Quiet Quitting Continues to Haunt America

As more and more individuals are reviewing their work-life balance, they are often implementing seemingly radical practices in their work. Where is this stemming from, and how is this influencing our workplaces?


Ellyn Foglesong/The Web Special

Emails are overflowing, and demands are outrageous.

As a new working generation arises, old bleak rhetoric reemerges: leaving the blame for ongoing issues of widespread adjustments to the American work-life balance on Generation Z. Though the fossils of hustle culture fuel the average corporation productivity, more and more workers are establishing boundaries that, in the limelight, make them appear lazy. 

A few terms include Quiet Quitting and Acting Your Wage, meaning that, rather than going above and beyond, workers would meet expectation levels and their job criteria and leave it at that.

As more workers accept these boundaries, corporations, well-known entrepreneurs, and even political figures share their opinions on the topic. More often than not, they advise against making a habit out of quiet quitting. 

But the question is- are they advising it for their gain and success, or do they have the worker’s best interest at heart?

A general acceptance of quiet quitting could drastically reduce economic productivity, but at what cost? Having productivity at a low will force companies to reevaluate their priorities and prolong various projects. However, it might also reduce workplace tension and conflict. 

On one side, sly employers seem to refer to one concept in particular: Marginal Products; essentially, the idea that workers are paid more for the more work they provide. But raises, bonuses, and promotions aren’t a definite or guaranteed attribute in many work environments: leaving employers with little ground to stand on regarding the Marginal Product. Another frequent argument follows the idea of salary covering the cost of work to get done at the expense of our own time.

But, if you want us to work with the hope of getting a raise, show us a contract that ensures we will obtain it by exceeding your expectations or by sacrificing our personal time.

On the opposing side- if there weren’t issues riddled throughout our businesses- there wouldn’t be this many people implementing these practices in their work.

For example, educators are constantly teaching, grading, and coaching or are likely at home- you guessed it- grading, sending and checking emails, or planning for their next class(es). As a result of mountainous expectations, political attacks, and various other conflicts- many teachers have decided to quit, retire or change professions altogether. And those who continue teaching- often have to revise and mitigate their work, hence implementing (even less radical) measures of quiet quitting into their work. They are burning out: can you blame them?

As investigated further in The Web’s, The Relationship Between The Political Environment and the Teacher Shortage, it is evident teachers face pressure beyond what we acknowledge and are left to combat attacks and accusations from various parties regardless of what happens in the classroom.

While the push for teachers to receive higher pay is rightfully evident, would that justify forcing them to be in a continual circle of burnout? Or would it be more productive to divide and conquer in addition to paying them a living wage?

To recap: Gen Z isn’t to blame for our economic status. Nationwide shortages (for both products and professions) result from various factors: the pandemic, political involvement, better job opportunities and availability, maltreatment, and career development all leave businesses vulnerable yet provide more growth and potential for workers. 

The availability of jobs cushions employees if they decide to quit or combat unhealthy work environments- as a result, companies are challenged to comply and treat their workers decently.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting higher productivity levels, but there are better ways to obtain those goals than to exploit workers. Quiet quitting is simply rejecting said maltreatment and abuse- if the issues weren’t as drastic, the counter to them would likely have followed suit.