For the last two years, we have heard across many media platforms, stories of “quiet quitting.” This idea that you coast along, doing the bare minimum, never going above and beyond, well it never sat well with me.
Quiet quitting suggests that you are not emotionally or intellectually involved in your job, but rather you are just doing as little as possible to receive a paycheck so you can go and live your real life outside of work.
What I never understood – is whom is this benefiting? Are people happy just waiting to pass time and clock out? That seems so sad to me. Say you spend on average 40 hours a week at work, say that’s the number of hours you need to clock up to afford your life. That’s basically one-third of your waking hours. Look at that across your life.. who is happy to be unhappy for a third of their waking life? Wishing the hours, and their life away?
With two small kids, an “iron-man wannabe” husband, and a pretty busy career, I absolutely am not one to advocate for doing more hours – but surely, making the best of the hours you are in work is a better option?
Making those 40 hours the happiest they can be makes so much more sense to me.
I have been lucky to have experienced two industries in my career – with the first 10 or so years in retail and the last 10 in recruitment. Neither of these environments lent to “quiet quitting.” If for no other reason than it would have meant letting people down – my co-workers, my team, my customers, my clients, my candidates (oh, and my boss). Leaving them aside for a minute, that feeling of letting others down, it would have made ME miserable.
But perhaps these “quiet quitters” don’t feel the same? I’m not sure. But what I am sure about, positive in fact, is that when you find the right job, the right culture fit, the right balance, you can make those 40 hours a week, much more enjoyable.
I speak to countless candidates each week. Many reach out to me because they are unhappy with their job. What’s interesting to me is how often retailers, with many years of experience suggest that this is no longer the industry for them. For my side, I hate seeing good people leave this industry and so I often encourage them to list what it is they dislike, what is making them unhappy, and what they would like from a new role. 99% of the time we can find all or most of these things in the same industry, just with a different employer. The amazing part? Once I hear back from these once disgruntled retailers, their joy is back. It wasn’t the industry that was bringing them down, just that job.
Seeing this change time and time again makes me think, these quiet quitters? Have they just not found the right role for them yet? The one where they can find joy for themselves in these 40 working hours – where they get to feel challenged, and appreciated, enjoy the comradery of their co-workers, and a belly laugh with a client or customer. Me, I love seeing some candidates progress and come back to me as a client. I love seeing my team advance and grow and be promoted. I don’t think this makes me a sucker. I think it means I am finding as much joy as I can in every hour that I live, including those spent at my desk. And I don’t know about everyone else, but for me, that seems the best way to spend my days!
Which brings me on to this. I read something by Lesley Alderman in the Washington post recently – about “Quiet thriving” and it spoke to me! But it’s not as catchy a phrase as “quiet quitting” – so perhaps it won’t become the new buzzword or phrase. But for me, I definitely think it’s worth a look.
Quiet thriving is taking actions and making a mental shift to help you feel more engaged. Her ideas range from looking for the positive to finding a work buddy, setting goals for yourself to setting boundaries with your boss.
I like all these ideas and love the concept, but ultimately what I took from it is this – It’s up to you – and that’s what appealed to me most. I am a firm believer, that, for the most part – your happiness is in your hands, no one else’s.
In this overheated, employee-led market so many employers come to me asking about how they can retain their staff. Now is the time to speak up – if you have an idea or suggestion that will improve your workplace and bring more joy. Most employers will welcome anything that leads to a happy workforce! (within reason – although I was able to bring my dog into our office which led to more joy than you can shake a stick at!)
And, at the end of all this, if your employer is shutting you down, if you can’t find your work tribe to connect with, then maybe, it’s just the wrong job. Maybe it’s time to call me (unapologetic plug here, lol), maybe a move to a shiny new job will be the thing that brings you your work joy this year??
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Source: Lesley Alderman Article