Quiet Quitting or Healthy Living?

Firstbeat blog

The term ”Quiet quitting’’ has been trending lately. Unlike the name suggests, it doesn’t actually mean quitting your job, but rather that you are quitting the idea of always going above and beyond for your job and your employer. It means quitting the “hustle’’ culture mentality, where your work and career are your top priority, and you are always chasing new achievements.

If you do a deep dive into the phenomenon of quiet quitting you will notice that there is no common consensus on whether it is a positive or a negative thing. Some argue that people practising it are lazy or lack motivation and ambition, while others argue that those people are just setting healthy boundaries between their work and private life. However, what is apparent to me is that the two parties arguing for and against quiet quitting are really talking about two entirely different things.

Are You Quiet Quitting or do You Need to Look for a New Job – How to Recognize the Difference

If you are indeed one of those people who feels unmotivated at their current job, perhaps you even dislike your job, and you lack any type of ambition then yes, deciding to stick with that job but quietly quitting might be a bad idea. You could be heading towards presenteeism or perhaps you are already there. If you are constantly doing the bare minimum and getting no satisfaction from your work, then you are not likely to be in the right role at the right company.  

As humans, we usually require some type of satisfaction or fulfilment from what we do, especially since we spend such a huge amount of our time at work. By doing the bare minimum, you are enabling big corporations’ bosses to argue that “just doing your job’’ is a bad thing.  

However, if you are someone who sees quiet quitting as a way to find a healthy work-life balance, I would argue that you are more on the right path. Closing your computer once your shift or workday is over and not checking upon those work emails after hours, taking a full lunch break and coffee breaks, using your vacation days, not feeling bad if you’re sick and have to stay in bed for a day or two, rejecting extra work that you are not being compensated for or you don’t have time to do, that’s called setting some healthy boundaries.  

Doing your job well, completing the tasks in your job description, being a good teammate but not burning yourself out for work, and prioritizing your life outside of work, that’s not actually called quitting, that’s called living.

Why We Should Be Wary of Terms Such as ‘Quiet Quitting’ and ‘Hustle’ Culture

So the term quiet quitting can be misleading, and the definition varies from person to person, making it rather easy to argue against it or for it. But the truth is that we have lived for a long time in a world where employers expect us to prioritize work and be very ambitious and driven. However, always aiming to exceed expectations is toxic. In fact, the whole hustle culture is a bit toxic. If you can give 100% at work and at home all the time, day in and day out, congratulations: you are either a fictional character in a movie or you are on the road to burnout.  

The effort we put in our work and career can also change throughout the years. It can depend on what your overall life situation is. If you are for example closer to retirement, you might feel like you don’t want to use up all your energy at work anymore but would rather just do a good job and save some time and energy for other aspects of your life. If you have young children, you might want to prioritize your home life a bit more. Or perhaps you view your work as a much-needed break from childcare responsibilities and that drives you to do more. Or maybe you just went through a difficult time in your life and for now you would just like to do your job and prioritize other things that make you happy. Nothing wrong with that! We should not be living to work, but rather working to live.  

What Employers Need to Know About Quiet Quitting

All this talk about quiet quitting should also be eye opening for employers as well. If the employees are not motivated or they don’t get any type of fulfilment from their work, then that is something the employer should definitely take a closer look at. Or if there a several burnout cases in the company then it’s high time to examine the organizational culture and see if setting healthy boundaries for work and private life is even possible.  

It is crucial that the employer can create an organizational culture where employees can achieve a good work-life balance and where the expectations for performance at work are not unrealistically high. Because those employees with good work-life balance will also be the most beneficial for the employer, not the ones who always hustle and burn themselves out by doing so.  

It is also important for the employers and employees to have conversations about what is expected from each individual at work, what are their roles and responsibilities, and how it all connects to the bigger picture, the company’s mission and goals. Providing clarity is important so that neither party is confused on what is enough at work and what is not.  

Healthy Living for All Is Essential

I would argue that we should separate the two branches of quiet quitting and come up with new more fitting terms for each. If we are talking about doing the bare minimum and feeling unhappy at your job, then that is one thing. But if we are talking about setting healthy boundaries for your work life and prioritizing your health and well-being over your work, then we are talking about something entirely different. We are talking about healthy living.  

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