One of the most positive social trends that I have seen over the past couple of years has been increasing awareness around mental health and burnout. More and more individuals are speaking up against all-consuming work lives and are taking back their power to ensure that they look after themselves first. There have been so many conversations about this in the sector which is fantastic – this is something that must continue as we slowly move towards working cultures that are more sustainable and healthier overall.
However, not everyone is able to simply quit a job or take a sabbatical, often circumstances can keep you there even if you are feeling burned out and underappreciated. In these cases, we’ve seen a rise in what they’re calling ‘quiet quitting’ – which is something that has become a heated debate in recent weeks.
What is Quiet Quitting?
The idea of quiet quitting is that you aren’t quitting your job entirely, but rather you’re quitting anything above and beyond your stated job duties – your JD, person specification even. In other words, you’re no longer going above and beyond to overperform, you’re no longer taking on tasks that aren’t actually part of your role, and you’re simply not subscribing to a culture of overwork.
This mindset shift is a response to a feeling of mental burnout and it represents an attempt to get back to a more reasonable work life that is appropriate for what you’re getting paid. Those people who are quiet quitting might not even tell anyone about what they’re doing – but rather will simply pull back personally so that they can focus more on their own self-care.
Is Quiet Quitting a Good Thing?
This is a difficult question to answer because if you’re even considering this in the first place, it means that you’re in a working culture that is taking more than its fair share. In an ideal world, we would all have work lives that were sustainable and that allowed for a healthy balance – but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
On the one hand, it could be suggested that quiet quitting is simply admitting defeat – that you’re not tough enough to stick it out and fight the system. Others argue that it’s a cowardly way of handling the situation and that you should just quit if you’re that unhappy.
However, I would argue that quiet quitting is neither of these things. Rather, it’s a strategic way of dealing with an unhealthy work culture and taking back some control. It’s a way of looking after yourself when no one else is and recognising that your mental health is more important than any job.
Of course, this isn’t an ideal solution – and it’s not something that I would recommend as a long-term strategy. But in all circumstances, it’s important that you put yourself first. Self-care and mental health is always going to be more important than your productivity and so it’s crucial that you monitor this and take actions to improve how you feel when at work and when you’re outside of the office.
Life is too short to be completely burned out by your work and if you’re considering quiet quitting – then it’s time to start looking proactively for more inclusive and understanding organisations that place wellbeing at the forefront of their priorities.