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Distributor's Link Magazine Winter 2023 / Vol 46 No 1


118 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK JIM TRUESDELL ’QUIET QUITTING’ MAY NOT BE NEW—BUT ITS SEEMING APPROVAL IS! from page 54 We get ahead in life by doing the very best at everything we do. Jobs with more responsibility are attained by building on success in prior positions of responsibility. People today might dispute that because of specific bad experiences, but overall it is a remarkably consistent path to the top. [4] Failing to give our best effort in whatever we undertake eats away at our own self-perception and confidence. If we know we are “skating by” and taking our pay while deceiving our employer and co-workers it will be awfully difficult to be at peace with ourselves if we have any sense of conscience. People who cheer the concept of “quiet quitting” on social media today often justify the practice by blaming the employer or the system for exploiting workers. These charges may sometimes be true, but shifting the blame for one’s own moral failure to others is just an attempt to avoid looking in the mirror. I hear some writers defining “quiet quitting” as the more palatable “Work to Rule” concept. This describes the practice not as “quitting” on your responsibilities but instead as doing the stated requirements of the job and only that. Do only what the company states that the job entails and nothing more, nor for any minutes longer than the beginning and ending of the work hours. Is this what we want our lives and our country to be about? “Quiet Quitting” is not a new concept. It is just unique in that it is being celebrated and justified by social media networks who defend it as a justifiable response of workers to an out-of-control “hustle culture” which has long ruled the American workplace. We cannot deny that such a culture has existed in the U.S. for decades and it has brought us a standard of living to the point that everyone feels entitled to possess the good material things in life at a level which most of the rest of the world finds amazing. Even those living below the poverty line in this country have access to amenities which in many places in the world would place them squarely in the middle class. Abandoning our characteristic national work ethic may ultimately mean that these things will cease to be readily available to all. Those who choose to give a high level of commitment to their careers may increasingly reap a larger share of the material rewards of our economy, thus exacerbating the wealth disparity which seems to be such a source of discontent. Of course, the more we try to prevent that, the more we will see a falling off of effort and commitment of the producers of our society. There is a danger that we will then become an entire nation of “quiet quitters” and slip into third world status. We have seen it happen in countries like Venezuela or in socialist countries where the economy just doesn’t seem to work and supply chains fail to deliver basic necessities to consumers. They say “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.” Where there is smoke there is generally fire. The widespread feelings that business is getting what it deserves and that our capitalist society has gone overboard in excesses of worker exploitation, does call for us to reexamine our priorities. Young workers are seeking a better work/life balance. What can companies do to recognize this and tilt the scales back more into line with what people are seeking for their lived experience and their emphasis on a different set of values? Lashing out at the symptoms (such as “quiet quitting”, “ghosting “ jobs, and critiques of free enterprise) doesn’t solve anything and reeks more of the “I suffered through it so you should too” mentality of older managers clinging to outmoded workstyles and managerial hierarchies. There are changes that need to be made if we are to engage young workers in the missions of our business enterprises. Consider: [A] Focus on and be able to articulate what the company is trying to achieve and how that contributes to the larger social picture of society. Making more money for ownership and job security for employees may no longer cut it. Workers need to understand the role a company plays in providing needed services and products to help solve or prevent societies’ problems and how each employee’s efforts are linked to that endeavor. Give them a sense of mission of which they can be proud. [B] Know the employees and understand what their personal goals and motivators are and determine how their job can be shaped to align those personal goals with the company’s needs. If an employee values his family time or involvement in a particular community activity, then provide the time flexibility so that he or she can satisfy that need. If an employee is focused on career growth then provide clear pathways by which that can be achieved. CONTINUED ON PAGE 119

THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 119 JIM TRUESDELL ’QUIET QUITTING’ MAY NOT BE NEW—BUT ITS SEEMING APPROVAL IS! from page 118 [C] Protect employee personal life by discouraging weekend or holiday e mails or work demands. Just because you, as a key manager, want to work 24 hours around the clock that does not mean you have the right to instant response from your worker who does not share that vision of work (and who probably doesn’t reap as much money from it as do you). [D] Reduce meetings and their length to show that you respect the value of workers’ time. Meetings should focus on decision making and consensus building and not just be checking up on the status of projects and assignments that can be checked in more efficient and less time consuming ways. [E] Set clear goals and then evaluate and reward people based on their progress in achieving them rather than on time worked. Don’t let your office culture deteriorate into one that revolves around a competition to see who gets there first in the morning and leaves last. [F] Do help workers to grasp the idea that remote work and flexible time is only supportable if it maintains or enhances customer service. Too many pundits and social media commentators extoll these as virtues because of their impact on worker satisfaction without considering the calamitous drop in customer service which many of us have experienced in the last two years. If the customers leave us it will not matter how happy our employees are. Both businesses and their workers must give a little if we are to provide workplaces that are both financially successful and which provide employee satisfaction and career fulfillment. Business leaders must open their eyes to the needs and aspirations of the people who commit the bulk of their daily lives to building and operating the business. Workers who are tempted to not give their best effort should be honest enough to quit their job and leave for something more suitable for them OR they should make the decision to recommit to the company mission and give it their best effort. “Quiet Quitting” is nothing to celebrate! JIM TRUESDELL


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