The newly minted term “silent cessation” sparks a lot of anger, and it’s no wonder. It means doing what you get paid for at work without going above and beyond.
The sensation that started as a TikTok trend has made its way into the lexicon of the modern workplace, sparking much debate on how to combat the phenomenon and re-energize exhausted workers.
The problem with the term is that nobody gives up anything. People still go to work on time and get their jobs done. “We play our wages,” as one TikToker put it.
The reason for a lot of hand-wringing seems to be that many people don’t sign up for extra work, don’t work weekends, or stay glued to their laptops late to meet goals. They simply log out and refuse to take on additional tasks.
Working through a deadly pandemic while children were homeschooled has left people burned out and exhausted, but experts say our relationship with work has been changing for at least 20 years, long before Covid reared its ugly head.
Professor Rob Kitchin of the Social Sciences Institute at Maynooth University says terms and phrases like “downshift,” “quiet quitting,” and the “right to disconnect” are part of a broader movement in which workers seek to take their time and autonomy from theirs employer to reclaim.
Kitchin says “quitting” isn’t a way to describe people who do what their contract dictates. He thinks people are just saying, “I want to have some control over what’s going on.”
He points out that what is happening might be better described as a silent realignment.
Indeed, labeling the phenomenon as termination seems to give managers – annoyed at the idea of employees regaining some measure of control over their lives – a convenient derogatory catchphrase.
Covid-19 has brought our ideas of work-life balance into focus. Many of us found that we could work productively from home and spend more time with family instead of commuting. Many of us have fallen ill or lost loved ones. Much of our lives have been turned upside down by a pandemic that showed no mercy.
Grief has taught us that time is precious. Is it any wonder that many of us are examining the way we work, how much we work, and asking ourselves questions about how we spend our time?
This is about both our priorities in life and how we do our jobs. Very few of us have the luxury of giving up anything. But we all have the right to limit the hours we work and the time we don’t work. Nevertheless, such limits are impossible for many people.
Those working in the gig economy, where you lose if you don’t jump through hoops and are instantly available when the purser calls, have little wiggle room. People on zero-hour contracts cannot afford to slow down and what is needed here is more rights for workers so that they are not further disadvantaged. While the term quiet cessation might be viewed as wrong, we at least have conversations about what we expect from our work.
Not everyone wants to kick back, many people want to kick back, work longer, and organize extracurricular work events. But you shouldn’t be penalized for completing your day’s work and also refusing to take on additional chores.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/the-term-quiet-quitting-does-us-all-a-disservice-because-nobody-is-downing-tools-just-seeking-work-life-balance-42018942.html The term “quiet quitting” does us all a disservice because nobody shuts down their tools – they’re just looking for work-life balance