Positively Speaking: Quiet quitting

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By Toby Moore

For Capital Region Independent Media

Toby Moore

Have you ever heard of “quiet quitting?”

Quiet quitting is when you do what is required of you at your place of work and no more.

Some describe quiet quitting as a coping mechanism to avoid burnout from chronic overworking. According to psychologists and advocates of quiet quitting, it’s a way to put mental health first, emphasizing that your life is not your work and your worth is not based on your productivity.

Mental health is crucial; everyone is different, and the solution to one person’s problem may not be the solution to another person’s problem.

As I pondered quiet quitting, I had the nagging question: If I were to become a quiet quitter, does that mean I could no longer go “above and beyond?” Could I still “go the extra mile?”

I remember when I was looking for a job once, and my father’s advice to me was to tell the manager, “I’ll show up early; I’ll leave late, I’ll do more than is expected of me, and I’ll do it all with a smile.” And then actually do it.

If I was a quiet quitter, could I still do that? 

One quiet quitter said, “Quiet quitting isn’t about quitting because we literally still show up to work; we just don’t go the extra mile because we aren’t paid for it.”

Being overworked and underappreciated is an awful, degrading experience, and refusing to go the extra mile is a way to take back control or at least make you feel like you have control.

On the other hand, earning a promotion is usually because the person who earns it is known for going the extra mile even when they weren’t paid to do so.

Another quiet quitter hilariously said, “I thought quiet quitting was when someone was employed but stopped working. Then I learned that quiet quitting isn’t quitting; it’s simply doing all your work without doing any extra duties! Quiet quitting is literally just doing your JOB!”

I was laughing after I read that. It’s a good point! When you put it like that, it can make a lot of sense! I guess it all depends on what you want out of life.

I heard an old saying not long ago, “Make yourself so valuable at work that you can’t be fired.” How do I do that?

Some of your value as an employee depends on the type of job and duty that you are performing. There are some jobs where you can be valuable to the team and practice quiet quitting, and then there are other jobs where quiet quitting won’t be compatible.

If I practice quiet quitting, can I still be as valuable to the team as those who are going the extra mile? Probably not. Do you think a quiet quitter is valued by their employer more or less than employees who go above and beyond?

It’s a fact that productivity partially measures our value in the workplace.

Who is more likely to get the next promotion? A quiet quitter or someone who goes above and beyond?

Author Gary Ryan Blair said, “What is the one thing you can do to persuade people that you are the one for the job, the one thing you can do to earn someone’s vote, the one thing you can do to persuade people to open the doors of opportunity? The answer is as simple as it is profound. Develop a reputation for going the extra mile.”

Can you be a quiet quitter and go the extra mile? Are the two concepts mutually exclusive? I can’t say for sure, but it certainly seems like it. It appears that quiet quitting is a practice that will lead to fewer opportunities in the workplace and, I suspect, out of the workplace, too.

Is quiet quitting bad? It all depends on what you want out of life. For some people, quiet quitting may be a good method to pursue mental health, and for other people, they may experience greater mental health when they are fully engaged, going the extra mile, and doing their best.

Toby Moore is a columnist, the star of Emmy-nominated “A Separate Peace,” and the CEO of Cubestream Inc.

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