Everyone is talking about Quiet Quitting, with many people feeling puzzled that the phrase is even a "thing" because it means people are doing their jobs and nothing more.
Basically, a quiet quitter is someone who's lost their "go-getter" energy – if they ever had it. There are lots of reasons all over the web as to why this is happening, but I think a disturbing trend I'm hearing from friends and clients could be a major factor in this movement.
Some background: as we – the collective "we" – navigate the collective trauma brought on by the pandemic, political upheaval and climate change (to name a few emergencies), most companies are talking about employee wellness.
Often, employee wellness looks like this:
- You're getting information about your EAP in the mail or your email,
- Your insurance company is sending out wellness resources, or
- Your HR department is reminding you to take your PTO for your health.
It's terrific that organizations seem more conscious of how important it is to take care of ourselves. Right?
But… here's the disturbing trend I mentioned.
With people leaving (#theGreatResignation) and companies taking a long time to replace them, the ones left behind are doing the work of two, sometimes three, people.
With no raise in pay, no extra incentives, and no end in sight.
Despite the exhortations to take time off, to utilize the resources offered, work life is harder than ever for many people.
I'm hearing stories about people doing double and triple duty who are just exhausted. And then when they speak up and ask for help, they are met with a whole lot of ugly.
I'm talking about professional women who have been working 15 years or longer, who have proven themselves, who have gone above and beyond historically and in their current positions. They are tired. Spent. Burnt out.
These are people who asked for help and were met with verbal abuse and subjected to retaliatory actions such as threats, internal investigations, requests for confidential medical records and coercion. Ugly stuff.
Work is important, but lives have and are changed. LIFE for everyone has changed. Dramatically.
Your brain has changed, as has mine, because chronic stress has serious consequences, literally changing our DNA. Our bodies and minds are affected on every level. We have changed.
And my friends & clients? Maybe like you or someone you know, they have too much to do on any given day because they're carrying entire departments. I’m not sure if they consider themselves to be "quiet quitters," but at this point, yes. They might be.
And yes, these people might be "phoning it in" as they polish up their resumes and get back on LinkedIn to check out what's out there.
Because their organizations offered lip service and couldn't or wouldn't back it up with real action.
Is it really a wonder that some people are doing the bare minimum just to get along at work? That they're not "engaged" when they just might be feeling like everything – the weight of the world – is on their shoulders?
Why don't we wonder about the people making such a stink about this #QuietQuitting thing?
They're referring to people who've lived through a massive planetary pandemic, deaths of loved ones, wars, mass shootings, severe weather disturbances, and cultural chasms that may lead to civil wars, among other things.
Really? Is this what the world of work has come to now? Is the response to these times going to be, "why can't people be go-getters anymore?"
Organizations need to read the signs.
And you, dear friend… if you're having trouble engaging with your work, it might be time for you to read the signs, too.
Perhaps you need to go deep and figure out what your next action will be around your career. Are you with an employer you trust? If so, amazing.
If not, maybe it's time to take a look at what you're experiencing and figure out next steps. You can re-engage, look for something new, stay on track, or figure out something else. I'd be very interested in hearing about what your experience at work might be like these days.
Isn't it cool that this #QuietQuitting topic has brought up all these unspoken truths? Hopefully, it makes you think about how you want work to be for you.