A new yet so new trend has taken over social media, a phenomenon dubbed quiet quitting. Unlike traditional quitting, where an employee resigns from their job, quiet quitting involves not going above and beyond the duties listed in your job description as an employee. In our work and productivity-obsessed culture, refusing to go above and beyond for an employer is an act of resistance and a revolutionary act that has infuriated bosses everywhere which in itself is a bonus point.
Here’s why people are doing it and perhaps why you should consider going aboard the train.
The rise of quiet quitting can be attributed to a number of factors with the proliferation of anti-capitalist sentiments at the centre of it all. There’s rising awareness of the exploitation of workers by employers as well as the prevalence of overworking and burnout in the workplace.
In a capitalist system, workers are seen as mere cogs in the machinery of production, whose sole purpose is to create profits for their employers. This means that workers are often treated as expendable resources, who can be overworked and underpaid with intense pressure to constantly be productive without regard for their health and well-being. They are in fact required to overextend themselves at the expense of their health and well-being and for the benefit of their employer with the promise that maybe their employer will notice how hardworking they are and reward them with a promotion or pay rise or other things. A reward that rarely materializes. Workers are pressured to give more and more while bosses give less and less. Quiet quitting is saying no to this exploitative arrangement.
Quiet quitting is a way to reclaim control over their work lives for people who have suffered the effects of overwork and burnout. Instead of feeling pressured to constantly go above and beyond, workers can simply fulfil their designated job duties and responsibilities and stop. No more over-exerting yourself at the expense of your own physical and mental health. People who work in healthcare, education, and technology and particularly susceptible to overwork and burnout. These industries fetishize overworking to the point of physical and mental exhaustion.
Present-day overworking has its roots in Calvinistic theology, which views success in life as a sign of divine grace. This belief is manifested in the Protestant work ethic, which emphasizes the value of hard work, frugality, and self-discipline. This ideology is deeply ingrained in Western culture and through cultural imperialism has been transferred to the rest of the world. It is characterized by the glorification of long hours and the stigmatization of those who don’t do the same. And you know it’s messed up because those are the very same values employers advance, hard work, frugality, and self-discipline.
Quiet quitting is a way to challenge the dominant cultural narrative around overworking. In too many societies, the value of a person is often measured by their productivity and contribution to the economy. People’s value is not a direct factor of their productivity. People are valuable because they are people. Period. This conflation of value with being hardworking is why the disabled and the poor are treated so poorly in our society. Quiet quitting is a refusal to peg your self-worth to your real and perceived productivity which is a plus.
Prioritizing life and living
Quiet quitting recognizes that workers have a right to a healthy work-life balance, where they can fulfil their job duties without sacrificing their health and well-being. By prioritizing this balance, workers can reduce stress, prevent burnout, and have lives beyond work. When all your working hours are taken by work, you can end up assuming that you are your job. A hole too many people have fallen into. You are not your job and quiet quitting frees you up to be more than just a worker. It frees you up to live. To live.
All this free time can help you create a more meaningful and fulfilling life. The real truth is not everyone has the privilege of doing just what they are paid to do and no more, but those who can, must. Too many workers are overworked, underpaid and exploited in numerous ways. Too many can do nothing about it which is why those who can, must. It is a powerful act of resistance against the status quo and injustice. Has there ever been an easier way to stand up to and resist injustice? All you have to do is nothing more than you’re paid to do. Easiest protest ever.
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