“The backlash of the silent resignation recalls another attempt by the ruling class to put the working people in their grip: ‘Am I wrong?

By Quentin Fottrell

“When working from home, it’s easy to end up working constantly, which can lead to burnout and worker dissatisfaction”

Dear Moneylist,

I have something to come out of my chest. Please support me.

We have learned a lot from (more than) two years of pandemic life. Among these lessons:

1. We can be really efficient and productive working from home.

2. When working from home, it’s easy to end up working constantly, which can lead to worker burnout and dissatisfaction (hello, big quit).

3. It is important for workers to draw personal and professional boundaries.

When I read this story about the “silent shutdown”, I was struck by how the interviewees were doing the things we were encouraged to do and our employees were encouraged to do: work reasonable hours , not working on holidays and aiming for work/life balance.

The “silent quitters” featured had experienced serious physical and mental health issues associated with their work, and now, after setting some boundaries, are overall happier, healthier people and effective employees. “I still work so hard. I still accomplish so much. I don’t stress and tear myself up internally,” one said.

The purpose of this story seemed to normalize a toxic work environment where people sacrifice themselves and their families in exchange for the chance to gain their employer’s approval.

This follow-up story on the silent ‘blowback’ is filled with quotes from bosses who mourn the death of the ‘hustle culture’ and say silent quitters sell themselves short, and a lead quote from the passionate sleep Arianna Huffington, who says that these people are “stopping living”.

This backlash to silent resignation looks like another attempt by the ruling class to rein in workers.

So, Mr. Moneyist, what do you think of the silent shutdown? Do employees fall asleep at work? Or are they doing something they should have done a long time ago, putting their careers back in their place?

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

Dear Sick and Tired,

At the start of the pandemic, I made a promise to myself: “Don’t worry about things that are beyond your control.” I wore a mask and did whatever was asked of me. I worked from home. I went for a walk around the reservoir in Central Park. And, yes, I dug myself into the job. It was a unique time, and we needed to stick together and weed out misinformation for our readers.

And yet, I was also “quietly quitting” – and I didn’t even know it. How can I know? Because even though my commitment to my work was high, my stress level was surprisingly low. Some days I probably worked too many hours. The other days, I paced myself and took regular breaks, and I finished my day at 6 p.m. sharp. It was not a contradiction. It was a balance. And a healthy one.

But there was a change: I still loved my job, but my job was no longer a God-shaped hole – something that gave me value or identity, and distracted me from all the other great things. of life. Today, I need contact with people more than ever, inside and outside of work. All other things — from office politics to extraneous factors that usually vex or obsess us — have taken a back seat.

Quitting smoking quietly does not mean dodging. This does not mean that people unionize without being officially unionized. It doesn’t even mean disconnect regardless of time limits. It means taking a measured view of your work and not letting it grow bigger than you or the things that matter in your life: family, friends, downtime, our favorite childhood hobbies that we give up when we let’s start our professional life.

I asked Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University and a leading researcher on remote work, his opinion on silent shutdown. He says companies must take responsibility for the emergence of this trend in the first place. “Overall, I think silent abandonment is more embarrassing for companies that it happens to,” he said.

“The big lesson from the pandemic is that for employees working from home, you need good performance appraisal systems,” he added. “When employees are in the office, you can see if they are working in the office, typing, or meeting with co-workers. At home, you can’t see that and we really don’t want a tracking software. surveillance scary because it is nasty and invasive.”

Bloom said companies need to look at their own systems for reviewing an employee’s performance so that both parties feel respected and trusted. “This means regularly evaluating employees through 360-degree reviews in terms of sales, reports, presentations, customer volume, etc., to provide strong follow-up and incentives for employees to work hard and effectively.”

“If an employee can only achieve 50% performance in a job and no one notices, that’s quite embarrassing for the company,” he added. “Employees who talk about it publicly shouldn’t be ashamed – it’s the classic shoot-the-messenger reaction. The company needs to tighten up its performance review process because for every silent quitter, there are undoubtedly 10 other silent loafers.”

Next, I direct your question to Tessa West, a professor of social psychology at New York University with a particular interest in work behavior and author of “Jerks at Work: Toxic Coworkers and What to Do About Them.” healthy development, she told me, but added, “That’s a misuse of a term that really means drawing boundaries.”

The problem, West said, is that people quit in two ways: “The first is more identity-based. It means working less to counter the cultural phenomenon of hustle culture. People who identify as silent quitters often wear it on their sleeves as a statement of the type of person you want to be – and one that will carry you from job to job.

The second is more reactionary to your specific job, West added. “It means giving the boss the middle finger for demanding, somewhat arbitrarily, that he can’t work from home – or some other demand that he says doesn’t make sense.” This type of silent abandonment is counterproductive, she added, due to a lack of two-way communication, as well as a lack of trust.

She clearly disapproves of him. “It reminds me of stonewalling in close relationships – you’re mad at your partner so you shut down, fold your arms, refuse to make eye contact and refuse to commit. That’s one of the biggest divorce predictors. And bosses don’t. It’s not like being stuck. And maybe the boss deserves it, but that doesn’t matter. In that case, West concluded, no one wins.

So quietly quitting requires soul-searching from workers and employers. Companies that want to make silent quitting a battleground for the hearts and minds of employees should learn to quit silently, because they don’t realize there’s room for work. valuable and substantial without the nervous tension that work often brings, and without the “them” versus “us” mindset.

A company that wants to end the “silent quitting” phenomenon doesn’t understand the value of a fully present and engaged employee. It’s a company that doesn’t understand that employees are people, not minions who need to be rushed and micro-managed. Similarly, an employee who says “Not my problem” at 6:01 p.m. is not someone who understands that they are part of a team.

Silent Surrender is a perfect example of employees managing and showing management that there is a third way – an alternative to both slacking off and watching the clock. I hope this is a wake-up call for companies that their people need time and space to expire, and not bring work home with them, or sacrifice their mental health, hobbies or their mental health so that a company can achieve its goals.

The beauty and challenge of quitting smoking quietly is that it will mean different things to different people. Quitting quietly won’t turn a good employee into a bad employee, but it can turn a bad employee into a more controlled employee. In its most positive form, it’s about right-sizing our jobs and managing our careers in ways that help us become happier human beings and more productive employees.

We can draw a line between the two and recognize the difference.

Learn how to shake up your financial routine at the Best New Ideas in Money Festival on September 21-22 in New York City. Join Carrie Schwab, President of the Charles Schwab Foundation.

Check out the private Moneyist Facebook group, where we seek answers to life’s trickiest money problems. Readers write to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Ask your questions, tell me what you want to know more or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

The Moneyist regrets not being able to answer the questions individually.

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Read also :

“I committed financial infidelity”: I racked up $50,000 in debt to help my struggling son – and didn’t tell my husband. How to get out of this mess?

“He pays half the bills for the house, although six adults live there”: my son lives with his father and stepmother. They take advantage of him. How can I get it out?

“I’m stuck in a penniless mindset”: My partner and I bought a house, but he only wants to buy high-end items. How can we agree?

-Quentin Fottrell


(END) Dow Jones Newswire

08-26-22 0051ET

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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