Quiet quitting

What is quiet quitting? Evidently a malaise has taken over the American workforce, it is the definition of slacking off, doing the bare minimum, and displaying an unwillingness to do anything extra. In China, this phenomenon is called “lying flat.” Geez, sounds like this behavior is “a thing” infecting employees worldwide.

If you are “quiet quitting” in your job, you are probably doing it in your life! Show up, pay attention, try harder, work harder, go the extra mile, do a good job! All the sayings we grew up incorporating into our lives are being tossed away like they are unnecessary virtues and “old-fashioned” standards. 

The evidence is mounting that we have a workforce attitude problem. If research is correct, about 50% of employees dislike their jobs and don’t care much about outcomes. 

So why are folks “quiet quitting?” The reasons offered are burnout, lack of respect from the boss, not enough income, boredom, too many tasks. Some young employees say it is simply that they are establishing boundaries for work-life balance. So first came the Great Resignation, now it’s Quiet Quitting and next is Quiet Firing. Oh yeah, the workforce is about to get dicey.

Maybe this idea of being disengaged from your job and doing the bare minimum seems like it has little impact. The employee at the coffee shop who adds whipped cream when you specifically asked for non-fat creates an annoyance. It can be more serious if the doctor’s office fails to return your call, your accountant doesn’t bother to mention a few write-offs that could save you money, or the mechanic doesn’t bring up that one of your tires has little tread. We don’t want our loved ones cared for by “quiet quitters” in the nursing home. 

Have big companies been “quiet quitting” on their consumers? Been to a grocery store lately where you have no choice but to go through self-checkout? Americans are getting bigger, yet airlines continually make the seats smaller! Need to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider? You better be savvy on the computer, or you might be out of luck. Do you have to make an insurance claim? Download the app first so you can upload photos from your phone. 

The world we have created is one of convenience (not necessarily for customers), computers (just fill out the form online and we will get back with you), impersonal interactions (please leave a message) and so on. Have a question about your medical tests? Get on your portal to find out the results (and stop asking questions). It seems that entire swaths of the workforce are disengaged. 

I was in a fast-food restaurant with my grandson when an elderly man with a walker placed his order and was given a number. When his number was called, he attempted to get up from his booth, but the cashier ran over to him with his order and also got his drink. Funny how one worker’s simple act of “going above and beyond” can make a difference. The message is not quiet, but loud and clear.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.