Why the quiet quitting phenomenon could be worth your attention
Across the world, people are slacking off sotto voce, and it’s changing how we work in a relatively seismic way, says Samuel Muston
Wednesday 17 August 2022 By Samuel Muston
‘They seemed to want us all to go back to the pre-pandemic days – which was basically long hours and being constantly connected to our emails day and night,’ says Alexander. He made a conscious decision, there and then, to start coasting through the job and doing the absolute bare minimum to get by. Alexander is one of a growing number of Londoners who has ‘quiet quit’. After the dark years of a pandemic, he no longer wanted his life to be dominated by work – and also felt that he owed the company very little.
It’s hardly surprising that increasing numbers of young workers feel dissatisfaction with their work-life balance. Those graduating in 2007 have already lived through ‘the recession to end all recessions’ caused by the banking crisis, the pandemic and, oh, what’s this? Another recession on its way and a global cost of living crisis. To say nothing of the fact that the median house price is nine times the average salary in 2022. In 1997, it was about three times.
What this has often meant is limited career progression, unstable living arrangements, and a general sense that you are being buffeted by forces far beyond your control. So, who can really blame people for giving up the ghost?
Predictably, the rise of the phenomena has given right-wing commentators the vapours – many of whom write one column a week from the comfort of their holiday home. The suggestion is that somehow people are letting the side down. Not so, says 29-year-old Michael who works in IT. ‘Look, I do my work and will always help a colleague, but that is fundamentally different than flaying myself for a company that quite self-evidently doesn’t care about me.’
That is, I suppose, the rub. In ye olden days, jobs were often for life, pensions were gold-plated and you progressed up the ladder, usually speaking, in an orderly fashion, with lots of overtime payments to see you through. That sense of mutual care has long gone. It’s now as if you are jolly well lucky even to have a job, you idle wretch – as if a company is doing you a favour, rather than you exchanging your labour for their cash.
Still, if the UK’s Daily Express newspaper does want to worry about something, it might be the so-called Great Resignation. One in five workers says they are actively looking to leave their place of work. If you do decide to join them and want to find somewhere else in London, then it’s worth checking out the new Soho Works off-peak membership. Members get access to Soho Works locations – 180 Strand, White City, Shoreditch, Redchurch and Dean Street – after 5pm on weekdays and all day at weekends. For the £50 a month fee, you can make use of the facilities, book member events, and get a reduced rate on meeting rooms. Say hello to a bright new future, and goodbye to your annoying boss forever.