You may have seen the ‘quiet quitting‘ convo happening in the media right now.
If you haven’t, ‘quiet quitting‘ is supposedly when employees passively-aggressively refuse to work longer hours or outside of their designated responsibilities.
i.e. that doing your job, is some kind of silent rebellion.
I’m not alone in this but what I find particularly baffling about all of this is the commentary from one side of this debate appears rooted in an expectation that employees should go above and beyond.
That working beyond hours and beyond your role is the norm.
That for certain business leaders, getting something for nothing from their employees is the standard. They can’t see what’s problematic in that.
And if you’re like me, somewhere along the way you picked up on that idea and adopted a belief that YOU going above and beyond is necessary to succeed.
Because of that, I’m going to spell out what’s wrong with that real quick.
In a nutshell:
- It undervalues you and reinforces a message about your value to the company that isn’t true
- You’re being taken advantage of and not being recognised for what you’re contributing
- It hides resourcing problems so the company doesn’t hire more people
- It sets unrealistic expectations of the workload you can reasonably handle so you keep getting handed more to do
- It sets unrealistic expectations of the workload the team and company can reasonably handle
Essentially because we don’t want to let anyone down or ‘fail’ in some way, we make miracles happen and then that becomes the expectation.
It becomes this big self fulfilling prophecy that the more we do, the more we can do.
The people that fall on the side of seeing ‘quiet quitting’ as a problem, need to see their role in creating this situation.
But I also want you to take a moment to reflect on your role.
How do YOU contribute to the dynamic?
I do think there are periods in our career where we start to step into next level responsibilities which lead to payrises, promotions, new opportunities elsewhere. Going beyond your current job description builds the evidence and experience to go to your next level.
There is a return on that investment for you.
But that should be the exception to the rule. Employers that don’t or won’t recognise that you’ve moved into a new level don’t deserve to keep you or benefit from your increased value.
Additional responsibility, extra hours should not be the norm. And probably a sign that you’re trying to validate that you deserve to be there.
Which is kind of a big statement to unpack but here we go.
Let me know if any of this sounds familiar:
- Watching when everyone else leaves the office, to know it’s ok to leave even when your work is done and logically know you can go home
- If you do actually leave when you’re done, you feel terrible. Of if you spend time away from your desk when your working from home, you’ve paranoid you’re going to get caught
- Feeling like if you don’t complete your workload, something terrible will happen, someone will be let down
- Not really sure if you belong or are good enough at your job so you really don’t want to give them any excuse to think any less of you leading to DOING ALL THE THINGS
These scenarios speak to someone who can never feel ‘done’ at work. I get it because this used to be me for a LONG time so no judgement at all.
The dynamic is this – you don’t feel like you belong (imposter syndrome), you’re waiting for someone to figure out you don’t belong, so you’re trying really hard to make sure that can’t figure out that you don’t belong.
Leading to accepting the longer hours, the additional responsibility, saying yes to things you don’t have capacity for.
All in the hope it will validate your place and you can finally arrive.
The only validation that really matters is your own internal validation.
The only validation that will change this dynamic, is the validation you give yourself.
Because any external validation is so far removed from your internal belief system that you will find a way to discredit it. You won’t accept it. You won’t believe it.
So here is one place to start building your own validation:
Challenge yourself to write a list of 100 reasons you are great at your job, an incredible colleague and massively valuable to your workplace.
I want you to think about how you feel now considering writing the list, what comes up while writing, how you feel after you’ve written 100 things.
What has shifted for you? What feels possible now that didn’t before? How does this person who sees more of her value show up at work? What won’t you tolerate anymore? What needs to change?
Now embed this in your day to day.
In the back of your notebook or in a file on your computer, keep a running list of wins, compliments, pieces of good work, excellent feedback received.
This reinforces those positive moments. It helps you to fully acknowledge the good work you’re doing and remind you of the value you’re bringing. The list gives you something to refer to when things feel hard or you experience doubt or fear.
Importantly, it helps train your brain to look for how well you’re doing so you can keep adding to the list. That is building the internal validation muscle.
One final thought, I was you once so I can confidently say it is possible to move beyond this paradigm. You CAN choose new beliefs about how much you truly deserve to have a great, fulfilling, fun, meaningful job.
You CAN break the cycle of worrying about what people are thinking, worrying whether you’re good enough, worrying whether you’ve done enough work, and all of the actions those thoughts drive.
And it all starts with simple and frequent actions like those I’ve given you today. It’s your time!