4 Mindset Shifts for Young Workers Thinking Of Quietly Quitting
Have you been thinking about “quietly quitting?” It seems like everywhere you go these days, someone is talking about the recent trend of “quiet quitting.” If you’re unsure about what exactly it means to quit quietly then you’re not alone because there doesn’t seem to be one strict definition.
Some say “quiet quitting” is doing only your job, simply doing the tasks you’re paid to do and no longer doing anything outside of your specific job duties. Others say it’s not just about the work you do or don’t do; it’s about how you feel about the work—not beating yourself up when you leave early or saying “no” to your manager.
It’s not surprising many young people are making the decision to “quietly quit.” A recent survey conducted by Indeed reported that 52% of all workers feel burned out, up 9% from a pre-Covid survey, and Gallup recently reported that “quiet quitters” make up 50% of the workforce, maybe even more.
While burnout has been on the rise for many years, it seems like the one-two punch of the rise of technology coupled with the pandemic has really pushed so many hard-working individuals to start to reevaluate their relationship to work.
Technology has allowed us to be connected all the time and has made certain aspects of life easy and convenient, which is wonderful. Yet, the ability to be connected all day, every day has created expectations of each other to be available all day, every day.
Then came social media, and suddenly there was a new trend: #hustling. The ultimate goal for the #hustler is to work really hard now with the belief that someday you’ll be rich and, therefore, happy. This concept created the false belief that you’re not valued unless you’re productive and successful.
Something needed to change but is the answer really to “quietly quit?” Is the best solution to address burnout and job dissatisfaction through disengagement and adopting a “one leg out the door” approach?
What if you did something else? What if instead of “quietly quitting,” you made some mindset shifts around your relationship to work so you can take care of yourself (in all the ways – physically, mentally, and emotionally) and remain engaged in what you do?
If you’re thinking about “quietly quitting,” make these four mindset shifts instead to help you stay engaged at work (even if you’re looking for work elsewhere) so you don’t burn a bridge:
1. Focus On Creating Agile Boundaries
One of the big reasons why so many people were feeling burned out prior to the pandemic is that there was a real lack of clarity around “this is work time” and “this is my time.” Before most people were working from home, setting limits on how many hours you worked was a huge challenge for so many young workers. In our post-pandemic world, it seems like the lines are almost non-existent.
This is why so many people are wanting to just focus on a certain number of tasks because they know without boundaries, they would be working all the time. It’s always good to set boundaries, but you want these boundaries to be agile. Instead of simply drawing a line in the sand and declaring “this is all I’m doing” or believing if you have “free time,” the best thing for you to do is work, set agile boundaries around the amount of work you can do at each point of your life.
Asking yourself right now, “What’s my bandwidth?” Work doesn’t have to be all or nothing; it can be your priority one week because you’ve got a lot of deadlines, and then the next week, you can take a step back and stop at 5 p.m. each day.
Managing burnout is about finding some balance between building a career you love and making sure you’re taking care of yourself mentally. Some weeks or months, you’ll have the drive and determination to get things done, but then you have to make space for recovery.
2. Be Strategic When You Go Above And Beyond
Sometimes just doing what you’re asked is right for you, but there are other times when going above and beyond can help you stand out in a crowd. You burn out when you say “yes” to every project or request, and that’s not going to work long-term, but sometimes your bosses need to see you shine.
This is when being strategic about what you agree to do and not do is really critical. There are two kinds of “work” at work: visible work and invisible work. Visible work is those projects everyone in the office is talking about and will get you in a room with the company’s decision-makers. Invisible work is still valuable, but it’s the work that goes on behind the scenes that need to get done, but no one knows who’s doing it; they just know it’s now done.
If you’re feeling like you can no longer say “yes” to every project, but you still want to be noticed, then when someone approaches you about a project, don’t say “yes” or “no” right away. Say “maybe” and then do some research to see what’s the ROI (return on investment) of you taking time to focus on this project.
This will preserve your energy and also allow you to stand out from your co-workers.
3. Don’t Stay In The Negative
You know the expression, “Words matter,” well they really really do. While the intention of “quiet quitting” is good, the words and the feelings behind those words can create a negative connotation.
Making the decision to pull back and refocus your energy isn’t the same as disengaging. It’s really important that as you set boundaries around work, you also remain engaged in your job. Even if you’re unhappy at work and looking for another job, being “half in and half out” in your day-to-day is going to make it hard for you to get up in the morning and want to log in.
Whether you love or hate your job, apathy doesn’t help anyone. Set your limits, protect your mental health, AND figure out how to stay engaged in the work in front of you. Focus on the underlying reasons why you do the work you do because the work you do impacts someone, and that’s important.
4. Start Putting Value On Play And Rest
The more being a #hustler was glorified, the less important play and rest became. If you’re a #hustler, you value “getting things done,” “only sleeping four hours a night,” and the mentality that “work is life.” Somewhere along the way, we stopped valuing daydreaming and playing; we stopped seeing rest and simply doing nothing as important components of a healthy lifestyle.
You can be successful and achieve your goals and find time to play and to rest. It starts with you no longer valuing yourself based on how much you work or how much money you make. Redefine this idea of the “American Dream” and focus on your dream of how you want to live your life.
Don’t assume that “reaching this goal or that goal” will make you happy. Many people become obsessed with one point in time; they set a goal and hustle, hustle, hustle to make that happen, and then once that’s achieved, they’re onto the next goal. But while you’re hustling, your life is happening, and you need to enjoy it.
There’s nothing wrong with “quiet quitting.” Social psychologists have been studying the impact of burnout for many decades, so it makes sense that after the last couple of years, people are taking a stand and refocusing their energy toward better mental health. The key is learning how to “quietly quit” while also staying excited and engaged in the work that you do.
Resources for Young Workers Thinking Of Quietly Quitting