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And unfortunately, I am still in the office filming these because my home is just a never-ending construction site now and I'll never be able to use my kitchen again. And today, I want to talk about a phenomenon that you've probably been hearing about a fair amount on social media and intertwines a lot with what we talk about here at TFD, but which I haven't yet addressed on this channel, and that is quiet quitting. One of the sweetest treats about living in New York City is that sometimes you hear guys with very, very stereotypical, like, gabagool Sopranos accents talking about stuff [LAUGHS] that's in the news, and it's always-- like it sounds like it's a parody what they're saying.

But these two guys were like, (NEW YORK ACCENT) hey, I was reading-- [LAUGHS] He was like, I was reading about this quiet quitting. Have you heard about that? And the guy was like, (NEW YORK ACCENT) no, what's that? [LAUGHS] He was like-- [LAUGHS] He was like, (NEW YORK ACCENT) it's when you just go to your boss one day and you're like, [BLEEP] it.

I quit. [LAUGHS] I don't know if that was a joke walking away from them because I wasn't standing around lingering, talking to their-- like, listening to their conversation. But I was leaving and I was like, that's not what quiet quitting is. That's loud quitting.

That's like the most aggressive quitting. So yeah, quiet quitting is so much in the ether that random gabagool New Yorkers are having street conversations about it. And as we can see from all of these kind of over-the-top headlines, it's something that the Boomer-driven media and corporate world is basically losing its mind over because any time people under the age of roughly 40 assert any kind of boundary or refuse to be paid unlivable wages that require a master's degree to even apply, it's basically looked at as an unacceptable upending of the world order.

But it's also easy in all of this hyperbolic debate to kind of lose the plot on what quiet quitting actually is, who benefits from it, and what it says about our broader workplace culture. Because as we've discussed before on the channel, all of that nice-sounding but ultimately often quite impractical self-care advice about which I've gone off in the past tends to really only benefit certain people who are already in many cases doing pretty well on their own. But before we get into quiet quitting, the good, the bad, and the ugly, let's first define the term.

So first of all, what is quiet quitting? So it actually doesn't mean quitting. It refers to the trend of quitting doing anything, quote, "above and beyond" at work, and only doing what's actually in your job description and then clocking out at the end of each day.

Workplace consulting firm Gallup frames this as a negative trend, saying, quote, "This is a problem because most jobs today require some level of extra effort to collaborate with coworkers and meet customer needs." As they put it, "US employee engagement took another step backward during the second quarter of 2022, with the proportion of engaged workers remaining at 32% but the proportion of actively disengaged increasing to 18%. The ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is now 1.8 to 1, the lowest in almost a decade." And in order to reverse this trend in workplaces, Gallup says to increase things like manager one-on-ones, team collaboration opportunities, and creating a culture where every team member feels like they belong. From the Harvard Business Review article "Quiet Quitting is About Bad Bosses, Not Bad Employees," many people at some point in their career have worked for a manager that moved them toward quiet quitting.

This comes from feeling undervalued and underappreciated. It's possible that the managers were biased or that they engaged in a behavior that was inappropriate, but employees' lack of motivation was a reaction to the actions of the manager. Most mid-career employees have also worked for a leader for whom they had a strong desire to do everything possible to accomplish goals and objectives.

Occasionally working late or starting early was not resented because this manager inspired them. Now it does say a lot that the very concept of quiet quitting implies that just doing what you were hired to do and was listed on your actual job description as the arbiters of whether or not you're doing a good job is somehow underperforming. But it does make sense when you consider the extent to which the average American worker is underpaid for his or her job.

Basically, we are increasingly paying less for jobs and expecting as the norm people to do even more for them. And quite frankly, if the job listing itself actually listed all of the things that were ultimately expected of people who took that job, it would be even more egregious to be listing some of these unlivable salaries as the pay that that job entails, especially considering many of these jobs entail college degrees, if not graduate degrees. But as sad as it is to say, the exploitation of the American worker is nothing new, so why is quiet quitting suddenly a debate?

From the standpoint of companies and those in upper management, employee engagement is something that can just be managed into existence. But the reality is that people are burned out from their jobs and sick of being expected to do things that are above their pay grade. This seems like a cutesy social media trend and just a headline-generating term, but it does stem from very real issues.

As one article in The Atlantic put it, "When people are looking for permission to feel their unnameable bad feelings, they're satisfied when cheeky TikTok accounts or dyspeptic trend-chasing journalists give it to them. Just as the national teacher shortage is an overblown trend that marks the spot of a real phenomenon-- declining job satisfaction among teachers-- quiet quitting is a bit of novel nonsense that might stand in for chronic labor issues such as the underrepresentation of unions or a profound American pressure to be careerist." And it's also important to remember that while in a perfect world going above and beyond at your job would result in things like raises and promotions, it's no longer really something that the average worker can expect to see as a result of doing more than they were hired for. If doing just what your job entails now constitutes something as dramatic as quietly quitting your job, going well above and beyond, both in terms of availability and in terms of your actual output, is just now going to be considered the bare minimum to keep your job. "The mantra of quiet quitting, at least according to TikTok, is not really about failing to do your job," as NPR put it. "It's about quitting the idea of going above and beyond.

But the concept has drawn much criticism for being a misnomer, for example, or for overshadowing the quiet 'firing trend' where companies passive aggressively make their employees' work lives unhappy, and 'quiet fleecing,' which refers to workers' pay lagging behind their increased productivity for decades." And it makes complete sense that employees are tired of being expected to outperform for what they're actually being paid for. As we talk about all the time on the channel, wage stagnation over the past several decades has huge impacts on the lives that adult Americans can expect to live. Millennials aren't not having kids or buying homes or saving for retirement because they're just lazy and entitled and love [BLEEP] avocado toast.

It's because they're no longer being paid anywhere near to what their parents' generation was to be able to actually afford to do those things. Wages in the US have stagnated since the early 1970s. Between 1979 and 2020, workers' wages grew by 17.5% while productivity grew over three times as fast at 61.8%.

So while proponents of quiet quitting argue that it's a way to safeguard your mental health and prevent you from constantly being on the hamster wheel of doing more work for the same pay, a lot of gurus are extremely against the idea, which is not shocking, as probably a lot of them run companies that depend on people being exploited. Arianna Huffington, for example, complained that "Quiet quitting isn't just about quitting a job, it's a step toward quitting on life," arguing that quiet quitters would be better served finding jobs that they're passionate about. Meanwhile, noted vampire who's retaining a little water, Kevin O'Leary from Shark Tank put it that "People who shut their laptop down at 5:00, they don't work for me.

I hope they work for my competitors." Now, we here at TFD practice a four-day workweek and are pretty diligent about keeping up those boundaries between work and our home lives. So if you're currently working a job where you're being paid a lot less than what your actual job description entails and are not seeing things like raises and promotions for constantly going above and beyond, I would endorse the idea of quiet quitting until you can eventually find a job that's at least somewhat more commensurate with your output. But it's also important in all of this self-talk and the increasing encouragement of people putting up these boundaries that it's only a certain type of worker in a certain type of environment who can even afford to do this stuff in the first place.

From one Glamor magazine article, "There's a clear distinction between working hard enough to get promoted and working yourself to the bone. However, underprivileged demographics such as women or more specifically women of color just simply cannot afford a 'yass, queen give us nothing' attitude toward work. I specifically like to refer to Black women, as they're the most targeted of the POC groups, as statistics show that only 56% of Black women feel that they have an equal opportunity for growth to their peers.

White women and men of all demographics sit both at 69%." And from Insider, "If employees of color scale back on their work to do the jobs they're paid for, they're also more likely to face backlash by the company, which is why quiet quitting can be 'double-edged' for minorities," says Tega Edwin, a career coach. "Racial minorities have long faced disproportionate demands in the workplace, a pattern that stems back to America's history with the transatlantic slave trade to Japanese internment camps. Today, people of color still face 'undue pressure' at work, and those demands are only exacerbated when you throw other minority markers like gender and sexual orientation in the mix. Ethnic-minority women are more likely to experience burnout than non-minorities, according to Deloitte's 2022 Women at Work survey." And that's not even touching on many of the jobs which are often disproportionately held by women and people of color, and especially women of color, where doing anything less than what the job requires of you is literally not possible.

Think of things like domestic labor, food service, retail. It's not really possible to quiet quit when your manager is breathing down your neck that if you have room to lean, you have room to clean. So where does this leave us?

On the one hand, it can be a step in the right direction for people who can afford to do so to start setting more serious boundaries at work, especially people who are in higher level management positions who can start to set that example for people on the ladder below them. Things like not being expected to be on email nights and weekends, or actually being rewarded in terms of compensation when you go above and beyond on a job, or literally just being expected to do work that's commensurate with the work you were hired to do. But it's also important to remember that this is not a catch-all solution or replacement for actual labor movements.

And in some cases in the workplace, when certain workers are choosing to quiet quit-- again, especially the more privileged ones who can get away with doing so-- that work will fall on other workers in many cases. And it's not like the CEO of Fortune 50 companies are just going to be sticking around late to make up for that one guy in accounting, for example, for the many people who have to overperform just for their job not to be in active jeopardy. We also have to consider who takes the brunt of it when we decide to stop doing work-related tasks that have fallen upon us.

Typically, it's not a toxic manager who's going to pick up the slack, but rather a different overworked employee who simply can't afford to slack off and potentially lose their job. So on an individual level quiet quitting may work to improve quality of life, but it is not going to create lasting workplace change alone because companies with the base expectation of overworking employees have a deep seated burnout culture that doesn't just disappear when one person decides to put a 5:30 hard out on their calendar every day. If anything the person who appears to be slacking is just eventually going to be ousted.

Overhauling company culture is unfortunately too big of an undertaking for any one person, which is why people organize to create unions, which can often also lead to backlash on a corporate level. "Amazon has been using anti-union consultants for nearly two decades, defeating efforts to unionize in Britain in 2004 and Virginia in 2016, and releasing an anti-union training video in 2018. It also hired Pinkerton, the private security agency used to infiltrate unions since the late 1800s, to stop Whole Foods workers in 2020, according to internal documents obtained by Vice. And some of the first signs of traditional union-busting at Google appeared in 2019, when the company quietly hired the anti-union firm IRI Consultants and later fired the engineers who tried to draw more attention to IRI's work for Google, dubbed Project Vivian.

The move was a departure for Google. Since about 2011, Liz Fong-Jones, a former site reliability engineer at Google, operated as a liaison between employees and management, who emphasized a willingness to listen and to make concessions to employee concerns." And this is not at all to downplay the huge unionization efforts that we've seen successful in the past few years. There's a momentum with unions in America that literally hasn't been seen since the turn of the 20th century.

But it is important to remind ourselves that the forces colluding against labor are massive and well-funded and structurally quite competent. And it's going to take more than individual action to make some of these changes more permanent and sweeping, and perhaps most importantly, something that benefits people at all levels of the socioeconomic ladder and not just a few girl bosses who can afford to put Away From Offices on their calendar after a certain hour at night. And while it may be a bit depressing to acknowledge, it's important to remember that historically some of the biggest victories in labor history have come from when bosses and owners have realized that it is in their own interest to make some of these shifts.

One "major shift occurred in 1926, when Henry Ford's car company, Ford Motor Company, switched to a 40-hour workweek. But Ford's decision was not driven by his generosity or care for his employees' well-being. He wanted to sell cars to his own workers who he believed would be better customers if they had more time off, and he was right.

The 40-hour workweek has stayed with us since." So asking for things like a four-day workweek can be most effective if presented as being in your boss's best interest, perhaps by pointing to a recent four-day workweek experiment in Britain where "All but two of the 41 companies said productivity was either the same or had improved." And "Remarkably, six companies said that productivity had significantly improved." Organizing, unionizing, and appealing to many bosses' inherent selfishness and desire for higher productivity is unfortunately often the way to go. Trends like quiet quitting make a lot of noise because they're easy to write about and they help keep Boomers in that angry click economy. But it's not a replacement for a labor movement, and it's certainly not going to help many workers who are still stuck at the bottom, judged for every second of how they spend their time, and liable to be fired even if they overperform.

So get out there and start talking to your coworkers. If you can afford to, share things like pay information. Set a positive example for people who work under you.

And advocate for people on your team who are the least likely to be benefited by some of these hyper individualist solutions. And as always, guys, thank you for watching. And don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for new and awesome videos.