Quiet quitter: Is that who you want to be?

Old habits within the workplace have found a resurgence in the mainstream media. Although this phenomenon always has existed, it has found a trendy, new name.

“Quiet quitting,” as it is lovingly called, is when a worker has decided to limit their job output to only items strictly listed within their job description. Workers who adopt this practice love the phrase, “That’s not my job.”

The Maxwell Leadership Executive podcast episode No. 206 asks if this is an employee problem or a leadership problem. A Harvard Business Review article says, “Quiet Quitting Is About Bad Bosses, Not Bad Employees.”

I disagree. I think this intentional practice is about bad bosses and bad employees. Maybe neither group of people are bad. However, they might be ignorantly choosing poor work habits.

Bad Bosses

According to the HBR article, employees quietly quit when they feel undervalued and unappreciated. Leading people is all about people.

When leaders embrace the value of relationships, trust will be created and profits will increase. If you can connect and motivate multiple team members to run the same race you’re running, you will go further, faster than if you were running alone.

Bad Employees

We can only control ourselves. When we choose to quit quietly, we violate our character and integrity. Is this who we want to be?

Work is challenging, especially when we feel overworked or underappreciated, but we must press through. We could be creating bad habits that will be tough to change when we move to a new job or organization.

I am embarrassed to admit that I have quietly quit in the past. One example was during the turn of the century when I was a computer programmer, working through the Y2K challenges.

To successfully reprogram the computers to accept the year 2000, we were strongly encouraged to work 80 hours per week during the last four months of 1999. I had a 6-month-old baby at home, plus two toddlers. Thankfully I also had a supportive husband who is a great dad and could handle the chaos for a bit.

Our team met the deadline and successfully reprogrammed the computer systems so that the business continued as usual on Jan. 1, 2000. However, I was exhausted, and I missed my personal life. I desperately needed time alone and with my family. After the new year, I chose to “find balance” and “set boundaries” — aka I quietly quit.

Thankfully, I realized that doing the minimum to complete my job responsibilities is not who I am. I am creative and motivated to go above and beyond. I can’t stay in this slump, be a good employee and be proud of my work.

How did I get out of the “quiet quitting” attitude?

I created and prioritized my life boundaries. My work is important, and so is my family. I can do both. My husband and I scheduled routine date nights. I added the kid’s events to my calendar and found ways to attend.

I found fun and rewarding projects at my job. During this time, I consumed learning and development books. This obsession led me to create dynamic training programs for co-workers and clients. I can thank 1999 for guiding me toward my life’s passion.

I had a boss who wasn’t afraid to have tough conversations with me to discuss my thoughts and attitudes. She challenged me to be bigger and better. (Thank you, Sheri).

How about you? Are you quietly quitting on anything? Is this who you want to be?

Remember, this is just a bad habit. Now that you know the dangers, you can adjust your course. Choose a path that will increase your character and integrity. This decision might direct you toward your life’s passion.