I’ve Been Quiet-Quitting For Years

After the Great Resignation, ‘Quiet-Quitting’ has become the latest workplace trend.

But what is ‘Quiet-Quitting’ exactly? Initially, I thought it was basically looking for another job while still working at our current one. A lot of people do this, myself included.

Turns out it’s a bit more than this.

New Buzzword, Old Concept

‘Quiet Quitting’ isn’t necessarily about resigning. It’s no longer ‘going above and beyond’ for a job, and by extension for an employer.

Basically it’s clocking out at 5 p.m. on the dot-or whatever time your workday ends-, only doing your assigned daily tasks, limiting chats with colleagues and not working overtime.

You can also add using all your vacation and sick days.

Talk about my ideal definition of working!

This approach frees up time to spend with family and friends, or to take care of oneself. In short, it’s a renewed commitment to having a life outside of work.

I personally call it having boundaries, and sticking to them.

It’s Not About Slacking, Being Disengaged or Unethical

Having boundaries is a wonderful thing. It’s not unethical but very reasonable, even more so when you’re not paid or rewarded for going ‘above and beyond’ at work.

You can ‘quiet quit’ without slacking or being disengaged. If you are, then you probably need to actually quit, and find something more meaningful.

I’ve ‘quiet-quit’ almost 2 decades ago. Back then, I was living and working in France. I was also younger and inexperienced. When I landed my first few real, adult jobs after graduating, I threw all my time and energy into them. I wanted to make a good impression and to advance my career.

I went ‘above and beyond’, and here’s some of what happened:

  • I worked overtime for free
  • I was passed over for a promotion
  • A promised bonus wasn’t paid, despite being included in my work agreement
  • I incurred work expenses for which I was never reimbursed
  • A contract job wasn’t renewed…and I learned about it at the last minute
  • My salary remained stagnant and benefits didn’t change or improve
  • My career didn’t advance as much as I wanted

After all the above happened, I realized my level of investment into a job should match the paycheck and the job description. Anything above these is surplus to requirements, thus unnecessary -for the most part-.

My Job Isn’t My Identity or My Self Worth

You may be surprised to read that I’ve been doing just fine after implementing the above, 20 years ago or so.

‘Quiet Quitting’ has never prevented me from finding enjoyable work, being productive, advancing my career, receiving a raise or a bonus or having good references.

I’ve had numerous performance appraisals and annual reviews, and the matter of ‘not going above and beyond’ has yet to come-up.

‘Quiet Quitting’ also eliminated being taken advantage of at work.

In retrospect, I’m glad the above-mentioned unfortunate experiences happened when I was in my 20’s. Otherwise, I think I may have killed myself for my jobs, just like way too many people.

Instead, I’ve never experienced burn-out and have maintained a good work-life balance, most of the time.

Most importantly, I don’t identify with my job. My job is only one piece of information about me.

Far too often, our self-worth is linked to what we do and what we have, instead of who we are.

Over 2.5 years of Covid-19 are slowly changing this….and it’s a good thing.

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