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Quiet Quitting Isn't New...Just Louder

My friend Annie was way ahead of her time, I realized, after learning all about the latest workplace trend, Quiet Quitting, from the New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and other media outlets including Linkedin which says, ”In a nutshell, "quiet quitting" is about rejecting the notion that work has to take over one's life and that employees should go above and beyond what their job descriptions entail."

In a nutshell, "quiet quitting" is about rejecting the notion that work has to take over one's life and that employees should go above and beyond what their job descriptions entail.

Good Lord, who knew this latest and angrier iteration of work-life balance would become a “thing”, back when Annie and I were in our early 30s and worked together at CBS?!

quiet quitting

Annie was my assistant and supported everyone in the department, as well. She came into work promptly at 9 AM, went home promptly at 5 PM, and never left a single piece of work unfinished at the day’s end, no matter the workload. Her genuinely positive attitude and extraordinary work ethic made her beloved and respected by everyone.

Tenderhearted, yet tough as nails, Annie made it clear, without any sense of entitlement, malice, or “I’m mad as hell and am I'm not going to take this anymore” attitude that while she would give no less than 100% of her time and attention to her job within the standard workday, she had no interest in taking her work home with her--although she willingly stayed late a few times when we were really slammed. While virtually everyone in our department worked well past 5 on a regular basis, there was never a hint of resentment toward Annie for leaving…only admiration. She knew who she was and so did we.

So smart, so skilled, and so organized, Annie could have risen through the ranks if she chose to, but she valued her personal life and managed to gracefully create a balance that worked for everyone. There even came a point when, the only way I could get her a more significant salary increase was to promote her to manager, which also meant an increase in responsibilities. She managed the new situation with her same grace and professionalism…and still left promptly at 5 PM.

Fast forward to today’s post-pandemic world and this excerpt from a recent article in the Wall Street Journal: “Not taking your job too seriously has a new name: quiet quitting. The phrase is generating millions of views on TikTok as some young professionals reject the idea of going above and beyond in their careers, labeling their lesser enthusiasm a form of “quitting.” It isn’t about getting off the company payroll, these employees say. In fact, the idea is to stay on it—but focus your time on the things you do outside of the office.”

Granted, although we weren’t living with the same Covid-tainted pressures, Annie and I, things like burnout, unrealistic expectations, corporate politics, and a complete Pandora’s Box of ugly existed, nonetheless. And that’s because human nature really hasn’t changed…the rules have, and with that, values. My advice is to know what YOU value, and live your life accordingly––as Annie did and still does!

1 Comment

Thank you for putting a “name” to what so many of us have been admonished for doing. Balance is the key to a fulfilled life. No job is worth taking over our lives !

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