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Time to revamp work culture as people opt for quiet quitting

www.deccanherald.com | September 15, 2022
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We are more than our jobs is a fact, not a myth. However, capitalistic times bring capitalistic facts. The word ‘toxic’ has been associated with the workplace environment for a very long time now. There are countless, and sometimes, conflicting definitions of toxic culture found on the Internet given in blog posts, opinion pieces and scholarly contributions.

The toxic work culture that has been thriving for a very long time can be attributed to multiple factors according to the CEO of ClearForce, Tom Miller: It could be a range of actions and behaviours displayed at the workplace that could qualify for the same – bullying, harassment of employees, lack of consideration for the employees, poor work-life balance, unethical practices, poor pay among many others.

Social media platforms are growing by the second, the reach and impact of viral videos are an interesting phenomenon especially when ‘one’ video creates waves of heated debates and arguments across the world. A video on Tiktok, which was posted in July 2022 by the username @zkchillin, shows the user mentioning “You’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond. You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle-culture mentality that work has to be your life; the reality is it’s not, and your worth as a person is not defined by your labour”.

How many would disagree with the above? I think to ‘assume’ that the jobs people do must always be done with the highest level of passion, purpose and sincerity -- without understanding the silent, unpopular factors such as poor economy, degrading job market, lack of opportunities, lack of skills and accessibility to resources and spaces, rampant discrimination at the workplace all of which gets
even worse for the under-privileged, vulnerable and marginalised sections -- would amount to serious ignorance on our parts.

An article titled, ‘Rather than quit, more and more employees are happy to just get by and collect their salaries. Is it necessarily a problem?’ by Alex Christian was published in BBC in 2022, explains the many reasons why employees choose to work the way they do and ‘No’, it has nothing to do with ‘laziness’.

Mark Bolino, Director of Management and International Business at the University of Oklahoma, US, explains how multiple reasons could lead to employee coasting, with this phenomenon gaining higher popularity since the pandemic, factors such as burnout, missed promotion, poor match between contribution and reward, poor mental health, mounting deadlines/projects lead to a “natural ebb and flow to work”.

While the heat on quiet (or not so quiet) quitting is going on within and out of the digital space, CEO of Bombay Shaving Company, Shantanu Deshpande has come under focus now for his online post that very clearly mentioned that people who are just starting out their career should only and only focus on work for the first 4-5 years, sacrificing everything else because that is ‘not’ important while a career is being initially set. He very clearly points out that work needs to be worshiped and work-life balance needs to take a back seat at that time. 

Deshpande is quickly joined by Harsimarbir Singh, Co-founder Pristyn Care who has shared a checklist of ‘eligibility criteria’ to get the right people on board, which directly point towards the extremely toxic hustle culture of today’s times. Singh in the past has defended the LinkedIn post shared by Shantanu Deshpande, and has further added that ‘successful’ people have a list of common factors -- long working hours, missed family events, and working when others were relaxing were some of them. 

This further reinforces the very idea of what a toxic workplace is where the concept of a healthy work culture with work-life balance as one prime criterion, among many others is laughed at.

If we care about the well being of our employees, then it is high time we rework and break down the so called ‘work-culture’, because clearly this is not serving the right purpose to those involved. Before we acknowledge the quietness levels of quitting, it would be wise to look at the underlying reasons for an ever-growing number of burnt-out, unhappy and unhealthy employees today who are quietly ‘quitting’, and un-popularly made to ‘quit’ quietly. Employers, are you listening?

Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.
-Moitrayee Das - Assistant Professor – Psychology, FLAME University

(Source:- https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/time-to-revamp-work-culture-as-people-opt-for-quiet-quitting-1145188.html )