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Have you joined the Quiet Quitter Brigade?

Quiet Quitters appear to be signing up in droves.
And there’s nothing quiet about the ruckus they are creating on Tik Tok and elsewhere.

But this phenomenon is nothing new, just a fancy new name for a long-standing workplace issue previously known as disengagement or presenteeism.

The difference being this is being made as a deliberate choice to fight against the long-standing notions that overwork, overwhelm and high workplace stress are acceptable. While I commend the drive for change, I dislike the term for the following reasons.

Firstly, doing things on the quiet, is suggestive of a sly underhand approach to fix a very real workplace issue rather than stepping forward to bring about positive change for all.

And what’s with the “quitting” bit? You can quit the smokes but quitting work comes across as an abrogation of responsibility, a toddler tantrum or self-centred narcissism. (In my eyes – and you don’t have to agree).

The modern workplace can be a harsh taskmaster and there is much room for improvement, but I don’t see quiet quitting as a viable solution.

What if a different approach was adopted?

One that had buy-in from every level of the organisation, where every person has a voice and is provided with the opportunity to contribute to a better way of working.

The solution to disengagement is simpler than you think.

  1. Identify what needs to change and prioritise what needs to be addressed first.
  2. Provide a safe and supportive environment that enables inclusive and meaningful conversations where decisions can be taken and acted upon.
  3. Agree on a time frame to implement the changes and how they will be reviewed.
  4. Keep the changes small – this is not about adding more burden.
  5. Seek ways that raise psychological safety, lower stress, and build strong interpersonal ties with purpose, visible progress, and positive relationships.

Wishful thinking?

It doesn’t have to be, and how much better to be upfront and be involved with real change?

If you’re thinking – this will NEVER happen in my workplace! How do you know?
Have efforts been made to implement small positive tweaks to processes and procedures?
Change tends to be slow, but if it’s happening, now is the time to add to the momentum.

If you’re concerned the powers that be, aren’t listening and don’t appear willing to work with you to make your workplace work better, what can you do?

Your most powerful vote is quit altogether and go elsewhere to where you do have a voice and where job design is being reviewed.

This may not be easy depending on where you work and the type of work you do, but quiet quitting is a band-aid fix for an axe wound. It isn’t going to staunch the bleeding.

What do you think about quiet quitting?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.

My new book Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

If you’re looking for someone to speak at your event or help your business, department or team develop a high level of mental fitness, let’s set up a time to talk.

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