Quiet quitting needs to cut it out

A.J. Newth, Staff Writer

Are you an overachiever?

For many college students, the answer is yes. The college environment pushes students to do their best, whether that be in classes or extracurriculars. But what about when it comes to the workplace?

Quiet quitting is a trend where employees are doing the bare minimum at work, a rebuttal of the tendency to go above and beyond in the workplace. It is the belief that once a shift ends, workers simply go home and disconnect from the office as opposed to staying late or bringing work home, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

The biggest argument for introducing quiet quitting into the lives of employees is that work-life balance is important, and workers should stop putting their whole lives into their jobs. Even though Americans are statistically working less than they did in the past, with the average work year shrinking by more than 200 hours, the U.S. still worships “workism” and it is draining all employees alike, according to The Atlantic.

The idea of quiet quitting is just a mere excuse for laziness in the workplace and life. It’s foolish for individuals to spend their whole lives working hard to get to a place they feel accomplished, only to decide that’s where the hard work ends and is substituted for the bare minimum. People who participate in quiet quitting are throwing away years of struggle only to be average and regular in their jobs instead of extraordinary.

As a college student, I find this notion unimaginable. My peers here at Quinnipiac University live off of the concept of overachieving and becoming the best. I find that everything in college is a competition in one way or another, so the thought of pulling back and not putting in the effort has never crossed my mind.

I understand that work-life balance is important. Americans are working longer than anyone else in the industrialized world, with less vacation time, longer days and later retirement. We see the effects of overworking in our society through road rage, workplace shootings and a rising number of children placed in daycare as well as a demand for afterschool activities for children whose parents work late hours, according to ABC News.

It’s no lie that Americans are overstressed and overworked. A survey by the Bureau of Labor statistics in 1999 revealed that 11 million Americans in the workforce reported working over 59 hours per week. Overworking can take a big toll on mental health, which is why work-life balance has become increasingly popular in society as a movement to educate workers on the importance of knowing there is life outside of the office.

I think it’s possible to maintain a positive work-life balance while still overachieving in a work environment. Some ways to achieve this balance are exercising and meditating, allocating time correctly and refocusing the structure of your life. All of these can be done while still doing exceptional work in the office, according to Forbes.

Companies have witnessed this change in motivation when it comes to their workers, and they have moved to put mechanisms in place to prevent burnout, according to Entrepreneur. But are the boards of directors, CEOs and top managers really looking out for the employees on significantly lower levels than them? Are company heads really doing enough?

Work-life balance is not the only reason for quiet quitting, which begs the question, is this trend at the fault of the employers? My advice to managers and CEOs who struggle with quiet quitting in their workplaces is to step back to see the full picture of the work environment they have created. Are employees being treated well? Is the benefits package sufficient for the work they’re doing? Maybe if employers actually paid their workers on the basis of abilities and accomplishments, employees would be less inclined to disconnect from their jobs.

In recent years, there has been a visible change in the workplace. Fewer people are inclined to work, more people choosing to stay home while others choose to travel instead of finding a stable job, according to Time. This is the result of a global pandemic.

The pandemic served as a turning point for many workers in America. A combination of the ability to work from the comfort of home and stimulus checks, as well as the fear instilled from how quickly life can change, COVID-19 left a lasting impact on the workforce. Employees are reconsidering what matters to them, and quiet quitting is a simple way to put other things first in life instead of work, according to NPR.

If you’re considering quiet quitting, at that point it’s better to quit altogether. Although employees are not disengaging from their core tasks, quiet quitters refuse to go above and beyond them. This can be detrimental for companies because refusing to go beyond the call of duty destroys any competitive advantage among other companies. It’s less stressful for a business to cut its loose ends than maintain a workspace where every worker is psychologically disconnected, according to Harvard Business Review.

The reason I find quiet quitting so difficult to understand is that I would never stop putting effort into something I love. The only explanation I have for quiet quitters is that they are in the wrong industry and are unhappy, or their employers are treating them poorly. I look forward to my goals and working hard to achieve them because I know I’m working towards something I enjoy, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.

No company wants a workplace of miserable employees who stop putting in the effort. While choosing to quiet quit, workers increase the workload for colleagues who continue to exceed expectations. Many would view this as unfair, but on behalf of the overachievers, I say bring it on.