Do you hate your job? Why ‘quiet-quitting’ is not the answer

Instead of the so-called Great Resignation, some disgruntled or bored employees are supposedly opting for a passive-aggressive approach described as quiet quitting.

Malingering, or putting in the least amount of effort on the job, however, is hardly a path toward fulfillment.

That is the assessment of British psychiatrist Max Pemberton, a Daily Mail columnist who lamented a U.K. survey supposedly indicating that 91 percent of employees there feel disconnected from their jobs.

In an essay published on Sunday that you can review in its entirety and form your own conclusions, Dr. Pemberton recalled that workers began to reassess their priorities during and after COVID-19 lockdowns when many found themselves working at home. “They mentally checked out of their job and now feel emboldened not to pretend otherwise.”

Quiet quitting means “pushing of the boundaries to see how little you can do without getting fired,” he asserted.

There are many factors involved, but sizable numbers of Americans dissatisfied with various aspects of their working conditions in a variety of industries also gave notice during this time.

A significant part of that cohort now apparently regrets that decision because of the metaphorical discovery that post-Great Resignation pastures weren’t always greener.

As BPR Wire has previously and separately asserted, “Remote options come with the benefit of flexibility and free time, which workers are eager to spend looking after their own mental and physical health, as well as spend with family and see to childcare needs at home.”

Pemberton, a physician who works for the government-run National Health Service, cautioned that quiet quitting, because a laborer might feel overworked or undervalued, is anything but liberating or perhaps even healthy:

“Doing something you think you hate but not doing anything to change things — instead mounting a quiet protest in this way — is a sure-fire way to feel miserable. You become less engaged, less enthusiastic, first in the task and later in other areas of your life too.”

He continued: “You stop trying to find meaning and purpose in what you do — stop trying to see the good in your job, or consider the value of work for the sake of gainful mental engagement — and instead become an embittered automaton.”

In a life lesson derived from a loathed nursing home job earlier in his career, Dr. Pemberton explained that it dawned on him “to focus on the positive aspects of the job, rather than continue telling myself I hated every waking second. I changed my attitude to the job — and this in turn helped me change how I felt about it.”

He went on to recall that using the same tactic in a later job, he was unable to identify anything positive, “so I knew I’d done my best, and rather than putting up with being miserable and bored, I handed my notice in with no regrets.”

On this theme, he concluded that that kind of decision-making is a win-win: “I wonder if the legion of quiet quitters shouldn’t do the same: try to find the positive in a job and engage with it. If after your best efforts that fails, then you know it’s time to say goodbye — your boss will probably thank you for it.”

At the beginning of his article, the medical doctor contended that quiet quitting began in CCP-controlled China:

“The trend has spread on social media but was inspired by China’s TangPing or ‘lying flat’ movement, which encouraged workers to mentally check out of their job and do no more than was strictly necessary. It was prompted by the country’s shrinking workforce and culture of very long hours, and was deemed such a threat to the economy it has now been censored by the authorities.”

As the columnist alluded to, the work ethic is one way for people to derive purpose and structure from life. Even before the pandemic, however, employees sometimes have also had to put up with unfair or arbitrary work rules as well as irrational hiring and promotion decisions by bosses along with the gatekeeping human resources department. That doesn’t necessarily justify the quiet-quitting approach, depending upon the circumstances.

Employee opportunism is also a factor.

It may be different on the other side of the Atlantic, but Americans have probably encountered quiet quitting, or something along those lines when interacting with some public sector agencies, although the private sector is not so far behind in that aspect.

A separate, more recent phenomenon is when employees try to compel management to adopt woke policies or politics that detract from the bottom line.

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