forming a bond outside of work with you?
  • Are you trying to escape a potential opportunity because you’re too scared?

Nothing is a one-way street. Your personal contribution to the scenarios is as prevalent as the other factors influencing your balance at the moment. Further, you would also need to understand that becoming a passive person does not solve anything. On the contrary, it keeps you bound to the situation for an even longer period of time. The result is frustration, confusion and yes, burnout. The only solution is to proactively figure out where you stand in your job situation and what would help you navigate a better as well as meaningful work-life. Before we proceed with the four scenarios, I would like to share a personal story with you.

Currently Reading: Small Actions by Eric Sim

I’ve been reading this amazing book by Eric Sim “Small Actions: Leading Your Career to Big Success.” In the book, he talks about work-life balance and I love how he emphasizes on work-life integration rather than work-life balance. Career is a part and parcel of life, and you cannot isolate one part of your life to give traction to another. Now, before we address the devil, I want you to know this. I completely agree that balance is required, and a reset is necessary when your work has overshadowed your personal life. However, as an employee, it’s as much your responsibility to speak up about your reset needs as is your employers’ to understand when they’ve piled up a lot of extra responsibilities on you.

Like I always say, boundaries are of the major importance in our generation. We set the lines which confine other people to how much they can ask of us as well as expect of us. We don’t quite believe in “quiet quitting” since it’s a pretty deconstructive definition of how an ideal work-life is supposed to be like. However, we do believe that setting boundaries is impertinent to a healthy work-life and learning the difference between the two is indispensable.

Re-label your “Quiet Quitting” Scenarios:

Scenario 1: Fading lines between Work and Personal Life

If you belong to Scenario 1, wherein your personal life has taken a backseat, you should definitely let work blend out a little while you focus on chipping out the required time to spend doing the things you love with the people you love. Moreover, if this has been affecting you on a personal level where you feel burnt out and unable to function properly due to an overload of professional tasks, resetting your life back to stability is the best way forward for both you and your manager. It’ll not only help you turn over a new leaf in your personal life but will also energize you to view the upcoming tasks in a proactive and synergized manner.

Label it as a restorative short-term solution towards a better temperament as you continue integrating your work-life and personal-life, creating a healthy alliance between the two that works for you over the long-term.

Scenario 2: Non-alignment of Interests in Current Role

If you belong to Scenario 2, wherein you’ve lost interest in your current role or realized that you want to pursue something different, you can take the risk of doing the bare minimum at your current role. However, saying no to additional projects and ad-hoc tasks just because you don’t like them or because they are not a specific part of your job description can steal away good opportunities from you. You could have gotten that promotion that you’ve wanted for so long. You could have diversified your skills into another role at the same company. You could have received hands-on experience on a specific task that could have been important to your career journey ahead. It’s completely up to you to decide whether letting these opportunities pass by are worth it.

Label it as a short-term solution towards figuring out what you really want from your career, what’s the purpose you’re trying to fuel through your job and whether a job switch would help you be more proactive at work.

Scenario 3: Inability to Bond with the Team Outside of Work

If you belong to Scenario 3, wherein you’ve been unable to have a good relationship with your manager, consider whether giving up on opportunities relevant to your industry are worth a bad chemistry that you have with your team lead. You could always connect with others in your workplace and look for inter-team transfers. You could always voice out the adversities you are facing with your current leader and receive an unexpected gesture of empathy from their end. Again, you could do a job switch with the hopes of finding a better leader at your next organization. Whatever way you decide to go ahead on this path, the fact remains that you’re letting another person dictate how you perceive your work, especially if this is a role that you love working in.

Label it as a short-term obstacle which pushes you to resolve any animosities and gain clarity on how others’ incapacity of being empathetic towards you affects your capability to bringing your better self to work.

Scenario 4: Restricting Yourself to Risk-free Opportunities

If you belong to Scenario 4 and you’re trying to escape a good opportunity because you’re scared, I just want to let you know that we have all been “you” at one point in our lives. We’ve all been scared to push ourselves out of the comfort zone and pursue something that we know is going to create a bigger path for us. Breathe in, breathe out and try to understand why you’re creating hurdles for yourself – is it because you’re really not ready for this opportunity or because the heebie-jeebies are making you nervous to pursue it.

Either way, stop being passive at work and acknowledge what your expectations are of yourself. Whether you wish to pursue the opportunity or not, it shouldn’t stop you from being your best version at work. You never know when you’ll feel ready to take it up again, so don’t be hell bent on creating a different impression of you in the minds of your seniors.

Label it as a short-term obstacle towards finding the push to escape the comfort zone.

We don’t believe in “quiet quitting” ourselves and we don’t think it’s creating a better work culture. However, we believe in renaming it into labels which are more productive in nature and will compel you to question your current behaviors and issues while you jump into a bandwagon of better solutions for a coherent and meaningful lifestyle that lets you enjoy the best of both career as well as personal life. We’re also aware that team leaders have got to understand their own impact on our work-life balance, and we’re not refuting how difficult balancing the two are. What we’re trying to put out there is that “quiet quitting” is not the answer, setting boundaries is.

Quiet quitting limits you to a defined set of rules to work around; boundaries help you define what is worth the struggle and what’s not.

Here’s a snapshot of 3 scenarios that differentiate between the two:

Additionally, here are a few posts and opinions on “quiet quitting” that you can read up on:

Have an opinion on the post? Share your stories below for us to know more about your insights and experiences with “quiet quitting” and whether you consider it to be the solution to the issues we face with the prevailing work culture.

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