Quiet Quitting

When you think about the idea of quiet quitting, and sticking with it, that just seems to me to be a soul-sucking activity.

If you keep going back to the same job that you can’t stand and you’re producing at low levels because you don’t like the way you’re compensated, do something better for yourself!

David: Hi and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, co-host Jay McFarland and I will be discussing Quiet Quitting. (Whispers) Hi Jay. Welcome.

Jay: Yeah. Hey, David. It’s great to talk to you. We live in a world where these new terms pop up and keeping up with the terms is so difficult. So I think, first of all, we should probably define it for people. If they haven’t heard the term quiet quitting, what is it referring to?

David: Okay. Well, I looked this up before we got on here because I wanted to have a definition that isn’t just me talking off the top of my head. Basically what they said online, when you Google it, the first one that came up said, quiet quitting refers to a rising trend where employees are doing the bare minimum at work, a reversal of the tendency to go above and beyond in the workplace.

So that’s kind of a long-winded definition. Another one that I saw said employees who put no more effort into their jobs than absolutely necessary. And I thought that existed for a long time, right? That’s not a new concept. I think the term is new and I hate the term. I really do. When I hear quiet quitting, it just makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

I’m very. uncomfortable with the term. I don’t know how you feel about it.

Jay: Well, you know, it’s interesting. I put together a management course 20 years ago, and I had my own name for it. I called it minimum expectations mode. So not as fancy as quiet quitting. But I believe that as a result of poor management, poor training, those types of things, employees would slip into this minimum expectations mode where they’re going to show up to work, they’re going to do as little as possible, stay under the radar as much as they can, collect a paycheck and then go home. And do that as long as they, can until eventually, you know they’re going to get fired if the company is tracking any of that.

David: Yeah. And I think that whole idea of people just sort of doing the minimum, that’s existed forever. I think it’s the title of this term that sort of bothers me. Because it implies that you’ve actually quit quietly and you’re really not doing what it is that you’re paid to do.

And the thing that I find most frustrating about this, is not the impact that it’s going to have on the employer. It’s the impact that it’s going to have on the person who is engaging in this sort of behavior. Because if you think about it, if I go to work every day with the idea of doing the very bare minimum to do as little as possible, collect my check and go home.

What does that do for me as a person? What does that do to my ability to grow and potentially thrive or whatever? Some people don’t care about that. Some people don’t want to grow or thrive. And if that’s the situation, and if they’re doing the bare minimum and if that’s acceptable to their employer, then they can probably keep doing that for a really long time.

But I think for people who actually want to excel, want to be really good at what they do, then this should make them a little uncomfortable as well.

Jay: Yeah, it’s such a good point. You’re maintaining self-esteem while working at a job where you know you could be doing more and you should be doing more. Because they’re paying you to do more and you are not.

I think that wreaks havoc on the soul of most people. I think it’s important though to talk about how you end up in this place. When I was much younger, we had a manager who was never happy with anything. You knew that he was going to be critical of everything that you did.

And the net result of that was we knew we could never win. In fact, we started saying that amongst ourselves. You can never win with him. And so when you can never win, you’re going to go into quiet quitting, or minimum expectations mode. Because why would you try harder? You know what’s the point of that?

If I know that I’m going to get criticized no matter what, then why on earth would I go out of my way to do more? And the turnover rate in this company was just amazing, because everybody wanted to get out and they were a quiet quitter until they did get out.

David: Yeah, and I think it’s sort of natural that when someone is not happy at their job, that’s going to happen.

But if that starts happening, I think that anyone who has some integrity and some motivation should probably recognize that as a sign to be getting as many resumes out as possible, as quickly as possible. Right now, if people want to get a job, they can certainly do it. There are lots of openings, there are a lot of places that will hire. And if you’re not happy where you are, then yeah, you should absolutely seek that out.

If you’ve been working at a place that you feel treats you poorly, if you don’t feel like you’re being compensated adequately for the job that you’re doing, my personal feeling is the solution there is not to do less and just continue to collect. It would be to say, okay, well how can I potentially do more of what I’m capable of and get paid more?

So whether that means having conversations with your employer to see if there are additional opportunities, maybe the position that you’re being paid to do only pays a certain amount. Well, if you were to take on additional responsibilities there, could you be paid more?

Sometimes the answer will be yes. Sometimes the answer will be no. There are also companies, particularly I think large companies, that tend to pigeonhole people. They’ll get them into a particular, groove, they’ll get them into a particular slot and they’ll have them on a particular track.

And sometimes people that are on that track say, Hey, you know what? I’d rather be over here. I’d rather be in a different department. I’d rather be exploring different things. And they’re sort of like, no, this is where you are.

And in those situations, what those people generally do, if they’re serious about their careers and they really want to grow and excel, and they want to be earning more and they want to be producing more and they want to feel good about what they’re doing is they will then apply to other companies for the position they want.

And once again, right now is a great time to be able to do that because companies are looking for good people. And by good people, sometimes it just means showing up, right?

There are a lot of companies whose employees just don’t even bother showing up anymore. That’s worse than quiet quitting. That’s, I don’t even know what you’d call that.

Jay: Quitting!

David: They’re just not showing up. It’s quitting. Without quitting. It’s like they still think they’re working there or whatever. But they just don’t show up. So I think a lot of it has to do with the person. And for people who also don’t like the idea of not working up to their potential, and not creating and producing at a level they know they’re capable of. It’s a good thought to have to say, okay, well what can I do to change this?

And whether it is looking for other opportunities within the current organization. Whether it’s seeking out other opportunities, those are probably going to be the best alternatives.

Working it out with your employer, if that’s possible. Maybe you want to start there. Seeking promotion within the organization would be second. And then finding work elsewhere.

I think those are the three primary alternatives. Because when you think about the idea of quiet quitting, and sticking with it, that just seems to me to be a soul-sucking activity.

If you keep going back to the same job that you can’t stand and you’re producing at low levels because you don’t like the way you’re compensated, do something better for yourself.

Jay: Yeah, I agree. It’s miserable. I can tell you from my experience, money has very little to do with it. Those people who are making the salary that they were making, they were probably excited and accepted it when they were hired.

David: Right.

Jay: So what is it that has changed? Now, there’s a couple of things that can change. If it’s a personal situation at home, medical issues, husband loses their job or something, well that can definitely make money rise to the top. My experience is though, that what makes money a concern is poor management, poor training, and poor work conditions.

So I used to run 42 pizza restaurants and I would go and tour these stores. And I would go in and ask people, just the frontline staff, how do you like their job? And if most of them said, I don’t get paid enough, then I knew I had a management problem, not a money problem.

Because I’ve learned that good management drives money, and concerns down. Because people would rather be paid in job fulfillment, in, you know, feeling recognized, all of those types of things. And if they’re not getting that, then money rises right to the top. So I think it’s a mistake sometimes that we make to say, oh, it’s a money issue. You know, bad economic times can certainly move money to the top. But I’ve learned in my experience, typically it’s bad management.

It’s not what they’re getting in their paychecks.

David: That’s a great point. Because so often people sort of default to money as the reason, even when they may know in their heart of hearts that that’s really not it. But if people are being treated well and if they enjoy their work environment, they’re going to be a lot less likely to complain about the money. Because they like going to work every day.

If you hate going to work, then no amount of money is going to make it better. It’s like, okay, I’m making this. It’s still not enough, because I can’t stand the environment. So that’s what people I think have to look at.

And I know employees and employers, particularly in the last few years, with inflation going the way that it is. You’ve got people who are, either they are being paid more money, they’re getting these increases, but the increases are barely enough to help them fill their gas tanks. In those situations, yeah, I’m making more money, but it’s still not enough. And the companies are struggling because they may not be able to bring in enough revenue to be able to pay their people more.

So there’s this cycle that people are going through. But I think what you said is really important. If people can create an environment where the employees are feeling valued, they’re feeling like their work is worthwhile. If they can maintain their motivation, if they can actually even contribute more and accomplish more where they are, they can then potentially use those accomplishments to get a better job. Because they will be creating and producing in the world something that’s better than what they’re doing when they’re doing very little.

Jay: Yeah, awesome, awesome point. And just that you kind of alluded to this as an option with quiet quitting. In my experience, I actually have really liked the quiet quitters around me because it makes me very easy to shine in that organization.

And so when you’re surrounded by people who are in that minimum expectations mode, but you decide, you know what? I’m going to do their job and my job. Or I’ve had bosses that are in minimum expectations mode. And so I go up to ’em and I say, Hey, is there something that I can take off your plate?

Because I’ve mastered everything on my plate. And now I’m like, how about I do that inventory for you? How about I take that? And so then when that person leaves, and they will because they’re a quiet quitter and they’ll be taken out. Well, I already know their job. I’m already fully trained. And I’ve done this through several organizations and worked up the ladder in a very rapid way because I’m surrounded by quiet quitters.

So you can look at this as an incredible opportunity, or you can just join the bunch and be a quiet quitter yourself.

David: Yeah. And sometimes it’s the employer. Sometimes it’s the employee, sometimes it’s a combination. So when I talk about this topic, I’m not looking to indict anybody here. But just recognize that if you’re thinking this way, it indicates a problem that’s probably bigger than the company that you’re working with and the work that you’re doing.

And just ask yourself, Hey, listen, wouldn’t I be a lot happier and a lot better off if I worked somewhere that I liked, where I was being valued for what I do and I was being paid proportionately to the work that I’m contributing to the organization.

Jay: Yeah. And be honest. Be honest with yourself and be honest with your employer.

It’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to you if you’ve gone into this quiet quitter mode. You know, let them know what’s going on and maybe they will step up and maybe they will solve the problem. If not, they’re going to know you’re looking elsewhere. And they can prepare and you can prepare.

This kind of hiding and lurking in the shadows, you know, just trying to collect a paycheck. It’s a terrible way to live, as you pointed out, and I don’t think it’s fair if they’re paying you. I’ve always believed if you’re going to pay me to do something, I’m going to rise to the level of whatever that expectation is.

David: Yeah. And I think there are people who are motivated like that, who feel exactly the same way.

And there are other people who feel like, okay, for what I’m doing, they need to be paying me more. And if that’s a situation, and if the place you’re working now is not able or willing to do that, then the smart thing to do is find some place that will. Because there are places out there that will value you and that will pay you maybe close to what you think you’re worth.

The rest of us start businesses of our own.

Jay: Yeah, that’s a great point. One other thought, as I’ve always believed, that sometimes you don’t know your value until you threaten to leave. And I’ve had this experience, right? I was sitting there thinking, I’m not making enough money to pay my bills.

Another job comes up, I go to my employer and I’m like, I’m going to take this other job. And they’re like, what? And they offered to double my salary right there. And I’m like, Do you mean that over the past four years I could have been making double if I would’ve just asked? And so

David: You squeaked.

Jay: I think that’s such an important point.

David: Yeah, it is. Crazy.

Jay: Well listen, how do people find out more?

David: Well, you can go to TopSecrets.com/call. That’s TopSecrets.com/call. Schedule a call with myself or my team. We’d be happy to walk through whatever it is that you’re dealing with, and see if we can help. And if we can, we’ll let you know that. Look forward to having the conversation either way.

Jay: All right, David, it’s been a great conversation today. Thank you.

David: Thank you, Jay.

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    1 Response to "Alternatives to Quiet Quitting"

    • David Blaise

      What are your thoughts about quiet quitting? Have you ever done it? Do you have employees who have done it? Let us know in the comment box below…

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