So what do quiet quitters or any employee really want? Workers of all levels and professions will tell you what they want from their job is a wage commensurate with the tasks and responsibilities required. They also want and deserve the intangibles: respect, autonomy, a voice and a comfortable cultural environment. The intangibles don’t cost anything, but perhaps a lot of that was shoved aside while employers panicked over supply chain issues, worker output with fewer workers and the unceasing pandemic. Let’s face it, it’s tough to play nice every day, whether employer or employee, when you’re trying to meet both customer demands and job security.
Whether quiet quitting or outright resignation, once we return to the cubicle or home office, the cumulative effect will certainly look different than the pre-COVID environment. I suspect, as many of us do now, that a hybrid of work and workplace will be the new way we perform our duties. However it plays out, there will always be the mental health adjustment days, work-life balance and hopefully the water cooler chat.
There will also always be the slackers and work-dodgers. But none will be as upfront and to the point as Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener who, when asked by his boss to do what he was hired for, often responded, “I prefer not to.”
Jerry A. O’Ryan, MPH, RCP, RRT is a frequent writer on public health, social and medical issues.
Quiet quitting: Passing fad or a workers’ movement?
“Quiet quitting,” “acting your wage,” “inflation-adjusted effort” or whatever else you might call the new phenomenon of workers choosing to do less in the workplace, it appears to be affecting employers across the country and in our communities. Hear from three perspectives on quiet quitting and what it might mean for the future of work.