Quiet quitting = Life outside of work
The excuse your job gives you for why you should work more for less
Writer’s note: This post was originally published on Medium’s “We Need to Talk” on August 17, 2022.
I don’t understand the reason for the phrase “quiet quitting.” I’ve started seeing it pop up on shows like “The Daily Show,” and I’m still waiting for someone to explain the “quitting” part. If you’re lucky enough to not know what I’m talking about, the phrase is used for employees who do their exact job but clock out on time — no last-minute emails, no phone calls after the work shift ends, no taking work home to finish it, no working through lunch. They’re doing the job they’re paid for, and no more but no less.
And the more I read complaints from employers claiming this group is lazy and entitled, the more I wonder why the same group feels justified in solely paying them for that same work shift to do those same duties, no more but no less. The logic in shaming a “quiet quitter” makes as much sense as going into a grocery store to buy two bags of chips. Before you get to the door, the security guard takes the second bag of chips, starts eating them in front of you and tells you to keep going out of the door. Sure, you should be leaving with those two bags of chips you earned, but don’t be ungrateful. Just be happy security is letting you leave with any chips at all.
In all fairness, if it’s a job you actually enjoy, it doesn’t really feel like work. I’ve had a few of those. Quite frankly, I can only think of two jobs that fit that criteria during my time in Corporate America. At other jobs, I may have liked a few bosses, a few job duties and a few co-workers, but I was always ready to leave when my shift ended. Did I? No. America has a way of shaming employees into staying later or getting guilted to death for not doing so.
In fact, my last Corporate America boss insisted on having my cell phone number, texting me in the late-night hours and weekends (including during a bereavement), and wanted me to stay several hours after work because she was “too busy and too unmotivated” to do work during work hours. Even worse, one of those times that I stayed several hours later, her own higher-ups came in to talk about how great we were for “working.” Every time we’d start talking about a project again, these two higher-ups kept interrupting us to chitchat. I made the “mistake” of saying, “Well, it looks like I can head out then if we’re just hanging out.” The look of alarm on my boss and the two higher-ups’ faces still blows me away.
The audacity of me to not want to work after my shift ended and not slow down the project to chitchat with the same exact people I can talk to during my original shift was beyond comprehension for them. While I tried to quickly exit, the two higher-ups rushed out and told me to “continue working.” Another hour later, I was still there and desperately hoping for the opportunity to go home.