Quiet Quitting

Once the folks have left the farm and seen Paris, it is hard to get them back in the traces. During the pandemic — which is officially over, right? — the work force got used to working from home.

WFH had huge real and perceived benefits: no commute, no cost to commute, no commute stress, no time lost in commuting, pajamas, improved work-life balance meaning you could jam personal time into company time, and a sense of control over things.

WFH also extracted huge costs in the employer – employee relationship.

A good many employees and employers — not so many employers, but some — prefer WFH and WFH is a critical consideration in taking and/or retaining any job.

This was one of the drivers of the Great Resignation, the movement of more than 71MM workers during the time period April 2021 to April 2022. This phenomenon continues with as many as 4,000,000 workers resigning monthly to take or pursue other employment.

The United States continues to have more job openings than unemployed though we also continue to have a mismatch in the nature of the job and the skill package of the unemployed.

This trend also motivated workers to re-evaluate their employment arrangement and to reconsider not just their work, but also their workload.

Voila! Quiet quitting was born.

Quiet Quitting – Come On, Big Red Car

The quiet quit is an attempt by the liberated and emancipated worker — mostly the youngest workers — to limit their workload and to redefine the boundary between work and life. It entails doing the bare minimum to comply with work directives whilst rejecting the notion that work is life.

Quiet quitting is the rats opting out of the race.

The reasons given for the Great Resignation were compensation, lack of advancement opportunities, a perceived lack of employer respect, and a rejection of what they perceived as a crushing workload which also included bruising hours.

It is worth noting that the preceding paragraph is a fair insight into employee burnout.

What else, Big Red Car?

It is obvious that during the pandemic with folks — including new hires — working from home the normal bonding practices were also suspended and a team had little glue to bind them and management was unable to spend time in team development.

This led to a sense of isolation amongst employees and a diminishment and retardation of the normal cultural development and assimilation of the employee into the company culture.

This lack of cultural development is not often spoken of, but I believe it to be one of the most important changes in the current environment. Loyalty amongst employees is variously to the company, the brand, charismatic leaders, superiors, peers, and the culture. Without exception WFH and the pandemic put a strain on all of these relationships.

It does not require a huge leap of analysis to suggest that workers are using their “own time” to fulfill these social and community needs or to simply pursue other more fulfilling pursuits.

Bottom line it, Big Red Car

Fine, here is the bottom line. The quiet quit — the phenomenon whereby an employee does the minimum work possible to simply retain their position within the company and rejects the idea of working to advance within the company by means of extraordinary work — is a real thing.

What are employers and managers to do to combat this? Stay tuned. Tomorrow we discuss how to deal with this.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Happy Monday, y’all.

God save the Queen. If you are seventy and English, you have never known another Queen or monarch. God save the King.