Quiet Quitting or Loud Leaving?

            Have you heard about the hot new thing called “quiet quitting?” It’s definitely hot and new – at least, that’s what the new generation thinks.

            For those of us who have been around, we called it “gold-bricking” or “slowdown.” I knew of a company whose policy was “just enough just in time.” The company’s policy was quiet quitting before it was a thing. Seemed to work for them.

            I don’t get it, really. I mean, I suppose every generation has to reinvent all the stuff that has worked for every preceding generation since cro-magnons stood upright. Can you still say cro-magnon?

            Anyway, “quiet quitting” as the kids call it today is when you show up to your job and do just enough. It’s like getting a C- in high school. No initiative. No innovative thought. You show up and punch it at nine o’clock and you punch out at five o’clock on the dot. You don’t answer your phone before or after hours. And you take your weekends and your vacation time for yourself.

            You certainly don’t go out of your way to help, as that could inevitably lead to more work but not more appreciation or money.

            From my perspective, if you are not being valued by your employer and you are following the minimal qualifying rules, quiet quitting sounds like an effective and healthy strategy for maintaining work-life balance.

            But quiet-quitting probably does not bring satisfaction or happiness. It probably leaves one feeling unfulfilled and a bit guilty and resentful as you fail to reach the heights that are likely attainable in your chosen field.

            If that is the case, then I am a proponent of loud leaving.

            Often, folks come to see me because the great dissatisfaction with their work lives has led to poor performance reviews, disciplinary problems, or relational problems with co-workers. All of these issues are clues that there is a general dissatisfaction with the job manifesting itself in these destructive ways.        

            Typically, after a person tells me their story I ask a number of questions. The most important is this: do you still want to work there?

            Interestingly, it is often a question that they have never asked themselves, presumably because they think the answer is obvious. Of course (they believe) they still want to work there. But when I ask them why they want to stay, they usually let out a nervous laugh and say something like, “Gee, maybe I don’t want to.” And then they go on to describe everything they don’t like about the job and how it has changed from when they started.

            The problems at work have simply become an expression of their inner belief that they need to leave. The heck with quiet quitting, it is time to get out.

            Often, though, folks feel constrained by the financial and security implications of leaving.  I can tell you this. Never once have I had a client who voluntarily left a job because they were done with the misery who did not land on their feet financially. Never once.

            So I am a believer in loud leaving. It is healthy. It is sound strategy. And it leads to better living.

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