‘Becoming a “quiet quitter” brings more long term misery at work,’ says expert

Are you fed up in your job? Feeling overworked and undervalued? If so, then you might be tempted to join the army of workers who have started 'quiet quitting'.

This new trend sees people who hate their jobs, or feel they’re going nowhere fast in their careers, do the bare minimum in order not to get sacked. But nothing over that basic effort. They can’t afford to lose their job but have lost all interest in it – and apparently they don’t mind how obvious their lack of enthusiasm is….

The rise of the ‘quiet quitters’, like many trends, soon spread on social media. But originally it was inspired by China’s ‘lying flat’ movement, which encouraged workers to mentally check out of their job and do no more than was strictly necessary to remain employed.

What originated in China seemed to quickly pick up a following over here, too. Research showed that just nine percent of Brits are now ‘engaged’ with their jobs.

OK! exclusively spoke to celebrity psychologist Dr Richard Reid about the trend – and whether it was a good idea to adopt it for our well being.

"Quiet quitting is a passive-aggressive pushing of boundaries to see how little you can do without getting fired," explains Dr Reid, who's worked with A-listers, CEOs and royalty. "Sure, it sounds appealing or possibly even empowering, but long term will only result in you feeling more miserable. Not just in the work place but in life in general. It's a risky approach."

"So called ‘quiet quitting’ might feel good in the short term, but actually, as human beings, we need focus, we need structure and most of all we need to have purpose. These are the basic elements to our working wellbeing.

"So, if we're doing something for an extended period where we're getting no value from action it soon starts to affect our mental health and this spills over not just into working life, but also into other areas as well – it's not really a good long term strategy," insists Dr Reid.

Why has this idea of doing the least possible caught fire?

"It's most likely the phenomenon has its roots in lockdown when many people working from home found they could do far fewer hours — and less work — than they would in the office and get away with not being fired.

"The pandemic also made some reassess their priorities and ask themselves bigger life questions about what they really wanted from their work. They mentally checked out of their job and stopped caring how apparent it might be to others."

What would be a better way of approaching work?

"It’s often helpful for people to try and understand more about what's important to them, and where it’s possible to try and find similar values they share in life with their jobs.

"If we can start to chip away at this overriding idea that that situation is ‘negative’ and at least attempt to find some alignment, we’ll find it does actually make the situation more tolerable.

"As human beings, we tend to look at things in black and white terms. Things are fantastic or awful. Instead, try looking more closely at that error in between and you’ll start seeing that most situations have a balance of positives and negatives. That way you’ll realise the perception that ‘everything is awful’ is unlikely to be accurate.

"Start actively looking for positive experiences in the workplace. Perhaps you don’t like the management, but you enjoy the company of your co-workers? Or have good exchanges with outside people you come into contact with through your work?

"Get into a habit where every day you come home and spend 10 minutes – or maybe on your journey home from work – reflecting back on positive experiences such as what interaction have I enjoyed today? Even a small thing like sharing a coffee with a co-worker. Or consider if you have done something that aligns with your values and your purpose? Have you in some way moved something forward? Have you learned something?

"Recalling to yourself these small examples chips away at the negative barrier or ‘all or nothing’ attitude you have built up. Some people find writing the examples down helps them.

"The reason why this works is that because – over a lengthy period of a few weeks or months – if you're noticing at say 5pm what you need to register has been good, you’ll start actively seeing it out earlier in the day so you have something positive to note.

That’s when you start really doing the exercise in real life and getting true value from them."

Is there a right time to call it quits on the day job?

If you've tried embrace a more positive attitude and are still struggling – perhaps it's time to move on. But at least that way – after exploring a more positive mindset approach – you'll have no regrets later on and be more certain you had tried what you could before quitting. Whether quietly or otherwise! You might feel happier – and your boss might thank you for taking the decision…

Dr Richard Reid is the CEO of Pinnacle Wellbeing.


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