Thursday, September 1, 2022

What Is "Quiet Quitting?"

You can always count on Gen Z to come up with something that is surpassingly stupid. As you know, Gen Zers comprise the cohort that is currently 25 years old and younger.

Anyway, Gen Zers, through their compulsive use of TikTok have created something of a fad. It’s called “quiet quitting.” For those who imagine that America was built by people who had a strong work ethic, the new fad is a slight disappointment.

Gen Zers, however, are not disappointed. They are completely full of themselves, brimming over with high self-esteem, disconnected from reality and from other people. They think that if they thought it up, in their pea brains, then it is the next greatest thing.

If you are worried about America’s future, Gen Zers are here to sustain your pessimism.

Brad Polumbo, from the Foundation for Economic Education, raises the alarm:

Over the last few weeks, a “quiet quitting” movement has emerged from the bowels of TikTok.…

“You’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond,” explained one TikToker whose viral video helped kick off the fad. “You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle-culture mentality.”

Basically, you’re not actually quitting, you just start doing the bare minimum.

This is what quiet quitting means. Do the bare minimum. Do not take pride in a job well done. See what you can get away with. In an economy where jobs are going begging, and where many workers have still not returned to their offices, quiet quitting has an appeal.

And yet, these young people, who do not have a track record of good performance, are heading for an iceberg. If you think that the labor market will always be quite so strong, you are wrong.

Polumbo continues:

Real wages are falling. Housing, groceries, gas and other necessities are increasingly unaffordable, thanks to inflation. And the economy has been mediocre at best and calamitous at worst in the early years of this generation’s careers.

All that said, “quiet quitting” is a terrible idea that’s only going to leave these young people much, much worse off. We’re in a recession, by the conventional definition, and while jobs numbers remain strong, it sure looks like that could change. Soon. And when it does, guess who’ll be the first name management picks for layoffs?

Yes, indeed. You can get away with it now, but what is going to happen when your company needs to lay people off? Your name will move to the top of the list.

Being children of social media, these slackers have gotten into bragging about their indolence:

That’s right: the “quiet quitters” who racked up TikTok views by not only slacking at work and doing the bare minimum but bragging about it extremely publicly.

Even those who didn’t post about their “quiet quitting” exploits may still be in trouble. When times get tough, it’s the underachievers and “bare minimum” folks who are the first out the door. That’s the sad fate many are setting themselves up for if the economy continues to head south.

They’re also sabotaging their long-term economic and career prospects.

Polumbo shares some of the facts of life, for the Gen Zers who suffered through America’s debilitating educational system, and who know nothing about hard work and who know everything about getting away with doing less:

You don’t get promoted by doing the bare minimum. Why would you? When an opportunity opens up at your company, the boss is obviously going to elevate the hard workers, the dedicated employees, the hustlers — not promote the entitled Gen Zer who does as little as possible.

It’s also Econ 101 that your productivity as a worker strongly corresponds with your earnings over the long run. Why? Well, in a competitive market, if you hustle and your employer still won’t pay you for the additional value you’re creating, competitors have a profit incentive to poach you and capture that gain.

Or they have an incentive to hire you at a higher wage if you go out and apply for new jobs at the higher level you’re already demonstrating. And when businesses can make a profit by doing something, you can be damn sure they’re going to do it.

That’s why going “above and beyond” is, by definition, how you get ahead.

That’s the formula for success. Do more than you need to do. Go above and beyond.

The media is filling up with stories about work/life balance, about the joys of remote work, about how much fun it is to work at home. It’s a trap. Those who get caught in it will see their career prospects drying up.

Quiet quitting, like working at home, and work/life balance, is a formula for failure. Just because it’s the latest thing on TikTok does not mean you should sacrifice your life to it.


Randomizer said...

Quiet Quitting: Being as lazy as possible without getting fired. It almost sounds virtuous, like the employee is taking a principled stand and sounds much better than slacking or gold-bricking.

DeNihilist said...

Well if California Is the natural leader of trends in the USA, then working from home will be obligatory!

Anonymous said...

The old soviet era Russian joke: We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.

Callmelennie said...

The fact that it is the latest thing on Tik Tok is the very reason a Zoomer should avoid it like the Plague

Uncle Bill said...

Eh, I have a somewhat different take on this. When I was working, if I had a meeting out of town that ended in the afternoon, I would hurry to the airport, catch my connecting flights, and get home at 11pm or midnight. Next morning, I would drag myself into work, and do a full day's work. I had an okay career, but saw others who did not work as hard, or accomplish as much, get promoted ahead of me because they had the right connections, looked good, and talked a good game. For my efforts, I was laid off at age 62 as my job was in the process of being moved to India (which was a disaster, but that's another story). If I had to do it again, I would not have worked as hard as I did, spent so many long hours, or so much time out of town. If you want to call that quiet quitting, I would have quietly quit.