Quit Smoking Quietly: Experienced Millennials Explain
A new term has recently flooded the air: quitting smoking quietly. Nearly a quarter, 21% of American workers say they are silent dropouts themselves, according to an August 2022 ResumeBuilder.com survey of 1,000 workers.
A passing TikTok user Zaidleppelin kicked off the conversation with a video he posted on July 25. in the video, which has racked up 3.4 million views as of this article’s publication.
With so many people weighing in, the term has since evolved to include a broader set of definitions.
“To me, quietly quitting is just about setting your limits on what your outings are going to look like at work,” Amanda Henry, who made a series of videos on the subject on her TikTok, told CNBC Make It.
“For some, that might just mean doing the bare minimum because that’s all they have to give at the moment for various reasons. For others, that might just mean not burning out.”
These kinds of attitudes aren’t new: As comedian Josh Gondelman wrote on Twitter, the idea of ”sending it in the mail” has a “rich, storied history.”
Still, recent hype around the term has sparked heated discussion about what setting boundaries at work can look like. Here are three millennials who have gone through a process of silent abandonment and a look at those who might be left out.
“I’m not going to overwork myself anymore”
Daniella Flores, who uses the pronouns they/them, was working in IT at a financial company in June 2021 when they decided to quit quietly. Eventually, they quit their jobs altogether.
“A lot of people who work in technology and IT have this problem where it’s really rare at the beginning of your career to work 40 hours a week,” says the 32-year-old based in Port Orchard, Washington. At the time, they worked between 50 and 60 hours a week.
At some point, they realized that the extra time they were spending picking up last-minute tickets and undertaking work beyond the scope of their job title wasn’t worth it. When they mentioned wanting a change in title and pay, they say their boss turned them down.
That’s when something clicked. “I’m not going to overwork myself anymore,” says Flores, they decided. They changed teams and told their new boss that they were blocking time in their calendars to focus on their assigned work and avoid having unnecessary meetings. This reduced their hours to between 40 and 45 per week.
Flores officially quit her job with the company in June this year to run her hustle-focused blog, I Like To Dabble, full-time and take on other creative endeavors.
“Our institutions must take this into account,” they say. “Why are we just calling to do your job?” »
Stopping quietly is “a survival tactic”
Maggie Perkins worked as a high school and college teacher for six years. The 30-year-old, based in Athens, Georgia, began quietly quitting shortly after the birth of her daughter in 2018 when she realized that “if I didn’t quit school immediately after working hours, I would basically be fined by daycare,” she says. . It forced her to create that boundary.
It triggered a light bulb. “In education, beyond is not compensated or often even recognized,” she says. The typical teacher works 54 hours a week, according to a 2022 Merrimack College Teachers’ Survey of 1,324 teachers.
Leaving when her day was officially over, Perkins realized that “I don’t have to work 60 hours a week,” she says.
Eventually, she found ways to set boundaries even during the school day. When her school couldn’t find a substitute to replace another teacher, for example, and she was asked to fill in for an hour otherwise allocated to grading homework and preparing for lessons, she when even used the time to do just that. She would tell the students she was replacing, “Here is the job you will do and here is the job I will do”.
Like Flores, Perkins quit altogether in 2020 to pursue her doctorate in language and literacy. A teacher advocate, she has made a series of TikTok videos on silent abandonment, including one with advice for them specifically like not bringing work home and not spending your paycheck in your classroom.
For her, quitting quietly is “a survival tactic,” she says. “It’s a coping mechanism. It’s just bringing more life to a career that I love and miss.”
“Quitting quietly is a self-care tactic”
For Clayton Farris, a 41-year-old freelance writer and content creator based in Los Angeles, the silent shutdown is more about a mental shift than any specific shift in his schedule or boundaries with an employer.
“Quietly quitting is allowing yourself to put something else before work without feeling bad about it,” he says.
It’s a change he started making during the pandemic when he constantly worried about whether or not his customers were happy and where his next job would come from. Although he usually works about 30 hours a week, with all the anxiety associated with the work even when he wasn’t actively engaged in it, “I felt like I was working 50 hours,” he says.
Having adopted the latter attitude, however, “every time I send an e-mail and expect a response”, he says, “I literally shut down my computer and go to the beach”. Worrying about an answer won’t make it come any faster, he says, he’s figured that out.
“Quitting quietly is a self-care tactic,” he says. It’s about mentally disengaging from his professional life when he’s not really doing his job.
For some, the boundaries are “a little harder to navigate”
Not all workers feel they can fully participate in the quitting trend, says Henry, 30, one of the TikTokers.
As a black woman in corporate America, Henry says, the situation is more complicated. “For us, it’s a little harder to navigate setting those boundaries because we always have to prove ourselves and go above and beyond just to be seen.”
Although she herself doesn’t identify as a quiet quitter, throughout her eight years in the workforce, she has learned to stand up for herself and set boundaries around what she will and won’t accept. will not accept.
Henry hopes there is a future in which everyone can participate in this type of decision-making.
“Because of the seismic shift we are seeing with this younger generation, hopefully it will hit us a little bit sooner,” she says of minority groups like hers. “That way we can even take it easy. You know, for a lot of us, we’re just proving that we deserve to be in those spaces.”
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