let’s talk about workers taking power back for themselves

Whether it’s the Great Resignation or “quiet quitting” or job candidates ghosting companies after years of companies ghosting them, it’s clear that something has shifted in the balance of power between employers and employees. After decades of employers holding most of the power and workers often feeling they had no choice but to accept whatever employers dished out, more and more people are taking power back for themselves.

Let’s talk about how you’ve seen that play out at work. Have you and your coworkers taken a stand against an unfair policy? Did you cut short a crappy interview? Have you seen your colleagues asking for (and getting) money or perks that they wouldn’t have gotten previously? Did you witness a spectacular resignation? In the comments, let’s hear your stories of workers reclaiming power.

{ 784 comments… read them below }

  1. socks*

    The C-suite at my company has been trying to bring everyone back to the office 3 days a week for about a year now, and my department (IT) has just collectively gone, “Nah.”

    (For context, productivity actually went up while we’ve all been working from home, our jobs are 100% computer-based, and we all work with people across various time zones so everything is done via Zoom even when people are in the office.)

      1. Video killed the radio star*

        My husband is in the same situation – his boss (owner of the company) wants everyone back in the office, and most of the company is just straight-up refusing to come in. There’s been no big pushback or anything, they just… keep working from home and ignore any attempts to bring them back. My husband prefers to work at the office, and we both agree that it’s safe for him to do so, because of like 100 people employed at his company, only 8 show up on site on a regular basis… He’s in IT though, and it’s booming in our city – I suspect the boss is well aware that all of his employees could easily get jobs elsewhere if they wanted to, probably with a raise to boot…

      2. socks*

        Oh, literally we just didn’t do it. Some people did at first, but when they saw no one else was showing up, they mostly stopped too. It wasn’t a super organized thing, so I don’t really have tips, unfortunately. :(

        1. Chairman of the Bored*

          I’ve seen and been involved with many cases of employees successfully resisting by simply/quietly not doing a thing they objected to. It doesn’t have to be a big showdown.

          Literally ignore the policy/request/requirement and do what you want. This puts the ball in the manager’s court to decide whether they want to force the issue. Very often they do not.

          Example: Dress code says “no jeans”? Well I’m going to just wear jeans anyway, and see if Lumbergh cares enough about my pants to even bring it up.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            We did this at Exjob. The office was very casual, T-shirts and jeans, unless you had a meeting or clients were in the office, and we got plenty of warning for that.

            The dress code restricted us from wearing graphic tees except for ones with the company logo. Most people who didn’t regularly dress up just wore T-shirts with sports logos or nerd stuff. I stopped worrying about it when I saw the HR person wearing a Sheldon/Big Bang Theory shirt.

            1. Lanlan*

              We have quietly updated the dress code instead of relying on unspoken “this is how we REALLY do it” stuff. We don’t believe it’s inclusive to make new people guess, or have to be constantly risking spoiling everyone’s fun if they ask HR whether X garment is permissible. Onboarding is hard enough without the unspoken things.

          2. socks*

            My company actually did try pushing the issue, but honestly it just backfired. HR sent out angry emails about how we needed to be in the office, a few people went in, those people saw that the office was still empty so they stopped coming in, repeat a few times, and now we all know that blatantly ignoring the higher ups won’t necessarily get us fired lol. They would’ve been better off just letting it go sooner.

            1. The OTHER other*

              I am really curious whether the higher ups that are agitating for coming back into the office are doing so themselves, or are their offices empty too?

              There was mention of this in an article a few weeks ago, many C-suites and VP’s etc go on and on about their culture and how important the office is yet they themselves are calling in from their homes. Another case of “good for thee, not for me” I think.

              1. Rainy*

                Our current director comes in exactly as often as we do, and maybe a little more for meetings, but is very open that she doesn’t think it’s necessary and is pushing back on every attempt to get us back 100% in the office.

                Our previous director insisted on the value of “f2f collaboration” but would work from home for weeks or months at a time.

                1. Nina*

                  My (even split between extremely hands-on and extremely computer based specialties) department is usually mostly in the office. People work from home when they feel like it and their workflow allows.

                  Our boss recently sent out an email about how great f2f collaboration is and how everyone should be trying to work from the office as much as possible.

                  It’s not a big office. I’ve worked here two years. I’ve seen him in person four times.

              2. JustaTech*

                My current director and the VP under him are both major “in office all the time” folks, and I will say that they actually do come in all the time.
                They also have really nice offices, and I know that neither of them have functional home offices. The “have own offices” was a real sticking point when the company rule was “masks unless you are alone in an office with the door closed”, which meant they never had to wear masks unless they went to grab a glass of water, where for the rest of us open-office folks it meant “masks all day”.

                Our group hasn’t pushed back really hard, mostly because some of our work must be done on-site, but there are still plenty of people who WFH on non-lab days and just don’t tell the big bosses (and their bosses generally cover for them), because there really isn’t a good reason for someone to drive in to do data analysis and then have to hunt for an empty office to take their video meeting. It’s more passive semi-compliance.

              3. socks*

                I’m told the higher-ups actually are in the office regularly, but I haven’t set foot in the office since March 2020 so this is all second-hand info.

              4. M*

                Oh this drives me nuts. My team is mostly on-site because of the work we do, which is fair enough, not a problem, but the amount of lectures we have to endure about how to do our jobs from directors sat at home while they’re giving them and so don’t really know what is going on is driving me crazy. I’d be more inclined to listen if they came in every day but we rarely see them.

                See also: colleagues wfh asking for ‘a small favor while you’re in the office’ that ends up being not so small and is a huge drain on resources. I’ve started refusing. But then often the request just comes again but via someone more senior so…

          3. Jean Pargetter Hardcastle*

            As a manager, I am very into this approach. Sometimes there are rules that I just think are absurd but I haven’t been able to successfully push back on the C-suite decision. I would much rather someone just ignore it than push back on it. I can’t claim plausible deniability with a paper trail!

            1. Carol the happy elf*

              I LOVE that name/show.
              It’s coming on TV at 10 p.m. and husband and I sometimes say the lines, we’ve seen it so many times. Rock on!

          4. Charlotte Russe*

            I’m laughing at this 21st century update to Bartleby the Scrivener. “I would prefer not to.”

        2. DarthVelma*

          Same here. I’m supposed to go in two days a week. I did that for a couple weeks, realized that almost no one was going in and that those who were weren’t taking even basic precautions to help keep each other safe. So I noped out. It doesn’t hurt that my actual boss is also just not going in.

        3. redflagday701*

          I think in some ways, it might help when it’s not a super organized thing? Then there aren’t any “leaders” for management to negotiate with or focus on persuading to come back to the office.

        4. Gatomon*

          This is what we did in the summer of 2020 when they were pushing us back. People gradually stopped coming in, and then we had a wave of covid infect those who were. We did officially get kicked out that fall except for essential personnel, but there’s been no requirement for certain days in office since the building “reopened” in spring of 2021.

          The c-suite has been talking up the benefits of being in person since this spring though, so while a requirement isn’t in place today, I fully plan to ignore any that may come down. I literally do not work in the same building or town as the people I collaborate with. When I am on site, I’m usually focused on touching gear, not chatting.

          I am friendly to my coworkers, but we don’t share much in common. Mostly in office lately I’ve been hearing complaints about management that no sane person would put in Teams… I suspect that’s not what they want us to collaborate about though…

        5. AdAgencyChick*

          Same. The in-office push is coming from above our CEO (like many ad agencies, the one I work for is owned by a huge holding company), but I’m pretty sure the CEO understands better than the people pushing on her that the particular niche of advertising I work in is very much an employee’s market still. We’ve got enough open positions without creating more by demanding that people change the way of life they’ve become used to.

        6. Queen of the Introverts*

          Our owner thinks he’s some great innovator by doing what he calls “planned time out” instead of flex time. Everyone has to be in the office at least 51% of the time, but we have to have our WFH days “planned” at least two weeks in advance. In reality, everyone’s in-office time is pretty on-the-fly, and it works fine. We just schedule our meetings on Teams, with standing meetings also having meeting rooms reserved if people are in the office. A lot of us take our morning status meetings from home (me literally from bed) and then come in later.

          For some reason, our owner is still obsessed with setting up some way to track our WFH hours. He strenuously claims it’s not for monitoring purposes, just to see “if people are taking advantage of the benefit.” But even most of upper management is like, why? We’re just going to mark our “planned” days off on our calendar and come in whenever. As long as your team can reach you, no one cares where you are.

        7. Workfromhome*

          This can be remarkably effective. We had these reports at my former job that were very time consuming but no one seemed to take any action on. So I just stopped doing them. I figured if someone came asking for them I’d figure out who was using them and then deal with it. A month went by then 2 , then 3. It was 5 years from the time I stopped doing them until I left the company. It was never mentioned once.

      3. Linda*

        My company has also largely refused to come in. They made some rules, but then there was an outbreak and just no one came back after that. The higher ups aren’t clamoring to come in either so its just kind of a moot point now.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I started working while my department was fully-remote remote due to the pandemic. Management kept planning for when we would all be back in the office, then backing off when the next wave came, then planning again… finally someone at the top just threw up their hands and said, “Whatever, fully-remote probably helps with recruitment, leave it as-is.”

      4. darlingpants*

        My husband’s company has been doing this and while it works differently for different sites/departments he “resists” by just working from home anyway. Like week one he went in 3 days and didn’t see very many people and was still doing mostly remote meetings (he works with a lot of people at another site and a few high risk people who don’t come in at all), then the next week he went twice, and he’s down to once a week at most and only goes in for social reasons basically. In this case the easiest thing to do is to just… wake up and decide you’d rather work from home that day and see if anyone even notices much less cares.

      5. Kaboom*

        I’m supposed to be 2 days in office. But my boss knows I moved an hour away and we’re short staffed and can’t afford to lose me so… I don’t go in and she pretends that I do.

    1. irene adler*

      The request to move employees back to on-site (or hybrid) when productivity has increased while working remotely simply perplexes me. I’ve read this happening in more than a few places. If something is working- don’t mess with it!

      1. ErinB*

        My workplace has been similar. Many colleagues have found that they’re more productive (we’re on a billable hour system, so it’s easily trackable) WFH at least some portion of time, based in large part on saved time commuting, etc. The flip side of this is that – because we have a very flexible hybrid WFH policy – people happily come into the office when needed for collaborative projects, social events, etc.

        It seems like people (myself included!) enjoy the freedom to make these decisions based on actual business need as opposed to a purely arbitrary T/W/Th schedule or something similar.

        1. irene adler*

          See, from my perspective, you have described the perfect system. WFH and come in when needed. AND the employees determine when this is needed.

          I’m wondering if trust is at the bottom of this ‘bring everyone back to the office’ stuff. Your place trusts their employees.

          1. allathian*

            Yes, it’s the same at mine. Trusting employees is one of our core values, and to their credit, our management by and large lives up to that.

            I haven’t been in since my long vacation ended three weeks ago. Some people are in every day, especially one coworker who lives in a small condo with no AC within walking distance of the office. Officially, the policy is that employees shouldn’t “isolate themselves” at home, although I doubt any of our managers will force people to come in any time soon, certainly not if they are or live with someone who is high risk. Before my vacation, I went in about once a week or once every two weeks, and that was fine.

        2. Ally McBeal*

          I’m also on a billable hour system, and we’re “required” to come in at least twice a week, and to try to coordinate on days when your other teammates will be in-office, but almost everyone on my various teams works in other office locations, almost everyone travels for work with some frequency (which counts as in-office, I think, since it’s in-person client work) and no one said a word to me when I didn’t come in for a full three weeks (precautionary quarantine pre-vacation, week of vacation, precautionary quarantine post-vacation) so I’m really not worried about it. As a company we also have the verbal word of our CEO that she will never force us back to full-time in-person. It’s a really, really good setup.

        3. MigraineMonth*

          My organization was planning to have our support department come in M/W and the department we were supporting come in T/Th. It didn’t make a lot of sense.

          Then my org just gave up and let everyone continue to WFH as long as we want.

        4. Yellow*

          This is how my workplace is. I WFH when I want to and come in for important meetings or when I need to print a bunch of stuff or just want to see my coworkers. I’m very pleased that my company is letting US decide what is best for us and our productivity. I usually average 2 days in office and 3 days at home.

          1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

            Our HQ office is like that too. Tuesdays are the designated “If you need to book a meeting where folks need to be in person” day, so that folks can have set schedules around potential meetings. Otherwise it is do what you will whenever, wherever, as long as it is done. In 6 months we haven’t had any issues

          2. Alex*

            One thing I noticed is how much less I dread meetings in the new world order vs. the old time when they forced you to be in a room, not do anything else during it, etc.

            I’m much more productive if I can work through my meetings (of which I usually only have to interact for a portion of it and otherwise simply listen) – and even if we would go in the chance that we have to remote someone in would be >95% anyway so we just stopped doing in person meetings altogether.

            Even on the off chance that everyone that needs to be on a meeting is in the same building at the same time we just decided it’s easier if everyone just hops on teams anyway.

            1. Y'all Talk Too Slow For My ADHD Ass*

              “This meeting only takes up 20% of my attention” is why I (used to) always bring my laptop and sit someplace where nobody can look over my shoulder to see that I’m not *actually* taking notes…

        5. Storm in a teacup*

          This is similar to what my work have instituted.
          They have tried originally to bring people back twice a week but it kind of backfired as most of us just didn’t come in unless we had to.
          Now they have a set day each week where most of our F2F meetings are, social events now get organised on this day, more meetings on this day. It works well. I know I’ll be in on one specific day each week. If there is a business need to be in on another day then I can go in but it’s not prescriptive

          1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

            The designated F2F day works great, IMO. It seems to allow folks to better plan their schedules, which has been really helpful for all of us, even the always remote people.

        6. Adrian*

          I wish my colleagues were as trustworthy as ErinB’s. Too many of them equate flexible with never coming into the office for any reason.

          They also are perfectly fine with dumping in-person projects that can’t be done remotely, on people who are in the office. The in-office people may not have the necessary knowledge to do the project. Or they have to back-burner their own work to do the WFHer’s project.

          1. ErinB*

            Ugh, I’m sorry to hear that. I do consider myself fortunate to be working with a generally great group of people.

            It probably also helps that our work is such that we, as colleagues, are not very good substitutes for one another, which makes that sort of dumping and passing off much more difficult to do.

            Here’s to hoping that your workplace turns a corner (or you’re able to find another solution)!

          2. allathian*

            Oh dear, that’s really unfortunate, and the inflexible attitude of those people may end with management ordering everyone back to the office.

      2. Mockingjay*

        Because companies are still paying rent and utilities. They’re stuck until the lease runs out, so “if we’re paying for it, we’re gonna use it!”

        Note that I didn’t say it makes sense.

        1. The OTHER other*

          I think this is a factor, though I think the trust issue others have mentioned is bigger, along with an ill-defined “office=better”, regardless if it’s true mentality.

          I wonder if we will see a significant reduction in demand for office space in the next few years as these leases expire and companies reduce their footprints. My old business (call centers) started going remote years ago to save costs.

          1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

            I’ve seen some of the buildings that the state and county governments rent advertising vacancies, so I have to imagine it will be happening in the private sector. Government probably jumped on it first because it is an easy budget saver. I’ll bet it isn’t happening in the buildings they own, though, unless the property itself is valuable

          2. MM*

            There’s been a lot of debate about this re: the future of midtown Manhattan, because if that stops being a solid mass of office towers/commuter central it would have a major effect on…the entire economic model of how to “responsibly” run and budget a city since 1975, lol. (To be clear, I think this model is wrongheaded in several ways, but that’s a week+ of Urban Studies 101 I’m not going to dump on everyone here.) I really hope some of those office towers end up getting turned into housing.

            1. Barry*

              A businessman I know in Boston figures that rents will come down until a new tier of businesses move in.

            2. Reluctant Manager*

              There’s also a theory that offices will just need to be less packed in like sardines–same square footage, more lounge space.

              1. allathian*

                Yes, and with enough square footage per employee, I bet more people would be willing to come in to the office at least occasionally…

                I’m very pro-WFH, but even I can see the value of interacting in person when there’s a genuine need for it.

              2. Alex*

                You could also – shocker – rebuild office buildings into apartments and make living downtown actually affordable again for the people that like that kind of lifestyle – shocking, right? ;)

      3. Octopus*

        My employees believe their productivity had increased.

        It hasn’t. It’s decreased and the learning curve got longer.

        It just keeps them from dealing with coworkers they now hate.

        1. Lyda*

          That’s a manager problem, though. If you can show their productivity has dropped, or if you aren’t managing employees who are avoidant with each other and it’s impacting their work, that’s on you.

        2. Eke*

          Counterpoint: my productivity is pretty unchanged but I have fewer migraines and am successfully on lower dose medications. So, not all improvements can be tracked via my billable hours, which have remained static. If I couldn’t wfh, I’d find a new job.

    2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Yes, this sort of passive, “Nah” is what I’m seeing the most of across the board for a lot of little stuff.
      Business attire dress code? Nah
      Work crazy hours on salary? Nah
      Required to attend in-person meetings when you’re normally WFH? Nah

      1. Midwesterner*

        I recently talked with some folks in a rural part of the Midwest in a pretty conservative industry (electrical power distribution, not to individual houses but to cooperatives) where some mid-level employees have been telling their senior leadership “nah” and “nope.” And they keep asking the senior leaders why people need to dress up or work in the office all of the time. I got the impression that leadership was … perplexed, but also decided not to push it. I was so impressed by how this mid-level folks have changed the culture in the office just by sitting back and letting change happen naturally. They definitely said the pandemic pushed things along on that front — if business was fine during the months the office workers had to work at home, why change things back to the old way?

        1. lilsheba*

          I love this. There is absolutely no reason to dress up or come in anymore in most office jobs. We’ve proven for the last 2 plus years that what we wear and where we are didn’t impact anything negatively AT ALL.

          1. Ry*

            At least in my city, it seems like the big push for “return to office” work is more to benefit the fringe businesses than because it’s actually necessary. I mean, I get it, they need customers to stay open, but adaptation is going to have to be necessary across the board.

              1. Dee*

                So is nyc. The thing is, remote work had boosted businesses in the outer boroughs. It’s not all about the Starbucks in midtown, or it shouldn’t be. Sorry you’re also dealing with that.

                1. MM*

                  If some of those midtown office towers were to turn into housing, there would even be [gasp] a market for those businesses like there is in the boroughs. If they were to actually invest in that transition and do it on purpose it could be a remarkable, massive improvement…but they won’t, sigh.

          2. lilsheba*

            “MM*
            August 18, 2022 at 6:24 pm
            If some of those midtown office towers were to turn into housing, there would even be [gasp] a market for those businesses like there is in the boroughs.”

            I have been saying this same thing!!! In our downtown city they could easily turn office buildings into reasonably priced housing and it would help revitalize the area, which was left pretty devastated after the protests/riots 2 years ago. Everyone complains about the homeless all over and the windows being boarded up and stuff…well make some housing and fix it! Housing for people who can work at home, and free housing in exchange for cleaning up the city! It’s totally doable.

    3. Hotdog not dog*

      This is happening in my office too. (Financial services). We’re all supposed to be in at least 3 days, but most people just aren’t showing up. The work is still being done. For context, my department isn’t client facing. Pre-pandemic we went to the office to work via computer, phone, and video with people all over the country, so it really never did matter where we worked from.

      1. sub rosa for this*

        I have this friend who is facing a similar situation – having to go back in on a 3-days hybrid plan, for a 100% non-client-facing job, after 2 years of stellar WFH results.

        Fortunately for my friend, her supervisor and manager have made it very clear that they will be turning a blind eye toward how many days people actually show up.

        Almost 100% can guarantee that this is a direct response to team members leaving for full-time remote work. Sounds like a good strategy to me.

        1. OldAdmin*

          “Fortunately for my friend, her supervisor and manager have made it very clear that they will be turning a blind eye toward how many days people actually show up.”

          That’s exactly what our management did after the 50% hybrid plan was instituted in my company in spite of rising numbers – they are happy to see us, but nobody is checking.

    4. Lab Boss*

      My department requires some in-lab work but in 2020 we switched do doing as much paperwork as possible at home using remote connectivity. We maintained all our metrics and (anecdotally) people said they were feeling less stress even during COVID than they did before when they were in the office all day every day. For a while every local drop in case numbers led to “Lab Boss, what’s your plan to get everyone back to 100% in-office work?” and I’ve said every time “I don’t have one, I don’t think we’re ever going that far.” They’ve stopped asking.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I’m a bit of an outlier in that I LIKE going into the office. Long bouts of unemployment have made me kind of hate working from home. I’ve developed an aversion to being stuck in the house all day. I like having the option to WFH in case of repairs/bad weather/mild illness, but I don’t want to be 100% remote. In fact, I’ve been using this as a selling point with out-of-state recruiters.

      HOWEVER…
      I do not think this applies to everyone. If my boss came to me and said, “I think it’s better to have Nancy, Jonathan, and Steve in the office every day” when their jobs don’t actually require it, I’d really be tempted to ask why. If they’re hitting their goals, what’s the point of being there that much? Working in a cubicle isn’t the best way to handle Vecna anyway.

      1. Anon for this*

        I’m sort of torn on this because I absolutely don’t see the point of making everyone come in if they prefer working from home, but I can’t work remotely very much, and being in a practically empty office has messed with my morale and motivation. I am annoyed with myself because I feel like if the work is worth doing, I shouldn’t need to be surrounded by other people working in order to get in the zone. But I had the same problem in grad school when we went from attending classes to working independently on dissertations. Apparently I only like independence up to a point.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I think that is very normal to feel! I’ve always been motivated by feeling like I’m helping others and being part of a team, not to mention that the pandemic has been very isolating. I’ve found myself looking forward to 1-on-1’s with my manger (even via Zoom) because it’s one of the few opportunities to see a coworker’s face.

          1. Storm in a teacup*

            I thought I would hate WfH more than 1 day a week but opposite is true. I think it’s helped by the culture at my company of having video calls as standard so I still see people’s faces and feel I’m interacting a lot. I really struggle if I’ve had a day of meetings and people have kept their videos off.
            Having said that my job involves lots of meetings and collab with colleagues. I would struggle to WfH regularly if I didn’t have that regular contact in my role.

        2. HA2HA2*

          I think this is related to the very purpose of the office changing.

          When everyone worked in the office, the office had to be designed for 100% attendance, and 100% of people being there for all their work-related needs. Now, it’s unlikely to get 100% attendance, so it looks super empty. And the people that come in don’t necessarily do so because they’ve got some work that can only be done there, it’s because they want work-related collaboration and socialization.

          I think there’s going to be a pretty long adjustment period, unfortunately. How to set up offices for this so they don’t seem miserable to the people who do come in all the time but are still useful to people who want to come in occasionally.

          Who knows, maybe it is an unsolvable problem and companies will end up choosing either “fully remote” or “fully in-person”. That seems unlikely to me, it seems it should be possible to run a hybrid remote/in-person company, but I think it will take quite some time to figure out how to do this.

          (I can totally see the viewpoints of “I like working remote and hate coming in, it’s miserable to make me come in just to socialize when I’m just as productive at home” and “I hate working at home and like an office environment, it’s miserable to force me to work at home” but also “It’s miserable working alone in an empty office on zoom because the office has to accomodate everybody working in-person but nobody chooses to”. )

          1. TechWorker*

            We’re doing fully in person for the same 3 days. (The other two tend to be pretty empty but a few folks come in every day). Our productivity definitely did not improve with work from home so I think it’s reasonably a business decision, I can tell lots of people here would hate to work at a company with this rule.

            Saying that one of our biggest competitors in terms of ‘aggressively recruits our newly trained engineers’ requires all work in office for security reasons. My partner signed a fully remote contract with a decent commute only to find his manager ‘hinting’ he should be in a few times a week. So maybe the wfh options are not actually as common as they sound.

          2. JustaTech*

            I’ve got an extra weird layer of the “I like coming in to the office but it’s very empty in here” because even when everyone is on site, it’s still very empty because we’ve had a lot of attrition over the last 3-4 years and there are just a bunch of empty desks.

            I, personally, prefer to come in to work (better desk and chair, very short commute, fewer distractions, better A/C in summer, I work with a lot of physical objects), but I’ve learned to be cool with most everyone else being WFH (years ago it would annoy me when one coworker would just spontaneously WFH, but that was about learning to communicate when I needed them in person to do a hands-on thing, not actually about WFH).

            My group will never go fully remote (because you can’t take the lab home), but I fully support 1) the non-lab folks going full WFH if they want and 2) the lab folks doing WFH when they can.

          3. The Real Fran Fine*

            Who knows, maybe it is an unsolvable problem and companies will end up choosing either “fully remote” or “fully in-person”.

            It’s not unsolvable. I work for a software company that’s pretty much always had a hybrid model, at least as far as I can tell, for the last couple decades. We’re also global, so our facilities team rents WeWork type spaces in places that aren’t U.S.-based for employees who want to or have to work in an office, and then they have set up huddle rooms in our U.S.-based offices for remote workers who want to come in from time to time for meetings or trainings. There are also usually empty desks on the main floors remote workers can use as well since a lot of people at my company travel for work and/or leave as a result of natural attrition.

        3. Shhhh*

          This is how I feel too. For the most part, I want people to be forced to come in…but I want my coworkers to come in because I like to work around other people. Luckily I have a couple of coworkers that come in as much as I do, but when they’re not here it messes with me a little.

          But ultimately I tell myself that that’s a me problem and that our organization’s policies should be driven by what’s best for accomplishing what we’ve set out to do.

        4. Gracely*

          This I understand! A lot of my job has to be done in person, and it did get a bit lonely when it was just me and the handful of other people whose work needed to be done in person. But I realize that’s a me problem, not a everyone else problem (especially since the parts of my job than can be remote are so much easier to focus on at home versus in the office with people there; hybrid really is the best solution for me).

          I coped by listening to podcasts, so it felt more like I had people around me.

      2. Anon pls.*

        I agree – I originally thought I was in an out of touch minority that wanted to be in the office at least part of the time since it’s important to me that work be more than a paycheck – but as I’ve talked to more people – its just not the “cool” things to say at the moment – so people stay quiet in this conversation if they don’t want to be on the wrong team – but I did leave a job where they pivoted to a fully remote style of work and for that, and a host of other reasons – I was miserable and not doing well – which was not working for anyone. To answer the original question – when I left for a job that was a fantastic fit for me – I was more explicit and vocal than I’ve ever been before that I felt like the company didn’t value me or see me and gave examples of where they failed me – which were not minor. I did get some major apologies from people who mean well but have lowEQ – but it was too little, way too late.

      3. Antilla the Hon*

        I am the same way. I live in rural hell and am positively desperate for human interaction/connection. I’d love to be in the office but there are no jobs here so I have to work remotely. Although the plus side is I can wear yoga pants every day!

      4. Richard Hershberger*

        I had a face-to-face conversation about this just this morning, at the Society for American Baseball Research national convention. I was talking with a very sensible guy I have known for years, so is in a senior position in a banking-adjacent industry. He was complaining about inefficiencies created by people working from home or on vacation. The example he gave was when a document needed to be notarized. In the office this this trivially easy. It is more complicated from home, and might cost both time and money. Also in the conversation was a professional editor. She is fully employed but hasn’t has an office outside the home in years. What this combination tells me is that there are three groups of jobs: (1) Those that really truly can only be done in the office; (2) Those that can be done at home, but require some adjustment of procedures; and (3) Those for which there is no point to having an office. The third group was well on its way to going fully remote before Covid. The second group was pushed into it by Covid. The first group shut down for a time, and either went out of business or threw up their hands and came back into the office and hoped for the best. My take on my friend’s complaint is that they are in the second group.

        This relates to employee preferences. Workers who strongly favor remote will naturally move into the third group. Workers who strongly favor in-person will naturally move into the first. I expect that in ten years, those two groups will be pretty much distinctly different labor markets. The interesting questions are in the second group of jobs, and what fraction of workers care strongly one way or the other. If it proves difficult to recruit talent while requiring in-office, a company will figure it out, out of necessity. If recruitment turns out not to be a long-term problem, inertia will prevail.

    6. Commander Sheppard*

      I hope this happens at my company. C-suite wants everyone back in the office the SAME two days each week, AND they want to “rebuild morale” by holding more department/company events and pressuring us to attend.

      It feels like we’re being told that risking COVID exposure is just the price of doing business. The last event- which I skipped- led to an outbreak.

      1. Utahn*

        My department has a quarterly all-hands in-person meeting (which is today!) I am going to be masking with my N95. (They really really encourage in-person attendance though there is a remote option.) Even when I am in the office, there is literally no one else in the section of the floor I am on the vast majority of time but around that many people who I have no idea will be responsible and stay home if they are exposed or sick, I mask.

        1. JustaTech*

          At our last all-day in-person event (where many people flew in from out of town) I wore an N95 and ate lunch outside because most people weren’t masking. And lo, one of the people did come down with COVID after that trip, and I managed to avoid it.
          (Just like two weeks before when we had a bunch of people up for an actually necessary on-site training, and by the time the week was over 4 people had COVIS, though most of them seem to have gotten it at home .)

      2. Zweisatz*

        Yeah that’s my sticking point. Making the effort to come in? I guess, my commute is doable. But forcing everybody into tight quarters when that means masking non-stop or risking exposure, and somehow not acknowledging that reality? No thank you.

    7. Venus*

      My smart coworker had a tactic years ago, when we had a management-mandatory-but-not-useful meeting at two different times and my nearly-retired coworker didn’t attend either. When someone commented about it, my coworker asked which meeting they attended and then explained that he went to the other one. If someone comments that you aren’t at the office then ask which days they go in, and say that you have conflicting schedules. This likely won’t work in a serious situation because it would be easy to have someone check every day, but in that context it was funny! Everyone knew that this coworker would never go to the meeting, but that person was quite happy thinking that they had narrowly missed seeing them.

    8. She of Many Hats*

      It would be more impactful if the C-Suite was on-site daily as well as expecting the “lower sorts” to be on-site. If the management doesn’t want to be on-site or is scared to be on-site, why demand non-essentials be on-site. We have one exec who works from their FL home, their cabin Up North, or their big suburban home but really wants everyone else on-site sooner than later.

    9. Utahn*

      Yup–this kind of happened at my company. Pre-COVID they allowed most workers in good standing to have one WFH day a week. There were specific people who had negotiated full-time WFH. Then COVID hit and we were all WFH for 2+ years. There were a few “back to office” false starts and then they came out with some guidance that demanded in-office minimum 3 days a week and you couldn’t WFH on Fridays or Mondays. When it came time to actually return…everyone seemed to “forget” the guidance and do what they wanted. The co-workers I interact with most often are doing 1-2 days a week in office, most people are in on Thursday, some are in on Tuesday. (One particular guy is in most days and keeps trying to get everyone else to come into the office…we ignore him.)

      I am in a unique position because my organizational team is based on the role I fulfill but each person on my team does that role for a different department based on product so I almost never work directly with my teammates and they are all in different offices anyway. My immediate boss for a while was full-time WFH in Georgia and then she retired and my new boss is in California and I think works most of the time from home. I am literally the only person in my role in the office I am affiliated with (though we are hiring, I desperately need another person in my role on the same product).

      Honestly, the only reason I go into the office twice a week (…most weeks…sometimes I don’t) is because 1) I sometimes want a change of pace from my bedroom where I have to work from at home and 2) the office has better air conditioning and we’re having a heat wave.

      I have already talked to my boss about going full WFH when I plan to move in 12-18 months (and buy a house where I can have an actual home office that is NOT my bedroom)…she said that should be fine there’s just an approvals process if I move out of state.

    10. TheOtherJennifer*

      My company has one Brick and Mortar office in the Northeast US and one WeWork in Manhattan and one in Minnesota. We are getting “if you live within 50 miles, you are *strongly* encouraged to come in X and Y days/week”. While it’s only 30 miles as the crow flies, it takes me more than an hour to get to the Northeast office. and there is NFW I am going on back to back days – which is what the survey results came back as the two most favorite days. Easily 4+ hour/week sitting in traffic to see the handful of people who are coming in who have nothing to do with me to satisfy some checkbox somewhere is not happening.

      What makes it even more irritating is that the landlord has the office up for sale.

    11. Some Dude*

      Similarly, my boss wanted us back 3 days a week and we said collectively “we’ll do the standing all-in day and an additional day if there are in-person meetings, but other than that it doesn’t make sense to commute to work so that we can be on zoom calls in our offices with the doors closed all day (we are a small team that doesn’t overlap much in responsibilities).

    12. Tea For Me*

      That’s basically what everyone in my department did, too. Our very formal president was pushing to get everyone back in the office full time (the same president who’d imposed a full time professional dress code shortly after he started a few years before the pandemic…fortunately the dress code was ditched with the pandemic after we started going back in).

      My boss didn’t want to go in much, and her boss wasn’t pushing it. Several other departments were the same story. So we just didn’t. Now we have a new president and all the support departments (including mine!) are going full time remote after Labor Day.

    13. My dear Wormwood*

      I did this even before the pandemic and I only just realised it reading this.

      I got sick and on the basis of that was allowed to do 1-2 days/week remote. It was emphasised that the university allows this with the expectation that you’ll work towards returning to the office full time. I just…didn’t. Like, the chronic condition improved slowly but surely, but “Screwtape works from home sometimes” just became an accepted thing.

    14. DiamondDogs*

      Company rule since Jan’22 – 4 days a week back in the office (an allowance from no remote work at all)
      traveling one day on business? That’s your WFH day
      sick one day? That’s your WFH day
      PTO taken that week? have to be in the office the rest of the week…
      Not surprisingly, we’re losing a lot of people, especially women (childcare issues) and this company is somewhat a boy’s club to begin with…disappointing.

      1. Toodles*

        1 weeks notice should resolve this problem easily enough. Your employer has not shown it is worthy of anything more.

  2. Thordak The Cinder King*

    I’ve recently come across the term quiet quitting and realize that’s exactly what I’ve done. I’ve worked in accounting for my entire career and been left feeling disengaged even before the pandemic. I’ve considered and am taking steps to changing careers. I recently scored a great new job (still in accounting) with a new company that pays me way more and lets me work remotely 100% of the time. I still do just the bare minimum to get by and don’t feel any more engaged though. I appear to be busy by being quickly responsive to pings and emails and making sure my laptop never goes to sleep in case they monitor that (you can change when the display goes to sleep in Windows settings btw). Most of my time is actually spent watching shows, reading news and AAM, doing stuff around my house, or even playing PC games.

        1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

          This. Quiet quitting is doing exactly what you were hired for aka what is in your job description–no more, no less. If Thordak is doing what they were hired for, their bosses aren’t upset with them missing deadlines, etc. they are still doing their job. Some jobs aren’t busy all 8 hours of the day. In fact, most aren’t.

          1. NoLongerFamily*

            This. You don’t get what you won’t pay for. After many years of service and getting passed over for promotions and raises, I decided I was done stretching for a team that didn’t appreciate/respect me. I just did what was required until I could finally quit “aloud”.

            1. Aggretsuko*

              Yup. I saw some article the other day on “vacationing while at work” (i.e. “take an hour off to go take a walk,” stuff like that) and while I wouldn’t be away from the computer, I will say that sometimes well, I take some quiet time to not be cramming stuff. I can’t leave and I’m going to get 1 star reviews no matter what I do, so why give extra?

              I think “quiet quitting” is a complete misnomer, though. They need to come up with a better name that doesn’t sound like walking out without notice without nobody noticing.

              1. Michelle Smith*

                There has been one for a long time IMO and it’s called “work/life balance” aka not burning yourself out to make money for someone else for no good reason. Quiet quitting is just a term designed to shame people into compliance with capitalist ideals. Most people in office jobs have never done focused work for a full 8-10 hours a day minus lunch. It’s a ridiculous and pointless standard that doesn’t serve workers at all.

              2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

                Culture folks used to just call it being disengaged at work, or checking out — this new name feels like propaganda, frankly

                1. calonkat*

                  Agreed! Renaming “doing your job effectively and efficiently” as “quiet quitting” seems like another slam on employees from employers.

                  Just like “no one wants to work”, then it turns out they don’t want to hire for more than $9/10-14 random hours a week. Well, duh.

              3. Mallory Janis Ian*

                It used to be called coasting: just doing the minimum amount required to keep one’s job and not going above and beyond for it.

              4. Mongrel*

                “I think “quiet quitting” is a complete misnomer, though. They need to come up with a better name that doesn’t sound like walking out without notice without nobody noticing.”

                If you look at the headlines and articles it’s because they’re often written from the businesses viewpoint, not the workers. Hence it’s just the businesses trying to frame the conversation in their favour.

              5. TeaCoziesRUs*

                Senioritis is the term I remember from academia. :) Coasting is another. But I most prefer work/ life balance and being paid for everything that is expected of you.

              6. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

                If taking an hour long walk in the middle of the work day is “quiet quitting” then I was already doing that before the pandemic.

              7. WheresMyPen*

                “Phoning it in” is probably a better term. I do still enjoy my job and have busy times and quieter times, but since I’m at home I’ll happily do my tasks for the day then sit on my bed watching TV or do some sewing or pop to the shops, but still checking emails in case something urgent comes up.

          2. Moon hopping*

            My favorite response to employers about “quite quitting ” was if your business model requires your employees to go above and beyond the problem is not your employees it is your business model.

            1. TechWorker*

              There is a difference between ‘bare minimum before someone complains’ (Inc just trying to look busy and pretending to work more hours than you are) and ‘above and beyond’ though. I don’t think it’s unreasonable of employers to want to hire people who care a little bit.

              1. Mallory Janis Ian*

                I think it’s that, if 15 pieces of flair are required, the “quiet quitting” employees are wearing exactly that and aren’t demonstrating an enthusiasm for, say, 40 pieces of flair.

                1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

                  I love this illustration. It’s perfection.

                  I’d also argue that “bare minimum before someone complains” is actually caring about the job. It’s likely that the person won’t advance, but they aren’t actually doing anything wrong. They care, just not more than they need to do and not more than the job requires. Or the job would be different and the bare minimum would move.

              2. Justme*

                I agree. But caring is a two-way street. I have had previous jobs where I happily busted my butt going above and beyond (and ironically getting paid much less) but I didn’t mind because I was also receiving recognition and appreciation. It’s an exchange. When one side of the scale is out of balance it affects the other one.

                I once got a new manager who turned out to be the boss from hell. All of the sudden the job where I had been killing it for years, getting multiple promotions and praise from colleagues and clients was all crap. She made my life hell. I was at the point where I was ready to just walk out of the office and never return, even without a new job. I didn’t know the term then, but I did quiet quit. I did the minimum/just the basics of my job and no more above and beyond. This woman put a high value on being seen, butt in seat in the office. Which I did, only I was mostly working on my hobbies and volunteer work. I’d say she and the company only ever got about 50 percent of my time and talents from then on.

                The balance of power has been skewed towards employers for wayyyyy too long. And this reaction is a result of that.

            2. Linda Evangelista*

              YES YES THIS. Our reviews are scored 1-5, where 3 is ‘meeting the requirements of your job.’ And it’s been conveyed that a 5 is almost impossible to achieve. Okay, so why have it? Basically you have to be doing a whole lot of free work to get a stellar review….

          3. MigraineMonth*

            I have about 4-5 hours of concentrated work in me per day. If I work 8 hours one day, I burn out and get nothing but email done the next day. My first office job had a strong bias for butts-in-seats at least 45 hours/week. We also had mandatory late nights when we were falling behind, and my work output decreased those weeks.

          4. Lyda*

            I feel like this is a New Way to Get Back at Your Shitty Employer that is 100% the idea of a Shitty Employer. You’re still working and providing value to your employer while the same crappy pay, benefits, and management exist. You’re still working. It’s not quitting, quiet or otherwise. It’s providing exactly what you’re paid to provide and nothing more, which is what should be happening anyway. It comes down to who’s really gaining from this idea; the employee or the employer and I’d argue the net gain is still with the employer.

            1. MM*

              I agree with this, but also at the same time: many employers have been relying on employees’ going above and beyond for a long time (understaffing, lack of support staff, skeletal management, etc). At this point it’s more or less built into the business models. I think the name “quiet quitting” is nonsense, but this is a shift and I expect plenty of employers are not happy about it. It is, to be clear, still much more to their benefit than, say, robustly organized labor strikes–I do still agree with you–but if it has to start with foot-dragging and emotional disinvestment, fine with me.

        2. Prospect Gone Bad*

          if you have to put effort into your computer not consistently going to sleep, you’re most likely doing less than bare minimum though

              1. CatCat*

                Their statement: I still do just the bare minimum

                Your judgment: you’re most likely doing less than bare minimum

          1. ecnaseener*

            If we’re going to be pedantic about this, I can set my computer to go to sleep after anywhere from 1 minute to 5 hours of inactivity.

          2. Just Another Reader*

            I strongly disagree. There are different types of people. I, also an accountant, can crank out a ton of excellent work in a very short amount of time. I get nothing but excellent reviews and have great working relationships with my co workers. But if I spend 5 solid focused hours of top notch work, then I will absolutely be worthless for the other 4 hours of the work day. I can get what takes others 10 hours, done in 5 easily.

            But I spend the rest of my work day relaxing and being available by chat or phone. No need to go above and beyond if your not compensated for it.

          3. Ellis Bell*

            We can’t say that, because it depends on the job. I’ve had jobs where every minute had to be filled or all the balls would drop, and jobs where the abyss of nothing to do was infinite and the computer would definitely go to sleep just while I was brainstorming what the hell to do.

      1. How Y'all Doin'?*

        Um, you’re wrong. They are definitely doing their job, just not allowing exploitation and trying to do the work of two or three people like so many complain about on here. Smart.

      2. Well...*

        Ugh this is about workers taking power back, not pestering people for not working hard enough. Can people chill for like one single post.

    1. Will Work for Chocolate*

      I just heard about quiet quitting and absolutely plan to do this when I find another job, as long as that new job will let me work remotely and be in the office on opposite days from when I need to be in the office for my current position. I intend essentially to focus primarily on the new job and relax my efforts at the old one until they figure it out and terminate me. Because my current position is government work, I may also develop a mysterious condition that requires me to be out sick just long enough to use up all of my sick days if I am struggling at the new position in the beginning. If I can manage to keep both jobs long-term, that’s great, but if one of them fires me, I’ll be cool with that, too. I’ve heard of a lot of employees working two jobs when they have to work remote, and I’m interested in trying it since wages in government are NOT increasing in response to increasing turnover.

      1. Linda*

        Okay what Thordak is doing is one thing, its just doing the minimum at work. But this is more like the article yesterday, and not really okay.

        1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

          What is the article yesterday? I guess you’ll get sent to moderation if you post a link, but what’s the title?

      2. FedToo*

        Are you a federal government employee? If so I’d be very very careful with this. This is actually a crime in federal employment (assuming youre double dipping while on the clock and don’t have an exception to not work core hours). My agency has pursued this on the past and they are able to clawback wages and you can face criminal federal prosecution.
        Just a word of caution.

      3. Anonymous Koala*

        I’m not sure what kind of government work you do, but I am also in government and this is illegal where I work because of security concerns. Government is one of the few places where employment contracts are still used and my states very clearly that I cannot work another job unless it is formally approved by HR.

      4. Salsa Verde*

        Well, this is a great example of workers taking back power for themselves, that’s for sure!

      5. Eeyore's Missing Tale*

        State government employee here. I would not do this. Where I am, it’s instant termination if yo uare caught working another job while on the state clock.

      6. Jora Malli*

        Every government job I’ve ever had has required employees to disclose when they have a second job, so if this is actually something you want to try to do, you should expect that when your current government employer finds out you will have napalmed that bridge entirely. You’ll be fired and put on the do not rehire list, and you shouldn’t count on anyone from this job being willing to provide you a reference in future job searches.

        1. Ace in the Hole*

          Yeah. I can imagine getting away with working a second job if it were something a reasonable person might not think would create a conflict… something like picking up side work as a wedding photographer a couple weekends per month, or taking a part-time job with evening shifts. Depending how strict your particular government employer is it still might get you fired, but you’d probably get away with just a warning and instructions to clear it with HR next time.

          But working a second full-time job at the same time as you’re on the clock for your government employer? That’s not just burning a bridge, that’s blowing the bridge to smithereens.

      7. Michelle Smith*

        You’re interested in trying a crime? Please report back and let us know how that ended up working out for you. This is fraud. You work for the government, not a private employer. The fact that you would advertise this plan on a public website suggests that you are not nearly sneaky enough to make this work successfully without being caught.

        1. Well...*

          We don’t know what country this is happening in or enough details for this to be a crime. My God.

      8. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

        My company’s employee manual specifically states that your [XYZCorp.] job is expected to be your primary employment and that side hustles are allowed only with your manager’s permission. I do a little freelancing and my boss knows about it and is cool with it, but I understand that it’s my responsibility not to let that interfere with my full-time gig.

        1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

          So, maybe check your HR documentation before you decide this would be a fun way to earn two salaries.

        2. Lyda*

          If you work for a private company, your boss doesn’t need to know what you get up to outside of work. That policy may exist, but that doesn’t mean anyone should share their outside work with their employer.

          1. Eyes Kiwami*

            Do we need to rehash yesterday’s debate here? In reality, employers can and do enforce limits on their employees’ outside work, such as disallowing them to work for a competitor.

    2. How Y'all Doin'?*

      Best invention ever: Mouse Jiggler, can buy on Amazon. Keeps your computer awake, was a game changer for me. Heard about it on Reddit, ran to get one. I just hated having to repeatedly sign in. No installation of any kind required, just plug into a USB port.

      For us old-timers, you have described what we call “retired on duty”, LOL.

      1. Murphy*

        OMG I could have used that in my old job (pre-pandemic). I did not have 40 hours of work to do, despite being asked for more and being told I’d be involved in more things.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I solved this issue with far, far too many hours of Spider Solitaire at one of my past (horribly planned) internships. You want me to work on an extremely difficult project that involves a high level of domain knowledge, but don’t give me any resources except one person who is on vacation this week? I’m going for a high score in Minesweeper.

      2. Meganly*

        Instead of spending money, just get Move Mouse. It’s just an .exe file and you can get it on the Microsoft store. I have it on my personal PC and work laptop bc I use my personal keyboard, mouse, and monitor on my work laptop using Synergy, and it often stops working when either computer goes to sleep if I’m on the VPN. I like that I can have MM function on a schedule, so I don’t have to worry about either computer staying awake after work hours.

        1. Michelle Smith*

          Not everyone has the ability to download unapproved exe files. I can’t access things like the Microsoft Store or Chrome Web Store to download so much as Adblock. All attempts to navigate to sites like that are logged as well.

          1. Blackberryvodka*

            I work in cybersec and the start of the pandemic was a nightmare for people downloading random mouse jiggler exe files. In fairness, we don’t care as long as it’s not malware, we’ll remove it from your system and tell you not to do it again but that’s it. So do be wary but policy probably varies from company to company.

      3. Venus*

        Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer gets the little bird toy that keeps hitting the keyboard key.

      4. Julia*

        Really? I find this thread pretty depressing, honestly. I thought I was going to read awesome stories of workers reclaiming power, but this is just a bunch of people who don’t care about doing a good job at what they do for a living.

        1. Lydia*

          You’ve confused doing your job and nothing more with doing your job well. They are not the same thing. Doing a good job doesn’t require anyone constantly take on more and burn out.

          1. Julia*

            This feels disingenuous to me. Yes, it’s obviously true that you can still do a good job while staying within the bounds of your job and not doing extra work outside that. But the context here is people using “mouse jigglers” to make it look like they’re working when they aren’t, and doing “just the bare minimum to get by” while “spending most of their time watching shows, reading AAM, doing stuff around the house, etc.”

            That just isn’t the same thing as someone who decides to say no to the occasional extra credit in order to keep their sanity. This is someone who’s affirmatively slacking off. You’re making a false equivalence here.

            1. Jackalope*

              One thing to point out about the mouse jigglers: some programs are set to make you look inactive after an unbelievably short time period. 20 or 30 seconds can be enough. Most employers aren’t going to be quite that controlling, but if you have a job that is, then the mouse jigglers make sense. Even if you are putting your whole effort into working while on the clock, you’re probably going to need time to consider data, process things in your head, etc. If the employer doesn’t get that, then that’s on them.

        2. Well...*

          Sorry if resistance makes you uncomfortable? I love my job but at least I’m aware I’m of a privileged few. Most of the work we rely on for society to work isn’t glamorous, and the dignity is in giving people the right to set limits on how much they are forced to do.

          You need janitors, fast food workers, factory workers, etc. And the reality is there aren’t people out there who would love that work any more than you do, and yet it must get done. If you aren’t making room for them in your fantasies about awesome workers reclaiming power then you aren’t that interested in workers’ power in any meaningful sense of the word.

          1. Julia*

            I think you have a point here. I grew up with the ethos engrained in me that hard work in a professional capacity is part of what it means to be a contributing member of society and to be a good person. I may be struggling a bit with the cultural shift to antiwork as a result of that. I’ve recently decided to stop chasing the brass ring in my own professional life, so I’m still navigating how I feel about work and what it means.

            I do think, though, that most people in this thread are not custodial staff or retail workers; the letters Alison gets suggest that most of her readers are squarely white-collar. The comment I was replying to included an accountant and someone talking about mouse jigglers.

            I also think doing the bare minimum isn’t the same thing as reclaiming power. For example, I used to work retail and I had an awesome coworker who never cancelled shifts, always showed up on time, greeted customers with a smile and genuinely cared about helping people out. He was also comfortable standing up to power and reclaiming his authority though. He was the one pushing for higher wages and letting us all know we should share information about how much we were making. You can do both.

            1. allathian*

              I wouldn’t say the retail worker was doing the bare minimum. I expect that he was taking pride in doing a good job. Some people actually enjoy retail or janitorial work, even if they’re usually presented as entry-level dead-end jobs that nobody who has any choice would ever do. Granted, many people are forced into such jobs because they can’t get anything else (like immigrant doctors and accountants who work as Uber drivers or cleaners because they can’t afford to get their certificates validated for their new country), but that’s by no means the whole truth.

        3. Fikly*

          Honest question: why should we care?

          We are getting taken advantage of, have been for decades and more, often in ways that break laws that frankly, don’t go anywhere near far enough in worker protections, all to line the pockets of a handful of people.

          The idea that we should destroy ourselves and the reward is “a job well done” is nothing more than propaganda we’ve all been fed since childhood. That’s not a reward. It’s also not something that allows you to survive, especially in a society that doesn’t believe in social safety nets. Now, if we had those, and a universal income, or even a minimum wage that reflected a living wage, we could talk about working for some kind of moral reason, but we don’t have any of those things. The vast, vast majority of people have to work to live.

          So why should we care about giving any more of ourselves to employers who don’t give us anything in return? Think about the definition of above and beyond. No, they’re getting what they pay for, and not a cent more.

          1. Julia*

            Well, let me ask you this: when you hire a plumber to fix a clog, would you rather he be halfhearted about it and just fix the immediate clog, or would you rather he go a little above and beyond and let you know if there’s a leak that will cause long term water damage? When you order food at a restaurant, would you rather have a waiter who leaves you alone for an hour while watching a show in the break room, or somebody who checks in to see if you’re ready for the check? If you were homeless and looking for housing services, would you rather encounter a social worker who does the bare minimum or one who will go to bat for you?

            1. Oxford Comma*

              But this is an apples and oranges comparison.

              I used to check my email at night and weekends. I used to answer reference questions at night and on weekends. That’s NEVER been part of my job. I did it because I was encouraged to do it by our administrators because “we’re supposed to care” and I naively believed them. Well, years have gone by and I don’t get a bonus for doing this stuff. I don’t get more money. I put in for raises and am told, sorry no. I try to move up and am told no. So I’m done with that. When it’s business hours, I am doing my job and I am trying to do it well. But at night? On a Sunday? All the hell no.

            2. Fikly*

              For your examples:

              If I am paying the plumber to fix a clog, then they should fix the clog. If I want a further check, I should pay them to do a further check.

              At a restaurant, part of a waiter or waitress job duties is checking to see when a table is ready for a check, so that’s not above and beyond.

              If I were homeless, I would want someone who does their job. Frankly, that would be an improvement, because they are so overworked and overwhelmed that what is supposed to happen doesn’t.

              What you are doing here is creating manipulative examples, particularly the third, that are designed to pull on ones emotions to get me to say that because I want something, it should be fine to exploit someone else. But I’m not going to agree to that, because that’s not who I am.

          2. Julia*

            Well, let me ask you this: when you hire a plumber to fix a clog, would you rather he be halfhearted about it and just fix the immediate clog, or would you rather he go a little above and beyond and let you know if there’s a leak that will cause long term water damage? When you order food at a restaurant, would you rather have a waiter who leaves you alone for an hour while watching a show in the break room, or somebody who checks in to see if you’re ready for the check? If you were homeless and looking for housing services, would you rather encounter a social worker who does the bare minimum or one who will go to bat for you ?

    3. lilsheba*

      actually I can’t control when my computer goes to sleep, the IT dept can shut that off so only they control it.

      1. Mockingjay*

        Our IT Department did that too.

        But you can stream a YouTube video of ocean waves. As long as the cursor is over the waves, it registers motion and keeps the screen awake. (Or so I’ve heard… The waves do make nice background white noise for focus.)

        1. BubbleTea*

          I think it’s more likely that playing video is one of the things set to trigger an exemption to the sleep mode, rather than the cursor being able to “see” the waves. How would that even work?

        2. WheresMyPen*

          I play a YouTube video while I have a program running in the background so my computer doesn’t go to sleep before it’s finished. I don’t think it’s necessarily about movement but rather the screen won’t go off while a video is playing. I guess in case you were watching a movie or something, it’d be pretty inconvenient

    4. My Useless 2 Cents*

      I just heard this term for the first time last week. It’s definitely what I’ve been doing for the last year or so. I’ve just been calling it burnout. Is there a difference?

      1. Lenora Rose*

        I think it can also be done as a way to avoid burnout. but yeah…. burnout is around in a lot of places.

    5. Lenora Rose*

      A lot of people have pushed back on calling “Doing your job but no extra and not volunteering for anything” quiet quitting instead of “doing your job”. I tend to agree. I like my job, and I have specific ambitions to move onward and ideally upward from here, so I don’t think it would be in my interests to coast (yes, even if I’m on AAM right now when it isn’t break time*), but if someone is where they want to be, and happy, but not wanting to make plans to rise or move on, it’s okay to be a bit disengaged instead, do their job, and leave it behind at time to go home. And I’d say that if they were one desk over from me at the same place as long as I got what I needed from them to do my job. (the actual person one desk over, while good at disengaging on holiday, is a “work through breaks and lunch at my desk” type)

      * August, for a variety of reasons, is a dead month here, and I’ve only had enough work to fill my day this month while also covering vacation for another person. Knowing what’s in the pipeline, I expect September to be a headlong run of constantly full days.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I totally agree that people who are content with their current position (for whatever length of time) aren’t quiet quitting if they don’t go above/beyond. I think the point of quiet quitting is identifying that in some cases, employees who were going above and beyond and were unable to get raises or promotions as a result of their hard work decided to pull back on their extra efforts. These people are the most likely to be job hunting and to take outside offers.

        When I was unable to get promoted, I didn’t quiet quit before job-hunting and taking another offer but I can understand the impulse. In fact, part of the reason I left is because I knew if I stayed, I would continue to do more than I needed to (specifically, my job and the job of the guy who got promoted instead of me but wasn’t capable of doing all the work himself) despite the lack of advancement opportunities for me and I just couldn’t see the point of that.

        1. Lenora Rose*

          Good point. I guess I’ve seen more people checked out at their current job but seemingly indifferent to job hunting than I have people checked out at their current job and actively job hunting, but you’re right that the latter is the more common and more *relevant* usage when it comes to work rebellion.

          But even that is still “doing your job”, it’s just not doing everyone else’s job.

    6. Tupac Coachella*

      I hoped there would be a discussion on this here, because I’ve been struggling with it. I’m realizing that I’ve been burning myself to the ground because I genuinely like my job and feel like what I do is important, but I’m feeling dissatisfied. A family member pointed out that I’m used to always looking for the next level, so I might be feeling discomfort because it’s time for me to plateau for a while and I don’t know how to do that. My high-performer syndrome makes me feel like I have to constantly level up or I’m failing, even when my compensation isn’t meriting it and, just as importantly, *no one but me expects me to give more.* When I heard about “quiet quitting” I didn’t love the term itself (it feels like checking out completely, which I’m not), but it was nice to have a name for it. I needed help giving myself permission to just do my job and not worrying about going above and beyond all the time, and to know that focusing on what I’m doing already for now doesn’t mean I’m lazy or don’t care. I think I really needed some help to sit with “no one asked you to give up your wellbeing for this job, do good work and go home” for a while. The trendiness of “quiet quitting” is helping me process that, so I’m here for it.

      1. LisTF*

        Apologies if this had already been said. But there’s a big difference between putting in good effort at a job that values you, pays a competitive wage, has a good work/life balance and good benefits….and the type of job we often see letter writers asking for advice about where they are doing the job of 3 people with no raise or title increase, expected to be available 24/7, and struggling to make ends meet while the company is turning handsome profits. One place is worth showing potential because of growth opportunities and career advancement. The other should get the bare minimum because they are a soul sucking black hole of dysfunction. Collect your check with no qualms for the time and duties outlined in your job description and not an ounce of effort more.

  3. Anon4This*

    My dear friend who is a test cook at America’s Test Kitchen just helped lead a yearlong unionization effort. Despite the company hiring a high powered union-busting law firm, the workers overwhelmingly voted to unionize and they’ll now have a seat at the table to discuss compensation and working conditions.

    1. Nynaeve*

      This is both heartening and disappointing. ATK is one of my favorite content creation platforms. I’ve been watching them on PBS since the Christopher Kimball days, and have followed them enthusiastically through the transition to more YT content, and even own several of their books. On the one hand, GOOD FOR THE EMPLOYEES, on the other, I would have hoped that their organization was more mature than that and would not resort to union busting activities.

      1. Delta Delta*

        I was a CI fan for many years, and when Kimball left I felt the content took a turn. I find myself actively disliking the company now (can’t put my finger on why, but I just don’t like it anymore). I sort of wondered if there was some toxicity there that was somehow showing itself in the content. So, yay for the employees, if that’s what’s been going on.

        1. Books and Cooks*

          Agreed. Without Kimball, it’s not ATK, and it really feels like a different site/place now (plus, I believe they did him dirty, which maybe made me more “on the lookout” for problems anyway). I don’t even read their emails anymore, and I used to be a subscriber.

          1. SeluciaMD*

            I hadn’t heard! Thank you for this!

            (Another person who used to be a huge ATK/CI fan, and specifically a fan of Kimball.)

      2. starsaphire*

        Pretty much exactly how I feel.

        I love their content and it’s hard to hear that they are so vehemently anti-Union. Good for the employees!

        (Also, I looove the Hunger Pangs!)

      3. JustaTech*

        Seconding all of this.
        (Thought I think I might like it a bit better since Kimball left, and am very pleased that Cook’s Country is going to a physically smaller format – it’s so hard to find magazine boxes for those giant magazines!)

        1. Nameless in Customer Service*

          I’m glad to see someone say this. I’ve noticed pleasant new faces including POC (people who were almost never featured under Kimball’s tenure). I really hope the shows continue to improve now that the workers have unionized.

        1. another_scientist*

          or REI, Google, Kaiser. Union busting tactics seem to be a requirement for employers, regardless of their brand image…

    2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      I love to see all the unionization!!! It is almost to the point where I can do everything I need to do in my day to day with unionized businesses. I also love telling businesses I go there because they are unionized and taking business elsewhere because they union busted (looking at you REI and Trader Joe’s)

    3. MeTooBoo*

      Another subset of employees at my job is in the unionizing process (another subset already did). Our employer is shamelessly pissed about it and grasping at straws to shut it down. It’s not working, and it’s one of the few joys I have left here.

    4. Jam on Toast*

      Darn it. I’m a long time ATK fan. My ATK Slow Cooker recipe book is literally falling apart, and the Chicken Enchilada casserole is my potluck go-to. Finding out they’re crummy employers though just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. “We tested six brands of employers and found one that was definitely sub-par. To achieve a hearty, respectful work environment, full of meaty flavour and happy workers, we recommend a union environment.”

    5. voluptuousfire*

      Ugh. I love ATK and it pisses me off that they tried to union bust the test cooks. No bueno.

      All my kitchen stuff is ATK approved too. It was a good place to look for solid kitchen gear at a decent price, although I swear they likely have an agreement with Oxo products since so many of their recommendations are Oxo products.

    6. PublicMediaInsider*

      There’s a significant wave of unionization happening throughout public radio and television, especially amongst the creative/content employees…and frankly I think it’s just terrible in every possible way.

      First things first: I believe very strongly in employee empowerment, and in general I am very pro-unionization. Please keep that in mind as I lay out my reasoning here…

      The biggest problem with pubmedia unionization is that so much of what is done ends up being very employee-dependent. Whatever qualities one could ascribe to “widget making” (no matter how skilled), the skillset for pubmedia content creation is the polar opposite of that. It requires so much flexibility that it’s damn near impossible to really have a fixed workload that’s defined as part of a union contract. All the other problems kind of flow from this simple issue, but the problems can be quantified:

      These unionization efforts have done NOTHING to fix the rampant terrible management in pubmedia. In fact, often they’ve made things worse because they’ve now normalized terrible managers in a structural way…making it that much harder to fire them.

      It doesn’t help that mass media is an industry full of large, fragile egos. To be blunt, a lot of these employees are hard as hell to manage on their best days. Certainly union rules make that much more difficult. Which means now you’ve got yet another system in place to protect bad employees, too. Which means one of the biggest gripes pubmedia employees have…that bad employees/managers are never held accountable (e.g. “bad money pushing out the good”)…remains entrenched, or is even exacerbated.

      Interestingly, none of these unionization efforts seem to have done anything to prevent pubmedia management from laying off people willy-nilly as they see fit. I know the behind the scenes stuff on a lot of pubmedia layoffs and while some are personality-driven, more are philosophy-driven; a great number of older, white men have lost their jobs to young, non-white, non-men in the last two or three years…and in more than a few cases, the replacements were objectively…by even the most generous definition…not as competent as those who’re pushed out. And that brings me to…

      Ultimately most pubmedia pays lousy wages because they don’t have the money to pay better. Not while maintaining the same headcount. A lot of the practical problems raised by unionization could be largely alleviated by a bigger headcount to have more “slack in the system”, so to speak. But these outlets can’t afford more people; they can’t even afford the staff they have. And like most non-profits, there’s a pervasive (and idiotic) aversion to funding any overhead. At all times, overhead must be kept as low as possible. That means you throw money at the content creators and starve everyone else: development, underwriting, grants, engineering, finance, facilities, database managers, I.T., etc etc etc. So when the newly-unionized content creators want more things that cost more money…guess where the only place to get that money is? You got it: by laying off some content creators to get money to fund those that remain. OOPS. So much for unionization making your life/job better.

      Honestly, if there were one thing I could say that could unequivocally result in better working conditions/pay/etc for pubmedia employees? It would be an independent system or organization that regulates the Board of Trustees (or whatever the nonprofit media org calls it). It’s TERRIFYING how little oversight there is of any of these Boards, and how little appreciation by Board members of what the pubmedia outlet even DOES on a daily basis, much less what “success” and “failure” look like. Bad boards result in bad senior management, and bad senior management is where most of the problems in pubmedia have their genesis.

      (note: some pubmedia outlets, like those owned by a University, don’t have a “Board of Trustees”. The underlying problem usually remains the same though: whomever the “Executive Director” (or CEO, or General Manager, or whatever title the leader of pubmedia outlet uses) reports to still usually has little knowledge of what the pubmedia outlet does, and even less knowledge of how to hold that ED accountable for both the good and bad things that happen under their leadership.)

      1. Skippy*

        “But these outlets can’t afford more people; they can’t even afford the staff they have. And like most non-profits, there’s a pervasive (and idiotic) aversion to funding any overhead.” This is what those companies’ private-equity owners tell their staff. I used to work for the current leadership of ATK and they cried poor all the way to the bank, where they had huge debt service on their leveraged purchase. It is still a good way to make a small fortune. (“How do you make a small fortune? Start with a large fortune and buy a publishing company.”) But in a strong niche, with ownership that isn’t trying to bleed the place dry and isn’t saddled with debt, it is possible to have a healthy–growing, even–media company.

        1. PublicMediaInsider*

          I confess myself confused. In general I’m more knowledgeable about public radio than public television, but as far as I knew, ATK was owned by WETA. I didn’t realize they were owned by Boston Common Press LP…a company with a fairly shady rep according to the five minutes of Googling I just did.

          This sort of ownership may be more common in public television but it’s pretty rare in public radio. Most pubradio shows are owned by registered non-profits; usually the stations they’re based at (or the parent university of the station, if there is one), or by NPR or APM itself.

          There’s a few notable exceptions: Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion weren’t, but are no longer in production. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is owned by Urgent Haircut LLC but AFAIK the NPR HQ still has enormous say over how it’s operated. This American Life is owned by Ira Glass directly (well, I assume he’s created an LLC). But still, this is just a handful of shows among the vast majority that are officially and legal operated as non-profits.

          Granted, just because a nonprofit is a nonprofit doesn’t mean it can’t be terribly run. There’s little stopping a nonprofit from paying their top people an obscene amount of money while the rest of the peons get pennies. But unionization has, to the best of my knowledge, never once impacted that within the pubmedia realm. Sometimes a pubmedia leader will get fired and one reason they’ll cite is excessively high pay, but that’s never the main reason they got fired.

  4. Meghan R*

    I really dislike the term quiet quitting. Really, workers are just not allowing themselves to be burned out by going above and beyond constantly.

    1. A Poster Has No Name*

      Yeah, that one was clearly coined by manager or other higher-up. It’s not “quitting” it’s establishing healthy boundaries and doing the job you are paid to do, not that job plus the three others you’re not getting paid for.

      1. Hotdog not dog*

        Exactly. Why should I go out of my way to give “extra” to my company? When was the last time the company went out of its way to give extra to the employees? We have a business arrangement; they pay me X salary in exchange for me completing Y tasks. If I throw in Z task, I’m lucky to even get a thank you, so why not just stay in my own lane?

        1. Moon hopping*

          My problem was that Z became the new expectation. If I had a great day or week and was able to do all my Y tasks plus a few more things that help those I handed off too it became “you did it last time why can’t you do it every time” I was never allowed a bad day. I was now no longer being a team player or told if I had stayed late I could have done more. No accounting that my metrics had me as consistently at 135% efficient , never mind that the others in my role were at 75% efficiency. I was not trying hard enough because one week a month I could hit 175% there for every day I should be at 175%.
          If I left work at 5 and had work with a SLA that still had 2 business days left I had a bad attitude.
          No consideration that If I work late I pay OT to the sitter and have to pay for take out for 5 people. working late cost me more that I make. Response to that is I should be team player because it makes the sales people (all ready at 3x’s my salary) more money.
          Killed all motivation to help.

          1. Hotdog not dog*

            I think of it this way- just because you can sprint for a short distance doesn’t mean you can do it for the whole marathon. Unfortunately, you’re right, if you do it once there’s an expectation that you’ll do it forever.

          2. Ricama*

            Ah yes, the old reward good work with more work “teamwork” model. I bet they even thought you would be happy to learn you’re their go to person.

        2. The OTHER other*

          I want to push back a bit on some of the comments, what at least some people are talking about (spending most of the day watching TV or playing games) doesn’t seem like “refusing to do extra” or “not doing three jobs”, it is goofing off while getting paid. Honestly, it’s the sort of mentality bad managers that refuse to allow remote work expect employees to have.

          If you dislike your job, or have so little to do that you spend much of your day watching TV and occasionally answering an email, unless your company is very dysfunctional then at some point a manager is likely to figure you are mostly dead weight and lay you off.

          It’s great that recent events have given employees so much ability to push back on unreasonable demands and bad bosses, but at some point the economy will shift and people will get laid off and someone collecting a full-time paycheck while mostly playing Warcraft is not going to have much job security.

          IMO people shouldn’t be expected to work 10-12 hours per day, or cram 10-12 hours of work into eight, but expecting that you actually be working for the 8 hours you’re being paid for is not unreasonable.

    2. socks*

      Agreed. When I first saw the term I assumed it was something like not working at all while you looked for another job, not just…not going above and beyond.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Yeah. I would assume it was sit-down striking or checking out. This just sounds like enforcing reasonable boundaries.

          1. ShanShan*

            Job abandonment is a silly, dramatic term, though. It’s a job, not a child I’m leaving at the supermarket.

              1. BubbleTea*

                Coaching isn’t just a sports term… it’s a technique used to teach and support someone.

            1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

              What do we call it, then? Resignation through Inaction or Resignation through Disengagement?

              1. Lyda*

                Walking away, walking out, noped out, gave ’em the ol’ two fingers up and quietly floated away? I kind of like that last one.

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          Same. I didn’t realize it was just doing the job you are paid to do and no more. That isn’t quitting. That is giving your employer what they hired you to do, not what they hired you to do + the 3 other jobs they decided thy didn’t need bodies for because you can do it.

          1. Lyda*

            This whole thread sums up EXACTLY why I hated this term when I first read about it. It’s not quitting, quiet or otherwise, if your employer is still getting something out of you.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        So those days when I find myself saying “my get up and go done got up and went” and I walk through the task at hand without sprinting, someone thinks I’m quiet quitting?
        Nah. Nope. I’ll be back playing in Expert Mode soon, just let me use Easy Mode until I recover from last week’s overload.

    3. Rachael*

      Yes! Doing your job during expected business hours is NOT “quitting” in any sense, quiet or otherwise.

    4. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

      Agreed. Calling it “quitting” is propaganda. The thing being described is literally just showing up, doing your job, and going home. I.e. the same way I’ve always done it.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Same here – I have, over the 18 years I’ve been working, occasionally put in extra time when a project really did demand it. But I’ve also learned work-life balance is very important to me, and I maintain my boundaries pretty firmly; I do my job, I log off/go home and that’s it. And I’ve advanced in my career, gotten more responsibility and nobody has ever complained or told me I need to work harder.

        1. The Real Fran Fine*

          Same here. I worked crazy hours early in my career because I was non-exempt and making peanuts, so desperately needed the time-and-a-half overtime pay to afford my rent, but once I was able to obtain better employment, I set firm boundaries around my time and have kept them for nearly 9 years now. I’ve also been promoted several times over the year (and just recently, twice in a 9 month span), so I’m doing just fine without working myself to death.

      2. Liane*

        This is pretty much how Newsweek describes it. Something (some) workers have been doing for decades but now it has a name because some Gen Z workers do it and it gets talked about on social media.

        Link in reply

      3. ferrina*

        Totally propaganda. I work in an industry that has regular sprints where we need to work overtime, but that also needs to get balanced by reasonable PTO/flex time, manageable workloads, and strong professional development programs. There are times you need to go beyond and do OT, but some folks liked to treat that as the norm. No! If that’s your norm, you aren’t managing your priorities, timelines and resources correctly! (Or you’re in Big Law, where they tell you what you’re signing up for and pay you accordingly)

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I worked at a software company where they just expected everyone who was salaried to put in crazy hours. I celebrated when we failed to land a major contract.

    5. Nekussa*

      I think it’s just a new name for an old labor concept, “work to rule.” You’re not on strike, you just don’t do anything beyond your defined job requirements, don’t arrive early or stay late, etc.

      1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

        I think work to rule also has an element of malicious compliance —adhering to every single rule because it will slow things down.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          Yeah, that’s how I’ve heard it, as a type of sit-in strike. Working according to the clock or the job description is just… doing your job. I’m not sure we need a new phrase to capture “doing your job but not attempting to be a rock star/wizard/ninja/other stupid descriptor”.

        2. MM*

          For what it’s worth, I’ve always heard “work to rule” used the way Nekussa described, definitely not malicious compliance.

      2. Curmudgeon in California*

        This, although “work to rule” has a lot more dotting i’s and crossing t’s when it isn’t absolutely necessary. Like another poster said, there’s a bit of malicious compliance in “work to rule”.

        The “quiet quitting” BS is actually “quietly quitting being exploited for no benefit”. IOTW, boundaries.

    6. Anastatia Beaverhousen*

      If we always go “above and beyond” than the bar is moved to a new “normal”. 60 hour work weeks is NOT normal. I think “quiet resistance” is a better term.

      1. LabTechNoMore*

        Plus pay hasn’t kept up with inflation, so those 60 hours barely pay for food and rent. Not to mention other luxuries like education or healthcare. The things we need just to survive are priced so high that your average person can’t afford it anymore.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          It’s not just inflation, it’s the astronomical increase in education, healthcare and housing costs, which all surpass inflation.

      2. My Useless 2 Cents*

        I like the term “quiet resistance”. I feel less and less moral obligation to “give it my all” at work. Fit’s my “new normal” quite well.

        Start of 2020, after owner pissed me off big time, I cut down my output to what would be average output (about 35-40% of my typical speed without any extra tasks filling in the difference) and spent 6 hours a day poking around on the internet (I work in the office, too, never went WFH). My give-a-sh!t meter topped out and I was practically daring them to fire me. Joke was sort of on me though, as none of the higher ups seemed to register the slow down. (Perhaps chalked it up to COVID??) My temper has since cooled down somewhat but I haven’t upped the speed on my output. I still meet 95% of my deadlines and the way my work is structured no one has to work harder or cover the missed 5%. I’m bored as hell but my motivation to work harder just isn’t there.

      3. MM*

        I like “foot-dragging.” (I’m borrowing this from the scholar James C. Scott’s “Everyday forms of peasant resistance.” Basically, you don’t actually refuse to do your work, but you literally or figuratively drag your feet as you go about it.)

    7. learnedthehardway*

      Agreed – it’s better described as “working to rule” – as in doing what was contracted and not more. (I’m familiar with the term from when our teachers do this instead of striking – all the extras like sports and extracurricular activities get cut, but they still do their teaching.)

      1. londonedit*

        Yep – there’s a situation here where one of the train companies has had to drastically cut its services because of ‘lack of staff availability’, and that lack of availability is because the train drivers are choosing not to work overtime. The drivers say there’s no coordinated action about it, they’re simply choosing not to pick up overtime shifts as they did before, but it’s clear the company was relying on existing staff doing overtime shifts rather than employing the number of drivers they actually need to run the service as it was.

      2. Alternative Person*

        Same, I was like ‘what, that’s work to rule and it’s a perfectly reasonable position to take’.

        There’s some differences in opinion on what exactly constitutes working to rule at my job, but we all agree that going above and beyond shouldn’t be the baseline.

    8. HigherEdAdminista*

      I am in agreement with this. I have been trying to enact better boundaries around what I will and won’t do at work because my industry is one of those where you can very easily get roped in to doing more and more with little reward. I’m not quitting my job nor am I slacking on it, but I’m trying to put it in its proper place where it gets a piece of my attention, but not all of it.

    9. How Y'all Doin'?*

      Meghan, you are so right. It’s just working normally without excessive stress that will not be rewarded. Working to live, not living to work.

    10. Cold and Tired*

      100%. I will work hard and do good work for what I’ve been hired to do. I just won’t volunteer or agree to do extra stuff you won’t pay me for. I made the mistake of taking on an extra project last spring that was more work than I’d been told, yet my raise didn’t reflect the extra work. So I’ve scaled back to just my actual job for my normal hours at my expected pay and that’s it. None of this is me quitting. It’s just me doing only my actual job and not providing additional labor to my employer that they aren’t compensating me for.

    11. Person from the Resume*

      I absolutely agree. I googled and found the definition not to be what I thought it was.

      Tired of going above and beyond at work for little-to-no recognition or reward, it appears people are beginning to embrace the trend of “quiet quitting” in the workplace. But, unlike the name suggests, these people are not actively trying to remove themselves from the company payroll – they’re simply establishing better work-life boundaries by doing what’s necessary to stay employed but not breaking their backs to surpass expectations.

      Frankly when they describe not going above and beyond as quitting, I’m confused. I’ve never been wrecking my work-life balanence. I haven’t worked (much) after duty hours or on my vacation. That has been my normal work practice, and I’ve generally been quite successful.

      This is going to be another one of those new made up phrases that’s misleading and leads to lots of confused conversations, I bet and people don’t cimmunicate well.

      1. londonedit*

        Me too. I don’t get paid enough to ruin my work-life balance ‘going above and beyond’ all the time. I get my work done, the books I’m working on are published on time, my authors are (broadly) happy, but I’m not going to work unpaid overtime or have my work email on my phone or do anything outside my contracted hours (unless there’s a dire emergency). That’s not ‘quiet quitting’, it’s ‘doing the job I’m paid to do well, but not letting my job rule my life’.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I will suggest an alternative phrase.
        Restful compliance — To get the basics of your job done in the hours you are paid to do it, without moving into stressed-out overtime territory.
        As opposed to Reddit’s infamous “malicious” compliance.

      3. Allonge*

        Fully agreed. I do go above and beyond a lot but let’s not take ‘doing my job’ as…, well not doing my job? Because that is quitting. The not doing my job.

        Both as a manager and as a teammate, I love colleagues who do their job. Show up on time, go through the daily tasks, leave on time. No drama, no fuss. Totally awesome.

      4. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

        You found *a* definition. (Not giving you a hard time, just pointing out that you found the word as defined by the author of one particular article you found, and maybe a bunch of other people quoting it.) This is a new phrase, so the consensus about it’s meaning is still being formed.

        Frankly, there are plenty of words and phrases that have been around a lot longer, and people/groups ascribe different meanings to it, leading to much confusion.

    12. Kaboom*

      Yes. I hate this term. It’s literally just going to work and doing your job and not killing your self to go above and beyond. It’s not a form of “quitting”. It’s just doing your job.

    13. Girasol*

      It seems like the opposite of “employee engagement,” which at first meant enthusiasm for one’s job that is kindled by great management. Later it seemed to morph into enthusiasm that employers would expect good employees to generate in themselves that would result in them working longer hours for no more pay or recognition. “Quiet quitting” doesn’t seem like quitting at all, but more like saying, “hell no!” to that win/lose deal.

    14. Policy Wonk*

      Agree. When teachers in my area did this a number of years ago in the middle of contract negotiations, they called it “work to rule”. Don’t do anything other than what is in your contract. I think that’s a better term.

    15. Sans Serif*

      I agree. Equating not going above and beyond to quitting is a messed up way of thinking. It’s the kind of thing that lets employers take advantage of employees in the first place. It’s not quitting to just do your job without trying to be a star. I’ve pretty much done that my whole life and have had a very successful career. I just very rarely go over 40 hours and I don’t volunteer for stuff that’s a “stretch” because I have no interest in moving up the ladder. I’ll be retiring in a few years and have had no problem with this approach. I’m giving them high-quality work – but it’s exactly the amount they pay for, and no more.

    16. Shhhh*

      Yeah quiet quitting is not a real thing (or shouldn’t be). It’s called setting healthy boundaries.

    17. Anonanonanon*

      Yeah. Being remote has been a godsend for me – my job has periods of lulls, and when I was in person I would have to sit in front of my computer looking busy. I took on additional work and responsibilities, and still I have lulls, and generally don’t work more than 7 hours in a given day, except during quarterly busy times. I was dying of boredom in the office. Now that I am home, if I’m not busy, I don’t have to pretend to be working. I’m available during the day now, but I’ll go on a walk, or do laundry, or take a nap, or do anything but pretend to work when i have done all the work I need to do for the day/week.

    18. Distracted Librarian*

      Agree. The notion of “quit and stay” is an old one, but to me that means people who do the literal bare minimum to avoid getting fired–not people who fulfill the terms of their job descriptions but don’t go above and beyond.

    19. Lifeandlimb*

      I agree! This fad phrase “quiet quitting” is so silly. It’s just called DOING YOUR JOB.

  5. Gonna be full anon today*

    I’ve been “quiet quitting” since day one. I’m seen as a superstar at my work, but I don’t think they realize how easy I find it/how much free time I have. I could take on so much more work and help out in other areas, but I’m never going to volunteer for that.

    1. Toodie*

      I am adopting this approach, too. I don’t know if it is a gendered thing, but all my life I have been one of those people who catches hints. (You know: “Toodie, we were just talking about how much we all loved the brownies you brought for the last team meeting!” or whatever, and then I’m volunteering to make them again.) Hell no to that. Just let the damn hints drop on the floor where someone else can clean them up.

      1. Jessica*

        I love this. I’m now imagining you wading briskly about your office, through a layer of scattered hints that’s passing knee-deep.

      2. EngineerDE*

        Yes! Women have to pretend to be oblivious to bad behavior to make others’ lives easier – let’s pretend to be oblivious when it will make our lives easier. Confession: I do!

      3. Gonna be full anon today*

        It’s not the same scenario exactly, but I deal with a lot of outside people who aren’t always happy with the position I take, and one of my fave things to do, when they keep going on about how they disagree and blah blah blah, is to just say “okay.” And it always throws them, that I’m not trying to argue with them or justify my position.

        1. Books and Cooks*

          That’s what I do, as well! “Okay.” I don’t enjoy arguing, and think it’s generally pretty pointless. So I just…don’t. I highly recommend it.

          As I used to tell my husband when his ex-wife would call to pick fights, “They can’t argue with you if you refuse to argue back.” When I finally convinced him to just /try/ the “Okay,” method, the number of phone calls she made to us dropped significantly, because she was no longer getting what she wanted. (And the bonus was, it made clear to her that he /really didn’t care/ what she said or did–her opinion of him no longer mattered to him at all. “Okay,” doesn’t always mean “I don’t care what you think,” but in this case it definitely did.)

          1. Gonna be full anon today*

            I litigate for a living, and I’ll always remember something a jerk opposing counsel once told me after I sent him a paragraph long email about why I thought he was wrong – don’t argue with me, we’ll do it in court and let the judge decide. He was such an ass in other ways, but he was 100% right about that.

      4. JB (not in Houston)*

        This is a good thing to do outside of work as well. For me it works well at keeping me from getting irritated with them, and it has the added bonus of irritating them in a way they can’t really complain about (obviously do this only when you can afford to irritate the person).

        I don’t do this all the time. For example, I have some dear friends who are from a culture where asking directly is seen as rude or demanding (whether from another country or a USian family where asking for things wasn’t done). But with them you can usually tell that they are trying to bring up the subject in a way that they believe will make it easier for me to say no, and it doesn’t bother me. I reserve this for people who I know want to get their way but don’t want to ask for it because they want the reputation of not being demanding.

    2. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

      YES! For the first several months I felt so guilty I could work on other personal projects at home or hell, play Animal Crossing while exceeding targets well beyond my coworkers simply because my last job had me finishing fifteen projects per day and this one has me doing a whopping three per week. It’s a gift from the heavens! My husband has had me swear not to take on more work or volunteer for anything and just see how it fares, and based on my last one-on-one I’m smashing targets left and right at work while finishing my fish collection on AC :)

    3. NYC Taxi*

      Same. I’ve been quiet quitting my entire career, and until now, felt guilty about it. I get stellar reviews, people love working with me, and sure, there are short periods where I’m pushing harder on a project or we have something last minute that comes up, but I have a lot more free time than my management probably realizes.

      1. allathian*

        Yes, I’ve done the same, although the difference is that I’ve never felt particularly guilty about it. I also get decent reviews, with at least meets expectations on every metric, and a few exceeds expectations. But as a senior SME I’m in a dead-end job in the sense that I can’t advance unless I go into management, and I’m not interested in that.

        The one time I accepted a project that turned out to be more work than anyone expected, I got burned out or pretty close to that, and things ended badly, with me yelling at my then-manager when she tried to manage me… Not my proudest moment, and if I hadn’t changed my ways, I might’ve been put on a PIP and managed out (government, so firing is difficult, and insta-firing is reserved for truly egregious things like threats or acts of violence, breaches of national security, or embezzlement). As it was, I had to attend our early intervention program (no choice, they would’ve treated a refusal as voluntary resignation). I took two weeks of sick leave, and I’d accumulated enough working hours during that project that I took an additional two weeks of comp leave with my manager practically ordering me to do so, as well as some of my annual vacation, so I was off work for 6 weeks straight. That was enough to reset my brain, but then I resolved that I’d never let myself get that close to burnout again, and I haven’t. It’s worked so far, mainly because I’ve had decent managers since then who don’t want to burn us out, and because we can outsource some of the work if we can’t get it done in a reasonable amount of time.

        That said, my org does have a culture of constant improvement. I’ve resolved to only do mandatory trainings from now on, unless something comes up that I absolutely want to do, after years of volunteering to take as many trainings as I could find time for in my schedule.

        I’m very grateful that I can forget all about my white collar, professional job as soon as I log off for the day. Sure, sometimes I do think about it even when I’m not actually working, but that doesn’t happen very often. And my employer definitely expects people to take their vacations, and nobody’s expected to keep an eye on their job email when they’re on vacation. Well, except some of our top executives, but they’re compensated for that.

    4. Wants Green Things*

      So you’re just… doing your job?

      That’s not quitting, and god I hate the term “quiet quitting.” Doing what your job entails and not taking on extra work is not *quitting*. You are literally just doing your job.

      1. Gonna be full anon today*

        I mean, okay. That’s kinda the point of my comment – this is just how I’ve always treated work. I don’t care if it’s called anything or not. I do think it’s disingenuous though to not acknowledge that a ton of people do feel the need to constantly go above and beyond at work for no reason, so there is value in letting people know that it’s okay to just not do that.

      2. tessa*

        Yeah, not sure I understand the self-congratulatory “quiet quitting.” If someone is hired to do X and Y, and does X and Y, that’s…doing what you got hired to do.

        1. Lenora Rose*

          I don’t think it’s self congratulatory. I think it’s being imposed from outside to make it sound like a negative.

          I think it ties in with the articles about how we need to work from in office for Reasons,a dn the articles about how the Great Resignation is soon going to turn into the Great Return because 26% of people surveyed said they regretted quitting their job at this time either due to the new job not being as good as hoped or because no new job was lined up.

          For it to be true, you have to ignore the 74% who are content. For “Quiet quitting” to be an issue for a workplace, the person writing about it has to assume working above and beyond is the only valid option.

          1. Lyda*

            I’m not sure it’s being presented as a negative. I honestly think it’s meant to make people think that doing what they were hired to do and nothing more is some sort of trick they’re pulling on their employer instead of it being…exactly what they should have been doing all along. It feels like the sort of thing a management consultant came up with when a company asked them how they can convince people to stay put and do their work. We’re seeing an employment crisis on the side of employers and if they can convince people not to actually quit, they come out ahead.

    5. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

      Same. My personal lifelong experience is that the more helpful I am, the more people start to expect it, then demand it, and then get very resentful and nasty with me when I stop being so helpful–even if I’m otherwise doing my part exactly as written. I’m sick of being used up and burned out by others.

      It takes a lot of conscious effort on my part to *not* volunteer everything I can, whenever I can. But people are respecting my boundaries so nicely now, often without even realizing those boundaries are there. It’s great!

    6. Also full anon*

      I wouldn’t call myself a superstar but I started a new job last year in a new industry while also dealing with some major health issues. I am WAY less productive than at my last job, but all my projects get completed on time and correctly and management praises how I’m doing. I could take on more work now that I’ve settled a bit but I don’t see any reason to do so – I have no aspirations of climbing the career ladder, I just want to do my job and get paid so I can do all the other things I enjoy.

    7. Morgan Proctor*

      Same! I have never done 8 hours of work a day in my life, never will. It takes me about 1/4th the time to get something done as it does for my coworkers, and I usually nail it on the first go, so I’ve always been seen as a superstar. I usually work 2-3 hours a day, and I still get more done than anyone else on my team. I volunteer for extra work here and there, but mostly I do my work, I’m done by noon, and I work on personal projects.

    8. Distracted Librarian*

      This describes significant parts of my career, and I’ve also been seen as a superstar and moved up through the ranks. I’m the kind of person who gets a lot of good work done in a relatively short time, but I can’t sustain that pace. So I work full-throttle for an hour or two, am in meetings for another 3-5, and spend the rest of the time doing low-key work or, now that I can work remotely, doing the occasional chore or taking the occasional walk. I don’t have the physical or mental stamina to put in the 10-12 hours/day that so many leaders in my industry do, but I do a good job anyway.

  6. chc34*

    I started a new remote job last year and have found that, while it’s in the same kind of department I worked in at my previous company, the workload is MUCH lower and slower-paced, which is amazing. (Things that my manager tells me are a huge rush are what normal timelines looked like at my last job.) I think my efficiency, though, is still at last-job levels, so I find that I’m able to do my assigned workload (of which my coworkers all have an equal part) in much less than 35 hours a week. Previous, go-getter, hungry-for-advancement me would have asked for more things to fill that time. Current me, who watched past me burn out by going above and beyond for years while everyone else did the bare minimum (with absolutely no reward except more work), is not asking for more work to do. I’m relaxing and reading with my laptop open next to me in case anyone needs anything.

    1. lilsheba*

      Same here, my last job was 10 hours on constant being on the phone and “up” for customers and always being in my seat with no real freedom (although I’ll be dammed if anyone is going to tell me I can’t go to the bathroom when needed). Now its’ laid back, I don’t have to worry about metrics, and I spend a lot of time reading and watching shows when my work is completely caught up. At home. I love it and feel I deserve this after years of hell.

    2. Efficiency Beast*

      You basically described me. At first I felt guilty. Then I realized they are paying for my expertise to do the job. If it takes me 2 hours a day but they pay me for 8? Cool. I don’t want to go back to taking on more and more tasks and not getting compensated in any way.

      1. FORMERHigherEdPerson*

        OMG this is me now, too. I still have twinges of guilt b/c of how ingrained the idea of “BE BUSY ALL THE TIME” was from my previous jobs.
        I went from higher ed administration to L&D and I have so much more flexibility and freedom. Timelines are longer, work pace is slower, and there’s nothing about my job that has to be done after 5pm or on weekends. I worked nights/weekends from 2002-2021. August used to be the absolute worst month of the year and now it’s just another month. But I feel like I’m tricking them or skirting responsibilities, even though I know it’s not accurate. Higher Ed administration messed up my “reality” expectations of a normal workplace.

    3. Ellis Bell*

      All my former colleagues from “mad dash” workplace discovered they have super speed compared to colleagues at their new places. We all left for a reason.

    4. The Real Fran Fine*

      Current me, who watched past me burn out by going above and beyond for years while everyone else did the bare minimum (with absolutely no reward except more work), is not asking for more work to do. I’m relaxing and reading with my laptop open next to me in case anyone needs anything.

      Ha! Same.

  7. danmei kid*

    I am chuckling a bit at the irony that this question follows your post about a person’s work laptop being stolen from a hotel room by an “independent contractor” i.e. sex worker.

  8. Liz*

    I reclaimed my power by quitting to take a job with better benefits, more staff, a better chance at work/life balance, and fully WFH

    1. NewJobNewGal*

      Same here. I was working at a startup that I was committed to bring into a solid company. But leadership weren’t as committed. After two years of promises, I got a new job, negotiation more $$, and now have work/life balance. Earlier in my career, I would have kept suffering and giving more and more to “save” the company. I would have fooled myself into thinking that the company’s problems were fixable and giving insane hours of time would bring the company out of the mess and …bla bla blah…not anymore. I’m experienced enough that I spotted the sinking ship and didn’t want to drown with it.

      1. starsaphire*

        It’s so odd how sometimes bad jobs resemble bad relationships, isn’t it? :)

        Congrats on the wisdom and on the new job!

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          Seriously. I decided long ago to jettison bad relationships, and I’ve given myself permission to do that with bad jobs. As I was telling someone at work yesterday, I used to be always on and going the extra mile, just to get shat on and laid off. Now I apply my hard won expertise where it’s appreciated, and I don’t get any “Why can’t you do twice as much in half the time” any more.

    2. Chilipepper Attitude*

      Came here to say that! I left a job I expected to retire from and am loving my new job of 1 year.
      I was managing Old Job by quiet quitting and by being a mentor/unofficial manager to my coworkers who did not read AAM (despite my constant plugs!) and who did not know that Old Job was not normal.

      In my “mentee group;” one quit and then was successfully wooed back with everything he asked for, two got other jobs and are very happy (and one has a side deal for a passion project that I directed her to), two are still there and have learned to “let it go” and just ride instead of working to clean up manager’s mistakes or to see the mistakes before they happen (now they just get out the AAM popcorn).

      For any bosses wanting to know what is better:
      This is same job, just different organization:
      -I don’t have to punch a clock and I can manage and flex my time – Old Job did not allow any flex time and even if we had coverage, I could not come in an hour early or late and then leave or stay an extra hour. I had to follow the exact schedule.
      -Barely any rules about when I can take vacation – last job I could only ask 90 days in advance, not any sooner – how do you plan ahead and pay for things if you might get told no 90 days in advance?
      -If I don’t have much to do, I can start projects, reach out to other departments, etc. At Old Job, everything had to go through channels and in 7 years, the answer was “no” every time for me and for almost all my coworkers (of course, the rudest one did get her projects approved).
      -I can work from home, not all the time for coverage reasons, but I can, and I don’t have to ask in advance. Old Job did not allow anyone in our area of 100 employees to WFH (not even during early days of COVID – we closed in April only) while other large sectors of the employer are still WFH.
      -Boss at new job is great! Management style at Old Job included telling people how they were feeling and attempting to manage them into new feelings. It was never, tell me about the situation; it was usually, here is the situation based on other person with feelings about it and I know based on my own opinion that you have x feelings about that so here is how we will manage them.

    3. MigraineMonth*

      I burned out just before the pandemic and quit to take a slower-paced job for less pay. I’m so glad I did.

      Now I’ve recovered from burnout, have a great work/life balance, permanent WFH, I finally had the bandwidth to get a chronic health issue fixed, and I’m a “superstar” in my department.

    4. ArtsNerd*

      I set boundaries and expectations with my boss when I resigned. He was so pissed that I definitively refused to make myself generally available to them, much less come back and *train their next hire.* When they inevitably reached out with unreasonable questions, I directed them either to my extensive documentation or their current consultants who would be able to help them out. This did not go over well.

      I recently accepted an offer to a job in the public sector, so I let that boss know he’d be getting a reference/background check call just to confirm I’m not lying and am a basically ethical and competent employee.

      His reply took one last opportunity to try to put me in my place. He strongly implied I didn’t deserve a new job, and asked me to explain to him why I thought this new job would be a “better fit”. I called my friend to tell her the real answer: “Position was billed as ‘marketing manager’ but ended up being 80% emotional labor.”

  9. Because 7 Kate 9*

    My current company has had challenges with hiring, providing professional development, and providing resources so that projects can be done rigorously. This is all stemming from company-wide goals that are based on sales, not project quality. As a result, my division is experiencing a MASSIVE exodus (20% of my region leaving and half of my immediate team). Needless to say, I am also looking to leave ASAP…

  10. 3lla*

    I’m still feeling very vulnerable, but in Jan 2021 I quit my unbelievably toxic job for another position… Where in early 2022 I was horrifically mistreated for having cancer in a way that was inconvenient for my employer. I finally quit just before being fired (again, explicitly for having cancer) and have a new position where people are kind to me and no one complains about my having to attend medical appointments during business hours, plus I’m making the most I’ve ever made. I’m currently a temp, and researching heavily into negotiation and strategy for when my permanent hire package discussion comes around in a few months. Hoping I’ll end up with a good story.

    1. OyHiOh*

      If you do have a good news story in a few months, we all hope you’ll write a Good News Friday blurb for Alison. Best of luck to you!

    2. ferrina*

      Hugs and love to you! I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through all that! Keeping my fingers crossed for a Good News Friday ending!

    3. Murphy*

      Well, how dare you have cancer at your employer. /sarcasm

      I’m so sorry that was done to you. I hope your new job works out!

    4. Nameless in Customer Service*

      You found another job while dealing with cancer and having been forced out for it! I admire you so much I can’t even say.

    5. Lyda*

      That is awful. It sounds like you know what you need and are on track to get it. I hope you’re feeling mostly well and when you get a chance to update us on your negotiations, you will!

  11. Kacihall*

    I hate the term quiet quitting. It’s just a term for employers to be victims when employees do the job they are paid to do instead of always going above and beyond.

    That said, I am definitely engaging in it right now. I was promoted in January. Told I would get a raise at my 90 day review. At the review, I was told since EVERYONE got a raise at the beginning of the year for market corrections, I will be eligible for a raise next year. Maybe a whole dollar to $18.50!

    So I handle client calls. I set up new clients. I do not do Sales’ work anymore. I don’t do processing in my free time (like I had any, I was just expected to do both.) I will work overtime and process some were in busy season, but that’s more because I need the money. I was helping out my team with spreadsheets to make their jobs easier, but after I worked for half an hour yesterday on it they decided not to use it, so back to my job. And just my job.

    1. Wendy Darling*

      Wait, that’s what that means? I’ve been doing THAT for years, ever since I didn’t get a promotion I was told I’d get if I worked at the level of the new title for the duration of a big project. That was 2 jobs ago!

      1. Julia*

        I don’t really totally understand this approach. It would kind of make me miserable. If I’m being passed over for a promotion or raise that I feel I deserve, I’m going to just go try to find another job where my work is appreciated and I can thrive and feel challenged daily. I’m not going to start putting in minimal effort at my current job, because that would damage my career path and my self-esteem (which is partly wrapped up in how good I am at my job).

        Maybe you are job searching and I’m just not totally understanding what you’re saying, but this just seems pretty depressing to me.

        1. allathian*

          For some people, applying and interviewing for a new job is fraught with anxiety to the point that they’ll put up with almost anything to avoid it. This is why, no matter how toxic a workplace is, some people always stay until they’re pushed or kicked out. It’s also one reason why we celebrate people who bite the bullet and get out of a toxic job.

          You’re ambitious. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as you understand that for some people, a job is just a job, not a part of their core identity.

          I’m not at all ambitious, if by ambition you mean climbing the career ladder. I’ve been in my current position for 15 years, and I can well imagine myself staying here for another 15 years, until it’s time for me to retire, doing more or less the same job as I have until now. Sure, the software we work with will change, and our working methods will change, but the fundamental part of the job probably won’t. With better tools and more experience, I’m a much more productive employee than I was when I started, or even 7 years ago.

          I’m happy as long as my reviews show meets expectations across the board, with maybe the occasional exceeds expectations, but not to the point that the exceeds expectations become the new standard. I’ve had years when I’ve exceeded expectations across the board, only to be denied a raise (for budgetary reasons), to the point that working so hard and continously learning new things to improve my productivity adversely affected my mental health.

          Doing my job well is important to my self-esteem, but my definition of doing my job well is different from yours. I’m happy if I get paid reasonably well for working a reasonable number of hours at a job I’m reasonably good at, with a decent manager and coworkers. I don’t need to be constantly challenged, and I’ve found that when I’m forced out of my comfort zone too often, it affects my mental health in a way that isn’t sustainable in the long run. For me, occasional boredom isn’t the worst thing in the world.

          1. RichH*

            Gosh this comment really resonates with me Allathian. I’ve been in my role for 18 years, still largely enjoy it, have a great relationship with my colleagues and my manager but if I try and take on too much, it triggers my anxiety. I’ve basically noped out of working long hours and have not experienced any negative consequences at all. Quite the opposite actually. I realise I’m in a fortunate position though and that it’s not that simple for some.

    2. pope suburban*

      I agree, it’s a bad-faith, manipulative way to describe doing the job you’re paid to do. Employers have enjoyed the benefits of not just underpaying people broadly (Look at wages vs. productivity, and wages vs. cost of living), but getting free extra labor, usually with either the promise of a promotion/raise that never comes, or with the threat of unemployment if the employee works to rule instead of working extra. God knows I fell for that scam when I was new to the working world, and it has never once paid off. I just now quit doing it, after nearly five years of taking on extra at a job for which I was already overqualified, only to pass an external interview for a job I’d done on top of my own for years, then hear from my own management that I would not be moved on to the next round. They like my work in that role just fine, but they’d prefer not to pay me for it and to keep getting my actual job duties covered for my current rate too. Nope, screw that, they had their shot and now I’m going to do as specified while I look for greener pastures. Life’s too short to waste my time and energy like this; I want to do good work that allows me to live a life in which I’m content. That’s it, that’s all, that’s not shameful or wrong or lazy- and I adamantly reject any suggestion that it is.

      1. Kacihall*

        I doubt it was the employees just doing their jobs that decided to call it any form of quitting. The business papers/sites that are firmly on the side of the ruling/capitalist class are definitely the ones pushing it right now.

    3. Beth*

      Agree on the term — the thing you’re quietly quitting is the extra load of self-inflicted abuse that your jobs attempts to pile on top of all the other expectations.

      At my old job, I was doing a version of this, although the term hadn’t gained any traction. I’d been a superstar from the beginning, but as my bosses got more and more pointy-haired, and my co-workers got more and more desperate because it was impossible for them to keep up with their workloads, I just . . . drew a line in my life at some point and stopped trying to do the impossible.

      I worked my full hours, I did as much of my work as it was possible to do in a workday, I did it very well — and I took my time off and I took sick time when I was sick and I stopped working extra hours or holidays. I was always behind on some tasks, because it would have taken twice the staff to keep up. I made sure I stayed on top of the critical, time-sensitive tasks (such as payroll and bookkeeping), and let the rest go if I couldn’t get to it.

      Meanwhile, one of my colleagues regularly complained that she needed a break, but if she took vacation, she’d just stress out because she’d be even farther behind when she got back, and she wouldn’t be able to relax or rest. I couldn’t help her (I tried), but I was determined not to be like her.

      As far as I could tell, my bosses didn’t notice; they continued to be just as unreasonable and demanding, but they were already like that. When I started to make plans to leave, it was SUCH a monumental relief.

  12. Chairman of the Bored*

    I have seen several people force their employer to switch them to permanent work-from-home by flatly refusing to go back to the office, and saying they’d quit before they would commute. My wife did this successfully, and her email to her boss about it included a screenshot of an Indeed search showing like 6 open WFH jobs that were a good fit for her.

    At the place where my brother works fully 80% of the employees just refused to show up on the management-designated “everybody back in the office” day. As he describes it, this wasn’t really an organized thing as much as just a bunch of people independently deciding not to go in. Management’s response was to say “due to changing Covid rates in the area, we’re going to stay a hybrid workplace for the foreseeable future after all”. They just flatly refused to acknowledge that the workers ignored their original plan, but they also didn’t try to force people back to the office again.

    1. ferrina*

      Yes! One of the C-Suite at my job tried to do this, then was immediately shot down by another (slightly more powerful) C-Suite. The WFH advocate pointed to our turn-over numbers and pointed out that we couldn’t afford to lose more workers.
      The WFH advocate then quietly put in place programs to support remote workers, and made it part of our hiring to not look at location (except for tax purposes). Now we have too many remote workers to try to move back to in-person.

    2. Magenta Sky*

      “her email to her boss about it included a screenshot of an Indeed search showing like 6 open WFH jobs that were a good fit for her.”

      Nice touch.

  13. Crystelle*

    Not sure if this will count, but I’ll throw it out there anyway. I job hunted for about six weeks from March – April for this year and ended up with three offers. Here’s some ways I felt empowered by the shifting balance and used it to my advantage:

    1) Every time a recruiter asked me for my salary expectations, I in turn asked for the range and said I’d let them know if it worked for me. (I promise I was polite.) I got the range about 95% of the time, but I refused to give out a number – I was considering a range of roles of varying seniority and genuinely didn’t have one number!
    2) I rescheduled interviews if the turnaround was too tight – I would’ve been too scared to do that a few years ago. (One company tried to tell me at 6pm that they wanted me to do a case interview the next day at 9am. I have to prep for cases!)
    3) I asked about remote work and work-life balance in all my interviews. I ended up accepting a role that’s 100% remote!
    4) In the meantime, while at my job where I taught classes in-person, I insisted on being able to hold the attendees to masking standards.

  14. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

    My company is fully back in-office, which is… well, it is what it is. But when management attempted to start enforcing the pre-pandemic “dress code,” we all just sort of collectively went “nah” and continued wearing jeans, t shirts and flip flops. We’re not setting the world on fire, but it’s nice to be able to stand our ground on something.

    1. Hotdog not dog*

      We gave up on the dress code too. Most of us only go in occasionally, but when we do it’s in jeans and t shirts. My team is not client facing, so there’s no reason to suit up other than that management would like us to.

    2. Quinalla*

      Yeah, it’s been interesting on the dress code front. We had some new employees ask about it and we were all like um…. the official dress code used to be business casual/jeans on Fridays, but then COVID, and now it is pretty damn relaxed – no PJs, but pretty much any clothes – unless meeting with clients the dress appropriately. No one really pushed it to be honest in our leadership, but if they had, I think everyone would have been like “Nah!”

  15. Elle*

    My non profit is only applying for program funding that provide a salary higher then 40k. That is still low but many public health programs provide salaries that are less then 35k. In the past we would apply for any funding and deal with high turnover and an inability to hire staff due to the low salary. This created a lot of stress among program staff. Management is also lobbying state government to provide higher salaries in state funded programs.

    1. OyHiOh*

      How wonderfully proactive and strategic on the part of your org’s leadership. If only they all followed your org’s example!

      1. Elle*

        It’s a first for me! We have new leadership who is interested in reducing turnover and doesn’t buy into sacrificing yourself to do important work.

  16. Emily R.*

    This delights me actually. I work in a library. Librarians are disturbingly underpaid. The job requires a master’s degree, but some places try to pay $15 an hour. Part-time work has been the norm. Now, people are mass leaving this profession. We are currently hiring for a part-time position starting at $22 an hour. No applicants. Our non-mastered degree position paying just above minimum wage are even harder to find employees for! The tide has shifted and libraries are going to have to pay more to keep people. Screw these female dominated professions that pay their employees pennies.

    1. Eliot Waugh*

      I dropped out a year into a MLIS program after realizing that the max salary for any job other than director-level (or maybe some corporate gigs) was less than I was making at the time.

      1. Emily R.*

        Well played. I am waiting out my student loan forgiveness then jumping ship for knowledge management.

    2. LCH*

      museums too. just saw an archivist position in a major city for under $40k. also term-limited, of course. GFTOH.

    3. WhimsicalWhale*

      I volunteered/worked at a library when I was in high school and I adored the work and seriously considered going into it. Then I found out that it’s a relatively competitive field in my area that pays well under the poverty line. Upon reflection, not sure how it manages to still be a competitive field in my area – maybe there was (the sexist stereotype of) the married woman who didn’t need the money but just wanted a hobby job a couple decades ago, but certainly not anymore. Of course, if I ever wind up in a position where I can just do a hobby job instead of having to earn a living, I’d absolutely consider working in a library.

      1. LCH*

        eh… it depends on the position. if you’re talking shelver/front desk check out only, sure. if you’re talking highly skilled original cataloging, nope! i figure you meant the first.

        1. Money talks*

          Sadly, even the positions requiring a bachelor’s degree pay way too little. I had a job at a public library where I ran programs and it paid under $14 an hour in 2017.

      2. Peachy keen*

        THIS. On top of the low pay, you’re tacitly encouraged to run yourself into the ground like in a lot of other public service professions, because it’s A Calling and so you Shouldn’t Complain about bad working conditions or too-heavy workloads.

        I was a wreck until a friend sat me down last year and told me to embrace the concept of “idk man, I just work here.” I’m lucky enough to finally have a full-time position that pays my bills, and I was scared I’d ruin that. Turns out that once I dialed it back a bit, my work got even better because I wasn’t so miserable. (Plus, I wasn’t having anxiety attacks before/after work!)

        I’m still burnt out, but I’m doing better, and getting more involved with my union to try and make changes that will help me and my coworkers going forward.

      3. another_scientist*

        this reminds me of how I interned at a kindergarden in high school, and the employees were honest about the compensation and I noped out of that career.

    4. Rogue Librarian*

      After working 10 years as an MLIS-librarian, I jumped ship, and started working in policy development for a public company. It’s honestly a ton of the same skill-set and I got a major raise and better hours.

      Now that the burnout bruise from librarianship is healing, though, I’m starting to push back as a library advocate against the poor work conditions and expectations–since I’m not employed by them anymore, it’s taken more seriously.

      At my new job, though, I’ve established myself as a fierce advocate for employee rights, paying people for the work they want to do, and generally pushing the company towards a give-and-take with employees rather than the management ruling all.

      1. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

        My eyes are hearts the size of container ships about all of this!

        Love,
        Also a former library worker.

    5. Alice*

      I’m really glad to hear this about your library. Mine (academic) is still getting plenty of applicants, maybe because of our perceived prestige — even though the local public university is hiring at the same level with starting salaries 10k higher.

      1. Chilipepper Attitude*

        Our academic library is not getting plenty of applicants. We think because we are in a high-cost area. But it is frustrating!

    6. librarianmom*

      The Massachusetts city that I work for recently went through a reclassification process for our union members (clerical and maintenance.) It did reveal how underpaid the librarians were for the education/job skills required. The range now is $29.19-$42.30. Yay for unions!

    7. Sara without an H*

      Screw these female dominated professions that pay their employees pennies.

      I will add this statement to my list of ideas-for-needlepoint-projects.

    8. Sara without an H*

      Retired librarian, here. Glad to see that at least some librarians are waking up. I wonder how long it will take the American Library Association to realize what’s going on.

    9. Adequate Archaeologist*

      We are having a similar “problem” in archaeology. You want to pay people crap wages to do physically dangerous work, not provide health insurance, and require a bachelors degree for the privilege thereof? Don’t give me a shocked Pikachu face when people bow out for something better. My current company is desperate for techs for a big project (they also aren’t great at advertising for roles though, which is biting them extra in this market, despite treating their employees better than average) and I’m not sure they’ve gotten bites for the upper positions flying at $22/24.

    10. stuck librarian*

      Out of curiosity, where are you located? The pay range for librarian jobs in teeny tiny RI is wildly diverse.
      One town is paying their paras more than the library the next town over is paying their MLIS librarians.
      BANANAS

    11. Holly*

      This is interesting to me, as a recent MLIS grad – I’m applying to many kinds of positions across Canada and the range I’m seeing here is 60-70k CAD to start (usually $36-46/hour if hourly). Certainly, there are some jobs that are less but the majority are in that range. Many of these are a bit of a reach for a recent grad but some are not. Seems strange that the low-paying jobs are the norm elsewhere! Maybe I’ll end up eating my words after my interview next week (if I don’t get that job) but I dunno!

      1. Library Ninja*

        Also a Canadian librarian–any of the Canadian public and academic libraries I’ve worked in have been unionized. I wonder if that’s one of the factors in the difference.

    12. Honoria Glossop*

      Just for any other librarians in a similar position who are reading this, library vendors are hiring! I graduated with an MLS about 10 years ago into a very oversaturated market and struggled to find any library position. I eventually “settled” for working for a vendor and it’s been totally the right decision. I make fully 3 times what I would have in a library, work regular 9-5 hours, and still feel like I’m using my degree. I know some people from my cohort think I sold out and work for the evil empire, but imperial life is good!

          1. Alice*

            Would also be interested. Maybe Alison could even do a whole post about employment with vendors that work with “vocational awe” professions like libraries, education, non-profits?

        1. Saturday*

          Yes and there are a lot of library vendors. I work for one of the larger ones and we employ hundreds of librarians in the US. Go to the ALA website and view the sponsors/advertisers. Then visit the vendor website job postings.

    13. Anne of Green Gables*

      Also a librarian, also having trouble recruiting part-time positions, both requiring an MLIS and not. In my area, the public library actually pays really well, there are people in their first year of having the master’s degree getting paid more than I am (academic/community college) with 15 years post-MLIS and I am the equivalent of a branch manager. But like public libraries, education is seen as a “here for the mission” area, so nothing happens about our low salaries.

    14. another_scientist*

      academic research too. Lots of open positions, not enough applicants to go around.

    15. LibraryGirl*

      I completely agree. I am a manager at a library and I am advocating HARD for my employees to be paid a competitive wage. We were able to bump up, but it is still not enough. I will continue to advocate, but I am too am burnt out. And I am doing what it says in my job description. Nothing more.

    16. Kirstente*

      In the UK, Fair Library Jobs has kicked off campaigning around recruitment practices and pay in libraries, hopefully something similar will start in the USA.

  17. KP*

    I think the term “Quiet Quitting” is interesting.

    I don’t know if this my corporation’s culture or part of being salaried…or something else entirely. But, we are ranked on “engagement” during our performance review. And the expectation that you go above and beyond is baked into the culture. If you never volunteer, you’re going to get dinged in your review. If you say “that’s not my job”, you’re going to get dinged in your review (That one is basically a death sentence for your career)

    So in my corporation’s culture, you are sort of quitting. You’re indicating that you’re willing to do your job at the meets expectations level (barely) but you’re not interested/passionate/excited. It signals that you aren’t a team player. You aren’t going to ever advance, or get good projects, nd you’re likely to be the first cut if there’s downsizing In one very intense role I had, I would get feedback from supervisors that I was “disengaged” whenever I tried to establish appropriate boundaries.

    I’m curious about other people who have worked in similar cultures and if they were able to change the expectation of constantly going above and beyond their role. I work in the Pharma industry so there are very real consequences to not hitting deadlines (market shortages, mostly). Everyone is very aware of what will happen if you don’t go that extra mile….but’s not fair to the employees to run a business that way. If you’ve experienced that, how did you manage to scale back and establish boundaries in a culture that expects more? Were you able to accomplish it individually or did you manage to impact the company’s actual work culture?

    1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

      I think quiet quitting looks so different as well in office vs WFH. On my team we are WFH and project based, so as long as the projects are complete, other time is yours basically. You need only probably volunteer to proofread an article for 15 minutes once or twice a week and you’re considered engaged. I guess because of this I’m more willing to go “above” or try new projects because my workload is so much less than it was in previous jobs and without that resentment of being constantly monitored. I feel like people wouldn’t “quiet quit” if they weren’t micromanaged but maybe it’s the lack of oversight that actually makes it possible…?

      1. Michelle*

        There’s always Alison’s line of, “I can do X and Y, or Y and part of Z, but I can’t do all three. How would you like for me to prioritize this?”

        1. Girasol*

          My company’s instance of this was a butt-in-seat one, so many people found themselves getting a week’s worth of work done in 30 hours but being at their desks for 50 hours because it was the time, not the work, that was measured. It was a very competitive culture, so if one worker clocked 50 hours, his coworker would shoot for 55 and get recognition from management if he had the most hours in his team. Just 40 hours was “barely scraping by, and you should talk to your manager to see if your work is adequate,” never minding that work was not actually the point. Jealous coworkers sneered at the few people who put in a full day and no more, and they were the first to go in layoffs. So the attitude was remarkably entrenched. I left and am now scavenging Glassdoor for signs of how this is holding up in the new market.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            Sounds like my cult-like OldJob. We were expected to track time to the 15-minute increment, our managers were notified any week we dipped under 40 hours, our “flex time” policy let you WFH if you put in over 60 hours the previous week (otherwise no WFH ever allowed), we had mandatory work-until-8pm days, we had 12-hour shifts + travel time at least 4 weeks a year…

            Though it was hard to complain, because most other jobs had it worse.

            1. MigraineMonth*

              By jobs, I mean roles at the company. The described role was the one with the best work-life balance with the possible exception of maintenance staff.

        2. Sans Serif*

          That has been my mantra for decades. In one sentence, I appear cooperative and willing to do the work, but I’m also setting boundaries as to how much I can get done in a certain amount of time. If I’ve got three things due in two days, I’ll tell them I can do two of them and maybe get started on the third. And I’m happy to do it in the order they tell me. And of course that can only happen if three more things don’t show up on my desk in the meantime. People accept that, are happy to prioritize, and trust me because they know I’m not going to promise something that isn’t possible.

        3. KP*

          Michelle – I did try that once, and it backfired on me. I was seen as not being able to handle my workload and therefore, not ready for a promotion that I had been working really hard for. I think in normal work places though, it’s great advice

    2. Anon today*

      ” If you say “that’s not my job”, you’re going to get dinged in your review (That one is basically a death sentence for your career)”

      A former manager introduced me to a beautiful phrase that might apply here: “I’d be happy to set up a time to discuss contributing to X project as part of a larger conversation that includes title and compensation.” You’re not saying no, you’re just reminding them that there’s a price tag.

    3. D*

      I’m also in Pharma, and I feel this. When product launches and approvals are happening, there just…are no work boundaries. People will be in the office overnight. They’ll stay until sunrise. It’s not realistic, and it’s not healthy, and yet it keeps happening, because getting product on the market an hour quicker is so important.

      I have made a point to establish firm boundaries outside of those events. If we’re not launching anything, I am not answering phone calls or emails outside of work hours.

      It makes crunch time a bit less painful.

      1. one L lana*

        I’m in a wildly different industry (media) that is very different overall but also has the aspect of “a deadline is a deadline” and circumstances are sometimes just out of our hands. (It’s easy to do only the written job description on a quiet Friday, it’s a lot harder the day that Russia invades Ukraine.)

        I agree that firm boundaries during “normal” times are key — it’s one thing to have to go above and beyond during extraordinary moments of breaking news a few times a year, it’s quite another to constantly take on duties outside your job description as a cost of doing business.

        Paying more than lip service to work-life balance requires higher staffing levels. There is a choice other than asking people to routinely work long hours and sacrifice weekends because of deadlines, and it’s having enough redundancy on the team that someone can come on at 6 am and go home at 4, and someone else can come on at noon and go home at 10. Obviously this requires a LOT of redundancy and isn’t practical in some cases (if one person needs to be the final decider, I don’t know how you staff redundancy for that), but it can make a difference. But it requires a lot more sacrifice from companies than paying lip service to work-life balance.

        1. D*

          Yep. Or specific people have the expertise in the product/area/etc. that simply isn’t easily transferable. I work in a heavily-regulated industry with a million moving parts that needs precision accuracy and compliance. And trying to make sure everyone knows everything is impossible–so we need a wider team available of specific people.

        2. NotRealAnonForThis*

          My job description comes with hard deadlines. Like, to the second, time-stamped in some cases. And sometimes things DO get very crazy with an impending deadline. What I appreciate about my current employer is that my work-life here has limited hard deadlines – not two a week as OldJob had. I have a chance to breathe and live within my boundaries and relax between deadlines. And that matters. Part of why I left OldJob was that there was ZERO balance and they were actually proud of that.

          A little more redundancy would be nice, but they’re actively working on it (this is due to upward growth, not that they’ve lost staff or anything like that).

    4. WellRed*

      I think one can absolutely be a total team player and still not want to go above and beyond all the time. Requiring everyone to do so just screams staffing shortage to me.

      1. justanobody*

        Agreed. I’m very much a team player, taking on new tasks and helping people with their projects, etc. But it’s going to get done during my standard work hours. Excellence is not rewarded $$ at my employer, so I’m happy to give Excellence but just during 9-5.

      2. Nina_Bee*

        I bet companies do this on purpose, knowing full well they should hire more staff but choosing not to because others just take the slack. Seems like that’s changing and I’m here for it.

    5. Mehitabel*

      I guess I just don’t understand how value equates to time in the workplace. The whole “butts in seats”, timeclock-watching thing is just beyond me. The measure I’m interested in is quality. A person can put in the minimum required hours and not volunteer for ‘above-and-beyond’ responsibilities, and still be a good, valued employee because their work is quality work that is completed when it needs to be completed. You can do that and still have boundaries. (And if you can’t then it’s maybe a workload issue and then it’s on the boss to address that.). When I’ve got someone on my staff who does all that and is willing to go above and beyond as well, then I know I’ve got a rare one who is going to be someone I’m going to want to move up in the organization when opportunities arise. But I don’t expect that of everyone.

      But I’ve also had ‘quiet quitting’ employees before who literally refuse to do their work. They consistently miss deadlines and produce shoddy work no matter how light their workload is. Or, they do the barest minimum and their work quality is mediocre-to-somewhat-okay. The former aren’t going to last long; the latter might be able to keep their jobs, but they are disqualifying themselves from any kind of advancement either in role or pay. And that’s fine if that is what they want, but I’ve had more than one ‘borderline’ employee in the past be completely unable to comprehend why they weren’t being promoted into more responsible roles and given significant pay increases, despite the fact that they have feedback and performance reviews that very clearly indicate that they are only barely meeting their job expectations.

    6. Magenta Sky*

      If you’re *expected* to go “above and beyond,” it’s not above and beyond, it’s an incompetently written job description, probably on purpose to underpay you.

    7. Kacihall*

      If you get dinged for ‘only’ meeting expectations, then you by definitions aren’t meeting expectations. Which just means that the expectations are screwed in favor of the employer 100% of the time.

    8. Lenora Rose*

      I do note that several of the people here admitting they stopped doing it all and are doing a “quiet quitting” are people who were explicitly promised a promotion, raise, or other recognition for the work which was then reneged upon — or, per another discussion, people who are actively looking for another job and know they aren’t planning to stay. In short, places where management itself has poisoned the experience.

      I don’t know how to end your work’s toxic culture, but chances are good that if alternate jobs with the same skills are ever available that don’t make the same demands, they will find themselves with people clamouring to come work for them.

      (My job in a Pharmaceuticals plant was far enough removed from the manufacturing and R&D parts of the building that we were never given that sort of pressure, but I didn’t get a strong impression of demanding overtime/extra volunteering from that side either. I could have missed it, though.)

      1. NoLongerFamily*

        I think this is it exactly. I didn’t quit right away, but the start of me turning away from my previous company was when a major project got assigned to the most junior member of my team, who had no prior experience in our field.

      2. Academic Fibro Warrior*

        Lenora Rose, yes, management. I shone and worked so hard to the point of constant exhaustion to overcome the fact that they deliberately hired me on as an 11 month contract employee but didn’t tell me, then when HR made them make it permanent they didn’t adjust my salary. Once salaries were righted the new grandboss promosed me a promotion where I’d be in charge of what I did for all the qualifying students and not just my program. So I worked hard, did way more than my description, and they hired someone else to do it part time and created a bunch of director positions for unneeded positions…and denied me a raise or a promotion. When we needed more staff full time, grandboss asked us to hire some ‘faculty wives’ part time instead.

        So after I literally broke down in tears during a holiday cookout at the thought of going back the next day….to more of the same….I stopped and went back to only doing what I was originally hired to do. By that point I could do a lot of it on autopilot or minimal effort because I knew that job so well and had the relationships I needed to facilitate my responsibilities. It felt like quitting at first but I finally realized they were literally going to reward other people for the work I did. So I made them do it since they got the compensation for it. I took time to recover and then started looking for my next step.

        That program was eventually entirely dissolved and outsourced to a company that was even worse in workload, benefits, and refused to share salary ranges. So they could work us like rented mules. I’m glad I left on my own terms rather than accepting whatever they were willing to give me.

        Six years later I ended up with the right position at the right program to an org that recently assessed alllll their salaries and raised every last person, including the people who clean the dining hall, to market, liveable wages. It’s slowed their hiring a bit, but expectations are very clear, I know what to do to advance and will, and I know I’ll be paid fairly. The job description includes all the stuff would have been above and beyond before as part of the job and paid for it, or as not part of the job. So I’ll work hard because I’m confident I won’t be taken advantage of….and maybe the chronic health conditions I developed from HorridJob can finally clear.

        I’ll never work desperately in hopes I get noticed again. And I plan to teach my students to be strategic and advocate about this so what happened to me does not happen to them. Nobody ever taught me any of that so the only model I had was the benefit the employer for peanuts and poor health.

    9. Curmudgeon in California*

      The best way to handle that is to nope out of there and find a new job. Burnout is not fun, and you are well on your way.

    10. Meh*

      Work in pharma as well! Don’t you just love overworking yourself only to achieve a ‘meets expectations’ at each performance review? Like it’s their expectation for you to exceed expectations…

      Oh, also got to love the ‘patients are waiting’ sentiment that they use to guilt you into working yourself to the bone.

    11. user7942947*

      My job is very similar. You are expected to show plenty of initiative.

      At the same time when you do that’s not rewarded.

      How am I trying to establish boundaries? After several unfulfilled promises of raises and promotions, I came to the conclusion that I simply don’t care anymore. Even when I “excel” the expectations (according to my performanace review), I still get a minimum raise, so why would I stay here? I’m interviewing and in the meantime, yes, I have quietly quit, I’m not doing unpaid overtime or staying for calls out of my work time.

  18. K*

    My teammates and I have finally gotten our company to provide paid maternity/paternity leave. My company was founded and originally staffed by older (near or in retirement) industry veterans, all of whom had their children years before and while they were at other companies. Now that they’re increasingly hiring younger staff or people with young children, we’ve started voicing our need for more family support. Our CEO openly acknowledged that their policy was out of date and reflected staff who were in a different phase in their life. They are now finalizing a paid leave policy for new parents.

    1. Peeklay*

      Can I ask how you did this? I work in consulting and my firm doesn’t have parental leave. They also just hired a bunch of new younger people which tipped the average age down a lot. My plan has just been to quit and find a new job with better benefits when I’m ready to have kids but I would love to be able to make a case for parental leave.

      1. K*

        Good question! In our case, our company started paying some lip service early on in the pandemic about company culture, keeping up our communication/commitment while transitioning remote, yada yada. We called them out on that and basically said if communication matters this much, we should have more bottom-up conversations where we get to tell leaders what’s on our mind/ask questions. This led to a lot of surveys and all-hands meetings where we were able to introduce this and other topics and then continuously batter them until we saw a result.

    2. Midwest is Best*

      I’d highly encourage (if you have the clout/influence to do so) to talk about what, if any, retroactive policy you might enact. My maternity leave was fully unpaid FMLA leave and I didn’t qualify for STD because I wasn’t with the company long enough. The literal day I came back from my leave, my org announced company-wide fully paid parental leave that I would have qualified for, had my kiddos been born on their due date (they were pre-term). I sat at my desk and bawled because there was nothing I could do. If you have any folks who have recently returned from (or maybe even missed out on) parental leave, would your company be willing to apply the policy retroactively for the past 6-12 months? Could go a long way in making those employees who might have missed out feel more included.

      1. Katie*

        I don’t know how far out you are from that moment but my company doubled the amount of maternity leave while ai was out on maternity leave. As I was still on leave they just added to the time. My coworker had just ended hers and she didn’t qualify. A phone call (I am probably simplifying the trouble she went through) got her added.

      2. K*

        We are talking about this and it’s basically our next step. I had championed this cause with a couple other coworkers, all of whom would have enjoyed paid leave fairly recently. We’re putting together an argument to get some sort of reconciliation in place for them.

  19. Blueberries*

    I was in a job that I didn’t hate, but I was underpaid and overworked. On top of it, there was not a ton of flexibility around wfh and it was only getting worse. I work in a field where there is no real business need for me to be in the office (think IT, etc.), so off I went to a new job in the same company that pays me way more than I was making with so much more flexibility. It’s sad when you don’t feel valued until you’re leaving. I’ve heard from my former coworkers and they still haven’t managed to fill my position yet.

  20. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    After the fourth interview and an offer for a job in a church-run organisation with a level of pay that I still dream of, I contacted HR to let them know I would be withdrawing my application due to the following concerns that came up in the interview process:
    1. I was chastised by a man in his 70s who had only ever worked for church organizations for not listing “Christ’s work” at the top of my resume and that I should do so for every secular job application as well to “not be ashamed”
    2. I was informed that my job was conditional not only on my own church attendance but that of my husband and that “friends” would check we were there on Sundays
    3. That my job was conditional on my husband relocating with me “to preserve family unity” despite male employees of the church living in separate cities than their wives and not having this requirement.

    HR apologized profusely and said they would take the feedback into consideration. I’m proud I withdrew but dang, the money would have been wonderful…

    1. Lab Boss*

      I’m so sorry for you that the job fell through, but the idea of a church teaching being that the best way to be an example of the religion is by putting it on your resume is just so absurd it’s kind of funny.

      1. ScruffyInternHerder*

        Can we take this and spin it to “Okay Pharisee…” as a response? Because its definitely…wow.

          1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

            Wow that’s interesting and I would have had no idea! The term Pharisee is so often used in Christian culture (because they were a big part of the Crucifixion) as a singular old sect that (to most people’s knowledge doesn’t exist anymore but apparently it does) I don’t know that it has ever crossed anyone’s mind that it could be derogatory at all. Thanks for the correction. I never knew a Jewish person growing up in the deep south and know we could all use A LOT more education!

            1. Nameless in Customer Service*

              One of the things I learned when I made several Jewish friends and left Christianity (not unrelated events) is that the idea we’re given of the Pharisees from the New Testament is really inaccurate. This isn’t the place to say much more than that, but between jobhunting and being awesome in the face of awfulness in jobhunting (I am so impressed you turned down that ridiculous but wealthy church) I encourage you to do a little research on what Judaism actually was like 2000 Before Present — the results will be illuminating and interesting, or at least that’s how I found them.

              1. My dear Wormwood*

                Even a close reading of the new testament shows there was a wide range of practice in the various sects and assemblies. Gamaliel telling his fellows to pull their heads in springs to mind.

            2. CPegasus*

              To be fair, I was raised Jewish and I also didn’t know this so don’t beat yourself up too much LOL

          2. ScruffyInternHerder*

            Meredith Galman – it is?!? (My jaw on floor apologies for the suggestion, as I was completely unaware!)

          1. SnappinTerrapin*

            That would be closer to the point. Every negative reference to the Pharisees in the New Testament is equally applicable today to people who make a show of their religion, acting “holier than thou,” parsing The Law to justify what they want to do and to condemn others, corrupting their professed faith by pursuing an agenda of political power, and so forth.

            The people who heard Jesus of Nazareth speak would have understood the context. He was describing behavior they observed, just as we observe the same behavior today in others who are corrupted by the same self-righteous attitudes. He never condemned the sect as a whole, and never condemned the core of their theology. To the contrary, He engaged respectfully with them and with their political rivals, the Sadducees, in discussing the sources they all regarded as authoritative and in applying them to specific situations.

            He also borrowed the term “hypocrite” from Hellenic culture to describe the behavior being criticized, because it is an apt description of the pretense to be righteous, or to “play a role” in performative religiosity.

            Honestly, those who engage in performative religiosity turn more people away from faith than any deliberately antireligious person ever could.

            1. just some guy*

              For instance, Matthew 6:1 fits very well here: “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them.”

        1. Observer*

          Depends on the role – the “ministerial exemption” only applies to roles that are directly tied to the work (and no even 100% then.) Like if you are a religious studies teacher or the youth group leader, etc. If you’re IT, for instance, it does not apply.

    2. lilsheba*

      Yeah that is a big fat nope for me. No job is going to force me to attend church or tell me where to live or who to live with or not to live with.

    3. WellRed*

      The money would not have made up for it. The check would probably have been made out to your husband; )

    4. Beth*

      Yikes, you absolutely dodged a bullet there! The horrible sexism and beastliness would have been baked in all the way down.

    5. Ruby*

      Wow, is “Christ’s work” a separate, or do they want your work accomplishments to be actually Christ’s?

      1. bunniferous*

        Yeah, I am a pretty serious Christian and I would find that to be absolutely ridiculous. I mean, to a serious Christian everything we do serves the Lord so putting on an actual resume is at the very best redundant and frankly virtue signaling nonsense in my opinion. Ugh.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        I’m now picturing a resume that claims “led a team of 12 disciples that successfully grew engagement and organization membership by 10,000% despite minimal funding”, “challenged previous paradigm by working on urgent and essential tasks on the Sabbath”, and “overcame challenging Food and Beverage logistics by multiplying loaves and fishes, in addition to turning water into wine”.

        “What was a workplace issue that I could have handled better? I would say my conflict with the fig tree.”

        1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

          I would love it if you wrote TV shows, MigraineMonth, that’s beautiful and made me smile

        2. Madame Arcati*

          Jesus would be ace at competency-based applications.

          “Knowledge sharing and influencing: In my recent position as messiah I had to deliver an important morale-boosting presentation to an audience of thousands without PowerPoint, PA system or even a building. Despite this the content of my seminar (on the relative blessedness of various personality and societal groups including those in dairy product manufacturing) is used as a teaching resource worldwide two thousand years later and is therefore a notable enhancement to the company reputation.

          Proven experience in building successful enterprises: Raised productivity in one family business by 75% by raising the CEO from the dead, which also greatly improved team morale.

          Knowledge of financial legislation: Single-handedly removed unlicensed credit brokers and loan sharks from nearby religious premises improving access for the whole community”

          1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

            I swear this could be a full stand up comedy routine and Christians and non alike would love it! I fully believe Jesus had a sense of humor and this was just brilliant

  21. Justin*

    At my last job, which I just didn’t like, I realized I was being asked to come in twice a week (a frequency which really didn’t bother me), but my boss wasn’t (and, uh, when white bosses command something from Black employees that they don’t do themselves and it’s something not actually necessary….). So I just started going home early. No one noticed!

    Eventually I quit. Now I’m not required to go in at my new job though I actually choose to go in twice a week.

    1. Justin*

      (I also got a job I applied to while sitting right there at my work desk while my boss didn’t come in. I will always be amused by this.)

        1. Justin*

          Truly if she was in the habit of actually doing what she forced the rest of us to do, I wouldn’t have happened upon this job that’s way better than its ad makes it seem.

  22. MPH Researcher*

    I had 4 people on my then 10 person team hand in their resignations in the span of 3 months last year… basically all of them were leaving for jobs that were going to pay them approximately double, and in “normal times” their 1-3 years of industry experience would not have qualified them for those higher level roles. So I think that definitely qualifies as employees taking some power back! My team is basically an entry-level feeder/training ground for the types of higher-level positions these teammates moved on to, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected, but the volume of turnover and scale of the jumps they were making was unprecedented.

    I always like seeing my reports advance and am happy for them, but man that was a rough ~6 months until we got replacements onboarded.

  23. Can't think of a funny name*

    I started interviewing and told my boss that I would need a significant raise to stay…I got the raise and it made the executives realize that they needed to proactively offer raises to other people that they did not want to lose.

  24. Great resignee*

    I spent 5+ years being miserable and overworked in a toxic environment under a bullying, gaslighting micromanager. It turned me into a shell of a person. My workload was completely insane, but nobody would listen. When I tried to stand up for myself and set more-than-reasonable limits on what I could accomplish in a given time frame, they tried to fire me.

    Things got even worse when the pandemic hit. I assumed a ton of extra responsibility and spent then next year and a half working 90+hours a week, only to still be told constantly that I wasn’t doing enough.

    When I asked for a title change and a raise to reflect the new responsibilities I had taken on, my boss spent 9 months lying to me that it was in process (then told me it was done!) only for it to turn out later he had never done a thing and they had no intention of giving me either one.

    No matter how much data I provided about my workload, my output, peer agency staffing, every time I tried to bring up my workload and desperate need for more help to senior leadership they just rolled their eyes, sometimes making exasperated comments about how my work doesn’t seem that hard to them, or they don’t see why it even needs to be done in the first place.

    Well, jokes on them. Last summer I finally got up the courage to walk away. I quit without anything lined up and decided to take a year off to recover. Everything went to hell over there (hey, turns out my work was pretty crucial to the org after all). They hired three people to replace me and combined they weren’t able to do half of what I had been doing. Now they’re trying to hire two MORE positions to cover what I was doing but can’t find anyone to take the job.

    I had a blast on my year off, got recruited to a new organization by a former colleague who recognized the disfunction and jumped ship long before I did, and now have an amazing new job with a great boss and reasonable hours in a supportive, collaborative work environment.

    My old boss is totally miserable and, according to former colleagues, en route to getting fired. He emails me regularly about how much he misses me. I don’t shed a tear.

    1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      Awesome! This market has managed to produce a number of stories like these with happy endings.

    2. Magenta Sky*

      “He emails me regularly about how much he misses me. I don’t shed a tear.”

      “Can you remind me again who you are? I don’t recall the name.”

    3. allathian*

      Hah! Serves them right. I’m only sorry that you put up with it for 5+ years, but living well truly is the best revenge. That said, I would undoubtedly have a nervous breakdown in very short order if I attempted to work 90+ hours a week. That doesn’t leave any time for anything else.

  25. BellyButton*

    I had been working remotely for 5 years and at the company for 7 when my position changed to support the entire region. For some reason, after covid they decided they wanted me back in the office, which was ridiculous. In the over 100 training/webinars I had done in the last 7 months only 10% of the people were located near our headquarters and I would have had to do online trainings anyway for the over 2000 employees I had trained who lived all over the US, Canada, and Central America. It was an all-out fight, but I managed to get severance, last year’s bonus, and the agreement they would not contest EI benefits when I applied.

    Since then, 2 of my former colleagues have also quit because they couldn’t handle the workload after taking 3 months to replace me and replacing me with a very junior experienced person who did not have the skills and knowledge I brought to the table.

  26. Nursebymarriage*

    We have a pretty relaxed dress code to start with, but those folks who were in a department that was required on site while the rest of us were remote during the pandemic decided they could wear shorts whenever they want. They never stopped when the rest of us came back.
    More power to them!

    1. Annie*

      I’ve been working remotely and recently traveled to my office for a quarterly meeting. I noticed that in the time since I moved away, our dress code has moved from “jeans, always” to “whatever you want” and a ton of people are wearing shorts now. We always had a casual dress code but casual had always meant “jeans and a band t-shirt” and now it means “cut-off sweatpants.” It was a beautiful thing to see!

  27. Higher Education Kitten Party*

    I do not have much to back this up in the way of empirical evidence, but I think that part of this shift is because of the cash influx at the beginning of the pandemic. Many people who were always in a state of financial insecurity had a little bit of a cushion and could get all their needs met. They had some time to be home and call therapists and job search and do some reflection.

    Obviously this isn’t what happened to everyone, and there has been catastrophic loss, but also… isn’t it funny what happens when people have their basic needs met?

    1. London Calling*

      Definitely what happened in my case; and it’s immensely liberating to have that solid FU money behind you.

    2. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      Well here in the US childless adults only got like $2000 or so but we did save on commuting so that helped a lot.

    3. Yorick*

      This and the student loan pause. Some people have been able to pay off other debts and build more savings.

    4. Christina*

      Absolutely, and it happened to me. Makes you also wonder what would happen in the world in universal basic income was a thing.

    5. Generic Name*

      Yeah, I’ve been thinking about the effect that the stimulus packages had on workers. I’m seeing so many restaurant job openings in my area, and I can’t help but wonder if when folks were forced to stay home and paid some money that a lot of them took the time to cook at home/learned to cook, or else they move in with relatives, or other ways to live more cheaply and realized that they could reduce their family budget enough so that they “only” needed one job to survive. Just my musings based on absolutely no data. It’s pretty clear that the economic growth of recent decades has been on the backs of workers, and I’m glad it’s changing.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I suspect that many people who were laid off from low-paying and high-stress jobs did what they had to in order to get out of those roles. I don’t think it was necessarily the stimulus money; I think it was the high rates of unemployment in lots of food service/hospitality fields. By the time the jobs came back, many of those workers had gotten other jobs or started retraining.

        1. ScruffyInternHerder*

          My very unscientific, anecdotal take on this based on my friend group – when things shut down, retraining and education classes became more available because of available time/stimulus money. Suddenly, they had the skills and training to do something else. And in at least one particular friend’s case, the next time her restaurant manager told her “don’t like it, get a different job”, she took off her apron and said “yeah, I think I’ll take you up on that”.

          That three manufacturing plants had hiring surges in the area probably explains why there are SO many low-paid service industry jobs available in the area. Why go work at a restaurant or mega-mart for a low-wage with questionable benefits and a schedule that is at the mercy of some random god of luck when you can go work a sane schedule on a shift in a manufacturing plant at a far better wage/with benefits?

          1. MentalEngineer*

            Funny you should say that about factories – where I am, the factories are short because they’re running 6-day weeks with mandatory overtime and no shift differential for less money than you can get in a 5-day week at Target.

    6. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

      So there is some truth to the employer/business-friendly politician’s talking point, then Obviously nobody is living 2+ years off of a couple grand, but it was enough for some worked behind the eight ball to get out in front of it, and take back their right to self-determiniation.

      1. MM*

        At a fine enough margin, a small thing can make a really big difference. There are many people for whom the payments + loan pauses aren’t enough to get out of poverty, but there are also many who aren’t/weren’t too far to one side of the 8-ball or the other. The same way that something seemingly minor can snowball and plunge somebody into a qualitatively different level of poverty (an overdraft fee, for instance, or a car repair), a couple of checks can allow a shift in the other direction.

    7. MM*

      Yes, a friend of mine was able to use that time and money to change careers completely to something that suits him much better. Instead of nonprofit administration, he narrates audiobooks now!

  28. Anon for now*

    I’ve seen an uptick of departures in my workplace as my employer fails to adapt. They’re having a hell of a time recruiting and have even lowered their minimum standards. But the wage is low for the industry and they’re inflexible on geographic independence for a job that can be done remotely (and that most employees are doing remotely and have been for 2.5 years!) over I guess some sense that maybe someday they’ll require people back in the office (????).

    Meanwhile, they seem to have no interest in developing skills of existing staff in the hard-to-recruit areas. I’m planning to leave over the lack of professional growth and development opportunities (among other reasons, but this is one of my main drivers). I’m in late stage interviews with an org that encourages this very thing (and based on discussions I’ve had with peer-level folks who work there, it’s not lip service).

    I definitely have “quietly quit” (I hadn’t heard that term before) and have been coasting. Like I’m not shirking my job, but I feel no desire to go above and beyond in any way. Pretty different from how I felt in the past.

    So not a dramatic story or anything. But I have options I didn’t have before in terms of new opportunities and just frankly not trying as hard where I am now and I will be using that to my advantage.

  29. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

    We were finally able to raise salaries because trying to recruit at $13/hr is impossible (and has been a crap wage for at least 7 years). We are grant funded so this is a way bigger deal and way, way, way harder to do than it sounds. Unlike a for-profit company, any cuts for salaries have to come out of the services we provide the community, so it has been an uphill battle and one that I know has real costs to the public. However, if we don’t have staff, we don’t have any services, so now our lowest hourly rate is $20!

    1. Kez*

      Major props on this – it really is an uphill battle, and an area where nonprofits are often unable to see the long-term impacts that the low wages have on their service as a whole. Cheers to better wages leading to better service being provided by better funded staff!

      1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Now we can actually recruit from the communities we serve!!! I was honestly embarrassed to do it for the lowest paid roles because I know it isn’t a livable wage, so hiring at it would have been exploitation. Now, though, the lowest paid roles are paid decently for the qualifications needed (HS/GED or 2 years experience, certain criminal records OK)

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          This right here was what we were up against. Funders don’t like having to report more spending on personnel

    2. Midwest is Best*

      I work in the non-profit world too, and while it is certainly disappointing to have to do less/provide less services/downsize operations, the alternative is failing out of existence and who is being helped then? Not constituents, not patrons, certainly not employees.

      I am involved with contract negotiations with our two different unions and our CFO really, REALLY doesn’t want big pay increases but like, every other org in our industry treated people better during the pandemic AND is currently paying more, so we either pony up or lose half (or more!) of our staff to other jobs, retirement, etc. with low prospects of quality replacements. I’d rather have a high quality service to provide and do it less than provide a sub-par product, you know?

      1. Observer*

        What is the CFO’s argument? That staff should be “passionate”, their work is just not that valuable, some variation of “that’s just too much” or is it that “our funders set our budget and we don’t have permission to do this” or some variation?

        It doesn’t change the negative effect on hiring, of course. But if it’s the latter, perhaps some solid data on hiring, job retention, and market rates in your area could help the CFO get the needed changes made. Otherwise, you’re fighting a much more problematic battle. Because decision makers who are delusional (which includes the people who think the kinds of things on my first list) are really hard to deal with.

  30. bamcheeks*

    Voted yes to strike action the week before last. Ballots close on Saturday, so now we see!

    In the UK you have to get over 50% of eligible voters returning the ballot, and it has to be posted to their home address and returned by post. So, a high bar. Several unions have smashed it recently — Communication Workers Union posted a turnout of 72.2% and 98.7 % for strike action yesterday.

  31. irianamistifi*

    I’m not a fan of the term “quiet quitting” when employees aren’t even leaving their job, just establishing boundaries. There’s no quitting involved.

    I’ve been gleefully watching the resurgence of Unions and I’m so hopeful about where this is all going. My partner works in pension and benefits planning and has been in the industry for 15 years. His company has not been hiring new associates because who even gets pensions anymore?! The number of people who know how to administer these plans is really dwindling. But I’m hoping as unionization becomes more frequent, that unions start bargaining for pensions again.

    I asked my partner last month if his company had any plans to assist unions in benefits negotiations, since it would help build up their client base to have more pensions to administer. He said he didn’t think so. But if I was a C-level exec at a company like that, I do think it would make sense to start engaging in the cultural zeitgeist of unionization and make it easy for unions and organizers to know what kinds of benefits were once on the table.

    Earning a living wage and having a safety net after giving your best years to a company shouldn’t be a wild supposition. And if companies really do want to encourage employees to stay, benefits should be just that: beneficial, rather than simply punitive.

      1. irianamistifi*

        He does not. The irony is not lost on us. It’s simply not a benefit that’s offered much anymore. He’s been at that same company since he graduated college more than 15 years ago, so certainly it would be nice if the company saw fit to provide some sort of bonus for that retention of knowledge and skill.

        I hope that pensions make a comeback!

    1. Nameless in Customer Service*

      I’m delighted by all the criticism of the terrible label “quiet quitting” in the comments here (I also totally agree with you on unions).

  32. Rey*

    After being passed over for an internal promotion last year (that I had been working towards for 3 years), I started job searching. At the beginning of this year, I got offered a 100% WFH job with flex scheduling and better benefits. Based on the specialized programs that I had been trained to use, the current job market, and their unwillingness to pay more or offer flexibility, I knew that it would be hard for them to hire a replacement. And I was right – my old job is still posted six months on from when I gave notice. Meanwhile, at my new job, my workload is actually manageable for a single person and my work-life balance is night and day difference from before.

  33. Taking my time back!*

    I’ve been at a very large organization for 1 year (financial services). I’m in a specialized senior sole contributor role and I am receiving fabulous reviews. They would like to move me into management (I was in management at previous company) …. I said nah. I am enjoying the 25ish hours I’m working a week from home. I get ALL the chores done while my family is gone during the day PLUS have time for exercise and house remodeling projects. I’m even thinking of starting a side business. The big thing for that changed is not feeling ‘bad’ that I’m not spending 40+ hours a week on the job – I’m meeting/exceeding expectations and being very selective with the work I take on. I cannot discuss this with my boomer dad though —– he views not working 40 hours as stealing and lazy :/

    1. Reluctant Manager*

      Your name gives me an idea for what we should call this instead of “quiet quitting”: reclaiming my time. Bonus for imitating Maxine Waters while you say it

    2. allathian*

      Yay! Congrats, and especially on doing this in the financial sector, notorious for working its employees/interns to death, in some cases literally.

  34. Duckling*

    Not sure if it’s “spectacular,” but when I quit my last job, I wanted to give a long notice period (4 weeks) because my manager was on maternity leave. Well after a few days, my bosses made clear that I would not be paid out my vacation (unfortunately legal in my state), despite having nearly a month built up during Covid. So I told them my last day would have to be that week. My bosses were quick to point out that there were several large events planned during my notice period, and that I wouldn’t be paid if I left early, but I held firm. Afterwards, I let every one of my colleagues know what had happened, and last I heard, everyone who has quit since took a long vacation before giving notice. All that over $3500 of vacation payout. Good riddance.

    1. Seal*

      Something similar happened with one of employees. They gave 4 weeks notice so they could wrap up a few projects and ensure a smooth transition. A week or so into their notice period they let our director know that they would need some time off during their last week, including a few hours on their last day, for some doctors appointments and whatnot. The director threw a fit, so the employee moved up their last day by 2 weeks. Mind you, this was someone who’d worked for our institution for almost a decade, was very good at their job, and trying to do us a favor by wrapping things up, but the director took it as a personal affront that they would dare to quit. Everyone knows what happened and is planning their notice periods accordingly.

    2. Lab Boss*

      It’s so frustrating to see companies digging in over things this petty! There’s so many workplaces with huge systemic problems and of course that drives people out, but it sounds like you were basically on good terms (based on giving extra-long notice when you didn’t strictly have to) and they burned it all down over a relatively trivial amount of money. Good for you for standing by your principles, good for your former coworkers for heeding your advice, and I wonder if the company is still scratching their heads over why everybody is acting like this.

    3. CW*

      Good riddance is right. Not sure what state you are in, but it’s definitely not in the my state. In my state it is illegal.

    4. NotRealAnonForThis*

      Somewhat similarly, when I left OldJob, the VP of my entire department mentioned that I’d be ineligible for one heck of a bonus and asked that I reconsider. It spoke volumes to him that I would not reconsider, and he understood and respected that. (I was NOT willing to stay an extra two months for a low-five-figure bonus check; I was not willing to put a price on my integrity)

      Later heard from coworkers who’d remained that bonuses were pushed off until 8 months AFTER they were originally scheduled (and the originally scheduled timeframe was when they’d been done, since, the 1970s) that year. And the VP who’d suggested I stay the extra two months was absolutely LIVID about the fact that they were that delayed. I wonder who else, and how many others, he’d made the same suggestion to….

  35. Alex*

    I am a former educator and I made the decision to leave teaching altogether at the end of this past school year. I was told “you shouldn’t be here for the money” on top of dealing with really unqualified admin (I was once asked to justify my salary to a vice principal), all amidst the backdrop of the pandemic, of course. The teacher shortage is real, but until the whole system is overturned, it’s not a matter of blaming individual teachers for leaving an untenable situation. I am now in a corporate position with a 60%(!) bump in salary, fully remote option, generous PTO, employee covered health insurance, and a really supportive team and manager. I’m happier and healthier than I’ve been in a long time and excited for my professional future in a way I hadn’t been previously.

    1. Y'all Come Back Now, Ya Hear?*

      Oh, you did what I am dreaming of! I’ve been looking for almost a year and I was a finalist for three positions, but got none of them. I originally didn’t want to break a contract but now I’m just hopeful to land a pivot out of the classroom – preferably at a quarter but I think I’m open to anything as long as I can give at least two weeks notice.

      1. Alex*

        I’m so sorry to hear that something has worked out quite yet. Trust me, I’ve been there: countless networking calls, apps, silence, rejections… It was a long and arduous process but as so many people said to me during my search “It will happen when it happens”. (I know this cliche is probably a small comfort right now). Have you looked into teacher pivoting support communities on IG and LinkedIn? There are lots of leads and networking opportunities in those spaces. Best of luck to you!

    2. Kiki is the Most*

      Me, too! I have taught in America, and have been an international teacher for 12 years. People think I have ‘the life’ living overseas, yet I was still overworked, severely underpaid, and the stress took a serious toll on my health. (Much much better now)
      So I left.
      Right now the side hustle will provide me what I need while I figure out what is next (and religiously read AAM for assistance on this evolution to a new path) but I have granted myself the time to do that.
      Our admin feels the school is too prestigious to have teachers quit, yet they lost so so many teachers this year, with a much larger percentage leaving teaching altogether. You are so right that the system needs to be overhauled, and your story gives me hope.
      Good luck, Alex! So excited for you!

      1. Alex*

        That’s awesome you have the side hustle going for you as you figure out next steps! My school operated under a similar idea that teachers join and then want to stay for life (for the students, the “prestige”, the honor, etc.,) which was somewhat true for several years, but that mentality is definitely changing now and people are leaving left and right. Things definitely need to change all around in education. Thank you so much for your well wishes, and best of luck to you as well!

    3. kiki*

      I’m really happy teachers are finding jobs that appreciate their talent and skillsets. I have a lot of teacher friends and I would blow my mind telling them things that are really normal in a lot of non-teaching jobs, like being able to use the bathroom pretty much whenever, being paid a living wage, not being expected to pay for supplies out of your own pocket, being able to take time away without a huge amount of hassle, etc.

      The mess the education system is in has a ton of factors, but I think one contributor that allowed it to get as bad as it did is that a lot of teachers only really know the teaching system. The majority of teachers I know went to college for teaching, interned in classrooms, then went straight into teaching. If they had any other sort of job, it was in retail or lifeguarding or food service. Because they didn’t have anything to compare it to, they just took on all the bad stuff teaching threw at them and accepted it as normal. I see the same in academia too.

      1. Alex*

        Your comment put into words what I have been feeling and thinking about for the past few months now. Things that are considered so normal and obvious outside of the world of education (going to the bathroom when needed, earning a livable salary, taking a lunch hour) seem mind-blowing for those of us who have been in this system our whole careers. My teacher friends react similarly when I share with them my current benefits and the fact that I truly have work/life balance. Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

    4. OyHiOh*

      One of my colleagues pivoted from teaching and curriculum design to data/analysis. The education world lost a phenomenal person in my colleague, but now they are actually paid decently well for their work, fewer unreasonable demands, and – for their position in the organization – basically no after-hours events ever.

  36. NoLongerFamily*

    I *might* have been a spectacular resignation—my previous workplace’s most senior non-management staff who quit without prior warning. We weren’t allowed to talk about remuneration with colleagues but since I do not work there any more and there are EX-COLLEAGUES I keep in touch with, I was very transparent with them about what I was getting paid, plus how much I was offered at my new place. What they do with that is entirely up to them. :-)

    1. Lab Boss*

      I really do wonder how much more of that is happening, and how common it’s going to stay going forward- I can see it becoming a much more regular thing when people leave.

    2. Observer*

      We weren’t allowed to talk about remuneration with colleagues

      If you are in the US, please also be VERY transparent with your former colleagues that this rule is completely illegal. Also, you should go to the NLRB with this, if you have the bandwidth for it.

  37. Barbie*

    I used to work at a company employed a full-time chef and a part-time assistant to cook breakfast and lunch for employees and clients. The company was an “essential” service and remained open throughout the pandemic. The head chef jumped through a lot of hoops to continue serving food in a covid-safe manner, like having to personally serve every employee in addition to cooking for them when the food was previously served buffet-style. For perspective there were only 45 employees total and probably a maximum of 30 in the office on a “full” day unless we were hosting clients. Anyway, he decided he’d had enough. He got a new job and waited until 4 PM on a Friday to let the boss know he would not be returning on Monday. After he left (to the owner cursing at him), they discovered he hadn’t ordered any food for the next week.

  38. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    I am happy to say that I haven’t needed to take up my power. My boss GETS IT. If someone asks me to go to meetings outside of my regular work hours, he intervenes and asks them to reschedule. He checks in with me to see what’s on my plate and whether I need to have less work (usually I ask for more!). The company sends me to professional conferences and pays for my training/certifications. I feel like I’m able to do good work AND build skills that will make me promotable. So I’m not looking!

    1. Lab Boss*

      I’m in the same fortunate boat as you! My boss (and grandboss) are supportive and flexible. They’re willing to work with me which makes me more willing to be flexible in return when needed. When we did find ourselves at minor odds over a salary negotiation it was all done professionally, we came to an agreement, and nobody acted personally offended that we had to negotiate to get there.

    2. Irish Teacher*

      Our previous principal actively discouraged us from sending, reading or answering e-mails outside of school hours. Now, the English department kinda by common consent ignored this, but usually with a “sorry for e-mailing after hours. It’s fine if people don’t get around to replying until tomorrow.”

      Not quite sure how our new principal feels about this stuff yet, but the norm that people aren’t expected to reply outside school hours is established, so…I doubt he’d succeed in changing it even if he wanted to,

    3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      That’s my boss! She’s super focused on making sure that we have good work life balance. I am salaried, but if I work more than 40 hrs in a week she insists I take the time off AND takes stuff off my plate if needed so I can unplug for real. This is my dream job mostly because she is a dream boss

    4. Rob*

      I have the same kind of boss. He is an amazing advocate for everyone he manages. Unfortunately the owner of the company is of the mind that we should all just be grateful to work here.

    5. Quinalla*

      I too have been lucky that our company top leadership gets it, but I will say I have definitely raised my voice to push for everyone to be able to WFH as much as they wanted to. Our org is pretty flat, but I am a leader/have influence and while I knew my job was going to be fully-WFH going forward as I’m in a regional office that we ended up getting rid of the office space as it made no sense anymore, we didn’t know that it would be for everyone. So I made sure to speak up and encourage others to speak up for what they really wanted – not to say what they thought their bosses wanted to hear. As such, we have a whatever gets the job done policy right now where some come in the office every day, some are hybrid, some are full WFH and it works. We have some hybrid events, some in person events and some fully remote events and very few mandatory in-person events (like 1-2 a year), but even those it is understood you can miss if you have a reason. They try to make things so folks WANT to come, that the in person are in person for good reason, and the optional events are truly optional. No one cares if you are there or not for optional stuff.

      Our leadership made the call as our jobs can truly be done fully WFH with some folks having to go to construction sites occasionally that they would allow people to WFH. They made the choice to expand our search for new hires to anywhere in the country to expand our talent pool. A handful of employees have asked to move full time not near the main office or any regional office and it has been allowed. It’s a recruitment tool for us.

      And not everyone is going to like a workplace like this, I honestly get that, but most of us love it or have found ways to adjust to make it workable. I have worked from home in the past way prior to COVID so I knew I would like it, but I get that WFH isn’t for everyone and neither is working for a company where a lot of people are hybrid or full-time WFH.

      The other thing I’ve done is push HARD on diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging efforts. It feels safer to do so because employees have more power AND a lot of companies are wanting to improve here. So that’s been really great too.

  39. Prospect Gone Bad*

    I hate the concept of “quiet quit.” I feel like it was invented by pundits who don’t work in the jobs they’re opining on. I think the big difference is if you have a job or a career. If you have a job, fine, don’t go way above and beyond. But if you have or want a career, the idea is toxic. I feel like it ignores the upside of going above and beyond – life experience, meeting people and networking and building friendships, making money and more money and perhaps retiring early or buying a home.

    My biggest fear with the concept is that the people who need to hear it the least will be the ones who do it. The Type A folk are not going to slow down.

    1. Justin*

      It’s a bad term (though I think that’s why Alison put it in quotes) but to be clear, I am very very type A, but I don’t allow myself to burn out, I just use my extra energy on personal projects and writing. So, I wouldn’t say us Type A folks will never stop, but rather some of us may redirect extra energy.

    2. chc34*

      Nah. I went above and beyond for years and it didn’t get me any more money. I get my life experience and my friendships just fine outside of work.

      1. InsufficientlySubordinate*

        Agree. Used to do that, and never got me anything, so why should I bother? I do what I’m asked to do, if I mess something up I stay however long to fix it, but it’s not on me to make up for management’s inability to hire or say No to other department asks.

    3. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      Just depends on the person. Like maybe they focus on what’s likely to happen * exhaustion, increase in sick days, loss of relationship with children, no raise than stuff that is very unlikely to happen ( to them anyway)

    4. kiki*

      I think for a lot of people, they’ve come to this mentality because went above and beyond for years but realized what they gained didn’t outweigh what they sacrificed. A lot of companies and organizations have been banking on their employees going above and beyond with no incentives. Teachers go above and beyond and pay for supplies out of pocket. An executive assistant goes above and beyond for their boss and is rewarded with 2% raises, “prestige,” and calls on vacation. A sales person went above and beyond and spent late hours convincing clients, but missed the formative years of his children’s lives. And companies benefitted from their employees desire to go out of their way to do good work. But they didn’t reward those employees in any real, worthwhile way.

      I agree with you, Prospect Gone Bad, to an extent that having this sentiment be so pervasive is a bad thing. Going out of your way to do something well feels good. Doing well and working to get better can be so deeply satisfying. But right now, so many companies and organizations are betting on the good will of their employees and offering nothing in return. Teachers who go above and beyond for their students are still underpaid. The animator who worked late nights to finish a project on time is cut when the bigwigs at a streaming service decide to pivot to something else.

    5. Ellis Bell*

      I think going above and beyond *for yourself* and transferable things like resume worthy skills and networking is perfectly healthy. Going above and beyond *for your job* and only for the benefit of the job, is and has always been a scam. You’re not “quitting” anything but paranoia if you deliver on your job without giving out endless freebies.

      1. The Real Fran Fine*

        All of this. People need to be strategic when it comes to how they spend their time at work.

    6. Emotional support capybara*

      Hoo boy. Honestly, if I went in for an interview and heard a prospective boss refer to setting and enforcing good boundaries and cultivating a healthy work/life balance as “toxic” I would run as fast and far away as my dachshund-like legs could carry me.

      This may come as a shock to you but not everyone’s life revolves around career advancement or “making money and more money”. You can gain life experience and make friends outside of your workplace.

      It doesn’t matter whether it’s a job or a career, you owe it exactly as much as you’re paid to owe it and not one thing more.

      1. Scarlet2*

        +1000
        Not to mention that for a lot of folks, “going above and beyond” is mostly rewarded by… more work with no extra compensation.

    7. Lenora Rose*

      The upside only works if you have an actual distinctive career path AND support from your workplace and management . Did you notice how many people in these comments alone have talked about ceasing to go above and beyond because it *wasn’t* rewarded?

      And no job should ask people to go above and beyond to the point of working 80 hours, needing to be replaced by 2-3 people, or burnout, which many supposed careers have demanded in the past as the price of any admission at all, and dismissed the people who simply cannot sustain that as inadequate.

      That *doesn’t* add to the upsides of networking or life experience. Unless you count crying and staring at the wall and panic attacks at the thought of going to work as upsides.

  40. learnedthehardway*

    While I’ve been self-employed for many years, even I am finding myself taking back some control. I firmly shut down a client the other day who was being very insensitive to the fact that I’m dealing with a death in the family that happened during my vacation. Instead of putting in the (usual) extra effort and long nights in response to demands for more progress, I told them that their demands were unreasonable, both because they KNEW I had been on vacation, and because they were ignoring the personal circumstances I was dealing with (which I had informed them about).

    I will reevaluate how much business I do with them after this project. The rest of my clients have been very understanding, even the one I thought was super difficult to deal with.

    1. allathian*

      Good for you! At least as a self-employed person, you’re completely free to yeet that insensitive client to the sun if you want.

      I’m sorry for your loss.

  41. Jack Straw from Wichita*

    My version of quiet quitting is staying my my own lane. I’m not flaking out, but I’m also not taking anything new on voluntarily, and I’m definitely not offering to go above and beyond for my boss (although I 100% will for my coworkers).

    Example: Boss recently sent an email to a group of people asking us to close out several meetings/projects we each had that were still open. I motived that Zeta had several meetings listed but wasn’t included on the email. I didn’t alert Boss to this or offer to close Zeta’s meetings on their behalf. Cut to a few weeks later, when Boss gets upset with Zeta for not following instructions only to realize Boss didn’t include Zeta on the email. 12 months ago, I 100% would have alerted Boss to their omission, making sure they had sent the same info on to Zeta so our work would be complete. I’ve been slighted (professionally and personally) so many times over the past year, and seen Boss’s poor leadership and organizational skills far too many times in the past year to go out of my way to help them.

    I do my job and I do it well, but that’s all I do.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      Years ago, I had a co-worker tell me, “They pay me just enough that I don’t quit. I work just enough that they don’t fire me.”

    2. Minerva*

      And this is why “quiet quitting” is such a nonsense term. You do your job, you do it well. That is called doing your job.

      If they want you to do more than your job they need to give you incentives to do so.

  42. Minerva*

    My husband works in high er end they just had to raise salaries across the board because they were losing quality employees to the private sector. Not even their very generous vacation/sick policies were able to keep people anymore.

    My for the first time in years when a team member left for a better internal opportunity instead of being expected to absorb the work, a co-worker and I got legitimate promotions and significant raises to split the job to incorporate it with out higher level functions while an entry level person was brought in to take in our low level work that we had been looking to get rid of for years and was totally suited for 1 new hire. Work life balance has been excellent.

  43. NotHappening*

    Mostly just sitting here watching people leave because you can’t give 2% raises when the cost of living has gone up 10% and expect people to stick around. I guess I have quietly quit, but it’s more like due to poor management I don’t have a lot to work on and I’m not volunteering to do things that are “above and beyond” anymore. Instead I’m going “huh, wonder who will do that” and it turns out the answer is no one.

    1. NoLongerFamily*

      After I resigned boss called an all-hands meeting (I was the third quitter in two? months) and intimated 10% raises were on the way as they were expanding. Which, bully for you, except

      1) A 10% raise would still leave me underpaid
      2) I talked to a junior at the end of my (generous) notice period and she hadn’t received any pay bumps at all

  44. CW*

    Twice this year I left a job without notice. Both jobs lasted less than two months. I will admit that I took the cowardly and easy way out by sending an email and not going face-to-face, but I really did not want to deal with the confrontations that would have came with it.

    The first job I started in December, but a week later I started experiencing panic attacks. The company was so disorganized and the turnover rate was extremely high. Plus, the work-life balance was not great. There were multiple employees working 12+ hour days, coming in every weekend for the past couple years, and profits were hurting because of the turnover. My last week there, the first week of January, my panic attacks got worse. On that Friday, my last day, I experienced my worst panic attack ever. I nearly collapsed and burst into tears. I knew then and there I had to leave, and I could not force myself to stay any longer. Any longer, and I would have had a severe mental breakdown. I emailed my resignation, and was professionally honest about how I was not comfortable at that job, and left the office.

    The second job? It only lasted 3 days. I was not given proper training and my boss was very stereotypical, thinking because I am a first generation Asian American I was supposed to “get it”. The third and final day was a nail in the coffin when I heard the CEO and my boss get into a shouting match, and my boss took her displaced aggression on me. No way was I going to stay there, so I emailed my resignation, darted out the door, and drove off.

    In case you are wondering, I am now employed at a wonderful company that values its employees, encourages work-life balance, on a hybrid schedule (1-2 days a week in the office) and am making a higher salary than what I would have been making at both those jobs. I just passed 6 months and have no intention of leaving.

    1. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

      So glad you’re in a better place than either of those two nightmare factories!

  45. SparklePlenty*

    I work in a nursing home. I cannot emphasize enough how absolutely refreshing it is to call the transport company, the lab, or whoever and hear kids/babies chatting in the background. We generally get our business done and I give big compliments to the parent or grandparent for giving me a breath of fresh air. Kudos to anybody who can WFH under those circumstances

  46. AGD*

    Me and another couple coworkers quit after dealing with years of harassment from our manager. He would send me emails talking about how my tone in meetings left him feeling “unsafe” (HE WAS MY MANAGER!), threw a tantrum when I declined to sit down to talk about our feelings for one another, left me notes on my desk asking to talk about our relationship (we are in the mental health field, but this is still wildly inappropriate even for us, especially given the power imbalance), etc. I and several others who had similar conflicts with him brought this to the attention to the owner of the company, whose only interest in addressing it was finding a peaceful resolution, not one that actually fixed the issue.
    Anyway, after thinking for so long that I was tethered to this organization, I and a few others quit and formed our own company where we do the same work we did but for ourselves, not for them. The money is absolutely better, but more importantly, the only jerks we have to answer to are ourselves and we love the emotional freedom. Since we left, a few additional folks have followed in our footsteps to start their own companies, and we all informally band together to help each other out. I guess we’re technically each other’s competition, but there’s enough business to go around that we get to root for each other’s success.

    1. Danish*

      I love “the only jerks we have to answer to are ourselves” haha. Keeps your role as new owner(s) in perspective right? ;)

    2. Zweisatz*

      What a satisfying resolution! Though I’m sorry that you had to deal with this highly inappropriate harassment.

  47. Arya*

    I was working in public service for a very large organization in a wealthy county (one of the top 10 in the country). I was not making enough money to rent even a studio apartment anywhere within the county, so for about a year I was picking up extra shifts, working 6-7 days per week, freelancing in a different industry, as well as living partially off savings. I worked extremely hard to move up within the organization, and was successful in getting an internal promotion, with significantly increased responsibilities and managing others, only to find out that my salary would increase just 10%. I was told the position had been placed at a level of a corresponding role in different departments which managed 1.5 FTE employees, while I was managing 6+ FTE. There would be no moves to correct this, and I would just have to deal with the terribly low raise since it was being based on the already terribly low salary I was making prior to earning the promotion.

    I didn’t have any other viable options at the time, so I took the role and was resigned to being overworked and underpaid yet again. Until, suddenly, I did have another viable option, when I was recruited for a full-time position within the industry I did freelance work in. I gave notice after just six months in the promotional role with my former org, and now am happily making a 160% raise from that job in a new position that works remotely, with zero supervisory duties. So I guess the way I took back power was by walking away. Leaving for a different environment that actually pays a living wage is the best feeling, and I don’t regret it one bit.

  48. Squash Blossom*

    I really hate the term “quiet quitting.” Seems like it was made up by some executives or managers. It’s just setting healthy boundaries to prevent burn out – i.e. I’m not going to take on extra projects if I’m not being compensated accordingly, I’m not going to work insane hours to do tasks outside of my job description, and I’m going to set strict limits between my work life and home life. That’s not quitting, it’s just making your life and identity less about working.

    On a positive side, the company I work for had a LOT of people quit due to long hours and lack of work/life balance in 2020, and they really changed things up last year to prevent turnover. We now have PTO in the form of mental health days, which are separate from vacation and sick leave, the official schedule was reduced to 36 hours (8 hour days M-Th, 4 hour days on Fridays), increased employee pay across the board to keep up with inflation, and permanently let everyone work from home if they wanted to.

    1. Minerva*

      +1 to hating “quiet quitting” What about “quiet firing” when you let someone bust their ass for years and never show the tiniest bit of appreciation.

  49. Jack Straw from Wichita*

    I have been standing up for myself with my bulldozer of a boss far more often in the past few months than I ever did in the year+ before. When she says callous things (which happens often–she prides herself on her lack of empathy, “cold” strengths, and “telling it like it is”) that I find offensive, I tell her and tell her directly: “XYZ that you said or did is offensive and here is why…” The first few times it happened, Boss was shocked but I felt amazing.

    I am a fairly assertive person in my personal life but not typically at work where I’m worried about losing money, my job, etc. I find that I’m more willing to speak up so that I can be happy/contented at work vs. sitting on things and stewing or allowing poor treatment that makes me feel like crap. I’m no longer thinking I just have to accept that treatment because that person is senior to me in the org chart.

  50. CanadianAdmin*

    I work for a government that employs staff under a few different unions. After many months of “negotiations”, with our employer not really wanting to come to the table, the largest union is now on rotating strike action. And a second union has just given their 72 hour strike notice. We’re asking for cost of living protection, and we’re pretty insistent.

    1. The Second Union*

      If only they could also sort out a little bit of reasonability to the telework situation. The new telework contract involves home inspections by supervisors (language is “may” but my supervisor’s trying to inspect all of us).

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        Oh, hell no! I would not want my manager(s) “inspecting” my home. That would have me circulating my resume the moment it was suggested.

      2. CW*

        “May” inspect your home? If they are physically going to your house to check on you, then it is stalking. I can’t even.

  51. Chachkis Galore*

    I was job searching about a year ago when the market was extremely hot for people in my field/level of experience. Interviewed for a role that I was a perfect fit for – I had every single requirement (including every single “preferred” item as well). I had the very top end in terms of years of experience. I had experience doing literally every item on the job description bullet points. I felt like I really aced the interview process and connected with those I’d be working with and reporting to.

    Then they made me an offer for the very bottom of the range. I could have responded with a counter. It would have been such an easy to articulate negotiation, and I’m not saying that I expected the top end of the range, but the fact that they simply low balled me as a matter of course was offensive. It was clear that this wasn’t a matter of us disagreeing where within the range I should potentially fall – to me it was clear that they offered the lowest possible number with no objective reason or thought given to where within the range my experience level or anticipated abilities fell.

    So I turned them down, firmly. I could tell the recruiter was shocked and that they were anticipating a counter. They followed up several times. They never made a formal offer with more money, but they flat out said (this was an external recruiter) “if it’s money, just let me know how much you want, they’re VERY willing to negotiate”, but I refused to engage. I felt like they weren’t operating in good faith. They hadn’t started out the negotiations by making a “fair” offer and that’s not the type of company I wanted to work for and given the market I had plenty of other options.

    Had another offer for 40% more than what they offered within a week or so.

  52. Ditto*

    After many years of upper management stiff arming a promised (well deserved and earned) promotion and raise for work I was already doing, my much loved manager quit. That was my last straw. 25%+ of our department had left over the prior six months due to laughable wages. Additionally, they forced everyone back in the office for no reason. Productivity was up with WFH and all meetings were required to still be remote. I was literally trading one desk for another.

    I received another job offer with a very significant raise and a contractual guarantee of WFH. They tried to keep me, but didn’t even match the salary of the new position. I put in my two weeks and am now at a much less stressful, higher paying work place. From time to time I feel bad because I know more left after me and they haven’t gotten any applicants to replace me. I don’t regret advocating for myself though and likley wouldn’t have made the same move pre-COVID.

  53. Resigned Spectacularly*

    This is from 2018, so it pre-dates the current environment, but I found myself in a toxic workplace situation when I got a new grandboss in 2017. My long-time boss (who I trusted) resigned because of grandboss’ toxicity, but had been trying to secure a promotion for me before she left. She blind-copied me on her emails to grandboss so that I would have a written record of their agreement to promote me. Promotion season at the end of the year came and went, and there was nothing for me. After the holidays, I asked for a meeting with grandboss and their boss to find out why. At that meeting, both grandboss and great-grandboss looked me in the eye and told that my boss had lied to me about the promotion, despite the emails that I was holding as evidence. I knew they were lying. After that meeting, I started asking around about grandboss. I found multiple instances of grandboss lying about coworkers’ work and subjecting direct reports to angry, violent outbursts. I found old coworkers through social media and asked if they’d be willing to go on the record about what they’d experienced, and I filed a complaint with HR with 9 separate, documented instances of grandboss (who was director-level) being a terrible bully. HR did nothing, as far as I could tell, for several months. In the meantime, I lived in fear of grandboss finding out about my report and coming after me. With their history of violence, it was a distinct possibility. It affected my health, and my spouse suggested that I just quit. So I made a plan to leave, even though I didn’t have another job lined up. Before I left, I went to our CEO with evidence of my complaint, HR’s inaction, and the high turnover in our department since grandboss had been put in charge. I also gave a scathing exit interview to great-grandboss where I was completely honest about the toxic environment and why I was leaving without lining up another job (very unusual in our department). My last couple of days, I was out of f&$ks to give, so I started telling all my coworkers too. About a month later, as I was on vacation in another country, I got a call saying that grandboss had been relieved of all management duty now and forever. They remain at a director-level position and salary to this day, but are not allowed to manage anyone in our org, ever again.

    1. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

      I was holding my breath the whole time reading this, no lie. What an excellent story– good on you for making a stand!

  54. nomorelaptop*

    I didn’t rage quit, but after a decade of working in finance, I was so exhausted from burn out, climbing the corporate ladder, and making what seemed like a lot of money to barely make ends meet in a very high cost of living area. I quit my career, moved to a very rural area 8 hours away, and started working as an outdoor winter hiking trail manager December-April, a white water rafting guide from April-October, and taking a month off in November to travel, read, generally relax. My income was cut to 1/3 of what it was, but I still have more disposable income than before. I’m much happier now.

    1. sorryIdon'thaveagoodname*

      Got any tips for how to get into that? I’ve been considering changing careers to do something more outdoorsy, but I’m hesitant to make the jump because “passion industries” are notorious for taking advantage of people.

      1. nomorelaptop*

        Honestly, I was an avid white water rafter before the career switch, so I just asked the guide about how she got into it last summer. The company I work for is a full “outdoor adventure” place, so they let me work seasonally on different activities as I like. I was also very clear with them that I have 10 years of work history in a high paying field and a masters degree, so I think they got the subtext that I could leave at any time if I wanted to. But honestly it’s been fabulous – the company owner is great, I love my coworkers, they actually pay more than enough to be comfortable in a place this inexpensive, and I only work part time. It helps that my husband took the jump with me and left his career to work at this place too. I know passion industries can be super exploitative, and maybe I just got lucky, but it’s genuinely been fine.

  55. HR TwinCities*

    Our boss never let us work from home even part time. Then the pandemic hit and we were considered essential as most employees are production but there is two of us in the front office both women who have school age and young children. About 60% of our tasks can be done remotely so our old school boss had no choice but to allow us to work hybrid every other day to accommodate daycare and virtual learning. We were thrilled and loved it and it forced us to come into the 21sr century with improving our HRIS system, getting VOIP system and improving our ERP to be more efficient. Several comments were made about how when things do go back to normal you will have to come back in but it came as time went on her and I were successful and even more productive and just happier less frazzled humans with this arrangement. We even got a lot of support from the all male management team because we were always available during business hours even from home and they knew we were so happy. We kept bracing for when our boss was going to say come back especially after the vaccines became available but he admitted a bit begrudgingly that his attitude has changed and can’t really give a good reason to change things after 2 years of success and clearly we were happier employees. Then labor market really changed and if there is one thing my boss hates it’s hiring office and managers so he knew we could easily find other jobs probably fully remote if we really wanted to leave. But honestly I like hybrid and still seeing coworkers and getting out of the house and we got rid of mandatory OT on Fridays at the start of the pandemic and are now closed on Fridays so I work even less but get paid the same since it was part of the office work schedule. Definitely a win for me and my coworker and honestly I have gotten lots of inquires for jobs where the money and responsibilities would be more but my work/life balance has never been better and my mental health has improved significantly making me a better mother/wife/daughter/friend that at this point the current schedule and work load makes me stay.

  56. Anon out of paranoia :-)*

    Quiet quitting feels like the wrong name, as so many of you have noted, but it is what I started doing for my university lecturer job last year, and will continue doing it for the future.

    I’ve got everything organized in advance for my classes. I show up and teach. I do my office hours virtually. That’s it. I got asked to be a part of a project where it would be a bunch of work, for no extra pay or anything, and said no (something that I suspect I would have said yes to a few years ago). I’m already a senior lecturer (so i can’t advance further), I get good student evals, and this extra project doesn’t pay? Nope. Same thing when I’m asked to be on committees. Lecturers aren’t required to be on committees, so I’m not going to.

    I’ve taught these classes enough times now that it takes very little brainpower to do prep for them, and I have a good sense of what I want to ask on assignments.

    If you measured the hours I actually spend doing work for this job, it would be low. But the pay is terrible, and I can’t advance, so, well, I will continue to be adequate and spend my free time enjoyably.

  57. Br16*

    I think quiet quitting may be getting conflated with setting boundaries. To me, they are two different things. “Quiet quitting” is doing the absolute bare minimum to stay employed in your job. Setting boundaries is more along the lines of refusing to do calls or monitor emails while on vacation, or refusing to work late hours. However you can do these things while still being engaged during the hours you are working. I think with quiet quitting not only have you set boundaries on your time, but you have basically checked out of the job completely. I think many articles on this phenomenon conflate these two trends, and it muddies the waters and makes it seem like everyone who has set limits on their time outside of work hours has “quiet quit.”

    1. allathian*

      That’s a fair point. To be fair, I don’t need to set hard boundaries, because my employer’s culture is such that employees aren’t expected, even implicitly, to be available when we aren’t actually working.

      I’ve quiet quit in the sense that I don’t volunteer for any extra projects unless they’re something I’m really interested in. I’m engaged and available to our internal clients in a timely manner, and I do my job to the best of my ability, but I’m also vocal about putting my foot down when some clients in our organization have unrealistic expectations on deadlines. Luckily my current manager’s always had my back on those. In some cases, when the unrealistic deadline just has to be met, I’ve had support from my manager to renegotiate some other deadlines that aren’t quite so essential. I also do try to work in some flexibility in our deadlines, because I’d far rather return something a bit early than lose the margin for urgent requests at short notice.

      I’ve also noped out of all voluntary networking/party events organized by my employer, starting about 5 years ago. Until then, I was very keen to attend every Christmas party (yes, they’re called that) and late spring event just to meet coworkers from other departments or offices that I didn’t work with very often. Now I’m happy to join my coworkers for lunch when I’m at the office, and when we have our biannual team development days, I’ll attend the dinner if there is one, but that’s it. Fortunately our internal networking events/parties are truly voluntary, and managers are specifically banned from penalizing anyone on their performance evaluations for not attending those events.

      So far, I’ve scored pretty high on the engagement part of our evaluation, so I must be doing something right…

  58. Eat My Squirrel*

    At the beginning of COVID, when the entire company was still WFH if possible, boss told the group they had to come in to the office every day because they needed to be there to support the production line. While it was true we supported production, 99% of our job could be done from home, and the part that couldn’t was never so urgent that someone couldn’t have driven in for the 10 minutes it would take to handle it, then go back home.
    Coworker said he was not comfortable coming in because he is high risk. (Note we had not even had vaccines yet.) Boss said you have to come in anyway. Coworker said ok, I’m retiring effective today. And we never heard from him again.

    1. Curmudgeon in California*

      Good for him!

      Seriously, how DARE some companies essentially say that you must risk your very life for the sole purpose of showing up to please someone’s ego! Because that’s literally what they were doing: Blowing off the risk to his life from Covid just so they could see his butt in a seat.

      I realized a long time ago that my health took precedence over work. I’ve backslid a couple times, and always regretted it because it didn’t get me more money or promotions. Now with Covid literally being a threat to the lives of a couple of my housemates I’m much firmer on my boundaries.

  59. MBAir*

    You know, I’m not really seeing this huge “the EMPLOYEES have all the control now! mahwhaha” that everyone else here is apparently seeing outside of like, retail and fast food still being desperate to hire people (but then complaining that every candidate supposedly wants the moon plus free healthcare so then they reject the candidate and then they whine that no one wants to work).

    IDK, I just wonder what I am doing wrong that the AAM peanut gallery is apparently doing right :-/

    1. Hlao-roo*

      I imagine a lot has to do with industry, geography, and personal financial circumstances. Someone who works in IT and has savings has much more power to refuse the company “return to the office” directive. An aspiring actor in LA who has a few parts in commercials doesn’t have the clout to refuse shootings that take place after 6pm.

      FWIW, I don’t think I have any more or less power in my job than I did pre-pandemic. Doesn’t bother me at all because my working conditions were good before the pandemic and have generally remained good since.

    2. MediumEd*

      Agreed, I work in higher ed/academia. It is a dying industry run by academics who think they “know better”, I think that is why we don’t have any power here.

    3. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

      Yeah, same. I’ve been working for decades but don’t have any specialized skills beyond the ability to write/edit/proofread very well (skills I usually toss to the side at AAM because I don’t come here to work ;). When you don’t have a highly desirable skillset in a highly desirable field, job opportunities–outside of entry level stuff no one really wants to do–look a whole lot like they did pre-pandemic days….

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Yeah, I am completely worthless and unwanted and writing/editing are considered worthless skills. I wish I was smart enough to become a programmer and be worthy, but I’m….not.

        I looked at Indeed.com today and all I saw were call center , $15/hour jobs and barista/”team member”/fast food jobs.

      2. Night Vale Seems Good By Comparison*

        Late to this thread, but grammar/writing/editing skills are highly desired in the right fields! Source: technical writer who is full time remote & makes 6 figures (very HCOL area, but still).
        If you are detail oriented and can focus on “boring” documents: policy documents, manuals, research papers, etc. you can make a good career from that. And there are specialties within the field, such as medical writing, software, etc depending on your interests and skills.
        I got into this field by reading job ads for tech writers and seeing what software and skills were most frequently asked for, and then taking classes in those areas. The main program I currently use is Word. Everyone knows how to use that, right? Except I have advanced knowledge and can do troubleshooting of this finicky program, which makes me even more valuable. If you can help others solve a frustrating problem (hint: you can often just Google it!), you will be a popular person for that skill alone. You might pick a more specialized program (such as for creating online help for software programs); read some ads and see what people are looking for.
        I frequently am contacted by recruiters looking for tech writers for short-term contracts (3 to 6 months), which can be a good way to gain experience, as are temp agencies. As always, finding jobs with no explicit background takes a bit longer, but it can absolutely be done. True story: last time we were hiring, we didn’t receive a SINGLE resume that didn’t have a few typos and errors. For a tech writer position. If you you can put together a clean, error free resume, I guarantee that will get attention from employers and recruiters!

    4. Mid*

      This isn’t meant in a snarky way, so please don’t take it that way.

      If you want to know what you’re doing wrong/what other people are doing right, read this thread. It’s pretty clear, and it’s not even close to being retail and food service exclusive. People are refusing to go back to the old SOPs, are requiring wages that are reasonable, and are willing to walk away from positions that aren’t keeping up with the times.

      1. something about sharks*

        I’m not the OP for this thread, but I do want to gently push back on this – a lot of the successes people are citing here are somewhat industry- and position-dependent. If you have a desirable skillset in a desirable field right now, yeah, you’ve got a decent amount of power, but if that’s not the case, your options are a little more limited. Entry-level administrative/customer service/reception positions are still pretty vulnerable if you don’t have a specialization that’s in demand. I’m lucky enough to have an employer who’s begun putting effort into employee retention via raising wages, solid benefits, etc., and they pay better than pretty much every other version of this role in town…but if my job suddenly became horrible, I don’t have any more options than I did pre-pandemic. That’s just the way my field works in this particular area.

        (FWIW, the person I replaced was someone who did the “I’m just going to refuse to go back to the office” thing. She wasn’t fired, but she did end up back in the office until she left. There is power in being able to say “if you won’t give me this, I’ll leave”, but the version of this scenario where management shrugs and lets the employee stay remote that I’m seeing some other commenters describe is not and was never an option here.)

        1. Mid*

          And I wasn’t saying that anyone in any industry could do this, just that there are some common threads in how people are pushing back, and it’s not for retail or food service (in fact, I see pretty much none of that in retail and food service, other than people are leaving the industry to be literally anything else.) And I’m very aware that a lot of people can’t afford to walk away with nothing lined up, because I certainly can’t. I don’t even have any particularly special skills, my job is just too leanly staffed that I can make (reasonable) demands because they can’t risk losing me without someone ready and trained to replace me (and that’s a whole different issue.)

          People are regaining their power because they’re willing to pushback on things, but I don’t think anyone believes that you there is no risk in that. They have power because most employers in most industries are having trouble hiring, but that’s not saying everyone everywhere has that kind of supply and demand issue.

          1. Books and Cooks*

            MBAir was not saying, “Retail and food services are the only industries where employees have any power right now,” s/he was saying that outside of hearing repeatedly that retail and food service are desperate to hire these days, s/he is not personally seeing or experiencing other industries being so needy and willing to do anything to get workers.

            It’s basically the same point you made in your final paragraph: not everyone everywhere has the same supply-and-demand issues.

      2. Books and Cooks*

        Yes, but the point is that the people posting their stories had or have power already–that’s why it’s working for them. They might be finally standing up for themselves (alone or collectively), but the reason it’s working is because they already have specialized skillets and/or decades of experience and/or are in an industry where there is always another employer eager to snatch them up. It’s not that the people in this particular thread just don’t have the guts or aren’t recognizing their value, and that’s what they’re “doing wrong.” It’s that they literally don’t have the ability to do things “right,” because they simply do not have the leverage.

        A Senior Engineering Analyst can walk out the door and find another job before they even get home; so can a Marketing Director with a degree and a big industry reputation that precedes them, or an IT Coordinator who builds entire systems for major corporations from scratch. A Client Service Rep or entry-level Bookkeeper could be just as smart, just as capable, and just as brave, but it could still take them months to find a job with better pay, hours, and benefits simply because they don’t have the experience and specialized skills the first two have, and the experience and skills they do have are just not at the same level of demand. So all of this “employees taking power back for themselves! Workers of the world, unite! We’re finally in charge!” stuff is actually, “Having reached a point in my career that I finally have some power, I’m choosing to exercise it.”

        1. Specialized Skillets*

          1) completely agree that this has a lot to do with career seniority; 2) “specialized skillets” is probably my favorite autocorrect ever, especially with your username.

          In fact… it’s now my username!

  60. irene adler*

    A recruiter hit me up two days ago.

    They were quick to indicate that they’d placed over a dozen people at their client company. AND, the salary for this particular position was 6 figures (easily double my current salary). “We’ll support you during the entire hiring process,” he wrote.

    I get the job description. It includes:
    Must be medically approved for respirator use (EO).
    Must be able to tolerate exposure to high temperatures and high humidity (120
    F and 60% RH for 20 minutes).

    Plus interacting with many different regulatory agencies (FDA, NRC).

    Then I google the company. Law suits. Many, many lawsuits. This company may have released cancer-causing chemicals that harmed people who worked/lived in close proximity to them.

    I passed, explaining that I didn’t have the requisite skill set. Recruiter indicates that the client will train.
    He pressed- politely- says I have the ideal background.

    Not gonna cave in; this job sounds scary!

    1. Curmudgeon in California*

      Yikes! I’d turn that down too, and I used to do field work, including in a respirator. But I was 30 years younger then.

  61. fort hiss*

    Unions! As an anime/manga fan, it was great to see the independent publisher Seven Seas voluntarily accept their union (even if there was initial pushback). I’ve heard Yenpress is notoriously anti-union, so it was nice to see it happen. The first one in manga publishing! And it already had an effect on competitors, with J-Novel club raising their freelancer rates to compete. Trader Joe’s and Starbucks and Amazon unions have all been good to watch spreading. Workers deserve to have that collective power.

  62. 2 Cents*

    Large marketing department inside a huge (not marketing) organization. Went fully remote on March 14, 2020. There have been attempts for a year now to get people to come back in. Closest they’ve come is in January (ha) 2021 to get people to come back in 1 day a week. Some of the leadership goes in more frequently 2-3 days a week and absolutely no one goes in on Friday, unless they’re required (PR). People just don’t show up. Our productivity went UP. Our work product didn’t suffer. We won more awards for our work. Head honcho keeps going on about “culture,” but most of us (introverts or just like not having headphones to tune out office annoyances) are used to using chat to meet / talk all the time, even when we were in the office. (We worker bees kinda considered it semi-rude to interrupt someone at their desk without a chat heads up first.) So…we just don’t go in. Head honcho made an announcement he wants people in 2x a week. I expect more resignations or for nothing to change. First time he announcement return to office, we had 1/4 of people quit or come with counteroffers for a raise.

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      The whole culture thing really gets me!
      My workplace is back to work in person for at least the past year; about 75% of our meetings are over Zoom, coworkers in the office next door email or chat me rather than stopping by, and our customers use chat to reach us most of the time.

      Our culture is nourished online more than it was in person even when we are in person!

      I’m a boomer, I think it is a mostly boomer idea that we need to be in person – I’m embarrassed at how many boomers can’t tech.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        I’m a Boomer/GenX border type. I can’t understand people who can’t tech. I spent years waiting for tech to get to a place where I could work in it, instead of as a hobby.

        Yes, I had a manger to whom tech was just a tool that he used, and didn’t want to learn any more than he needed to do his job. But he didn’t refuse to learn it, he just only learned what he needed, because it wasn’t his focus. I never had to help him with basics like I do some of these “afraid of tech” or “can’t do tech” types.

        Tech is an essential tool for most jobs these days. If you refuse to learn the tools for your job, why should you stay employed at that job?

      2. allathian*

        So many younger people can’t tech either. It’s not a matter of age, but rather one of attitude. I’m right in the middle of GenX, and I’ll frankly admit that for me tech is a tool. Internet became a mainstream thing just as I was going to college, where I got my first email address.

        The oldest zoomers are 25 years old, and just getting their foot in the door at their first post-college jobs. People are taking for granted that they were born with a cellphone in their hand, but many of them aren’t as tech savvy as older generations expect. They’re probably great at Tik Tok and Instagram, but will need to learn MS Office (schools and colleges are using Google more often than not, at least here).

        1. MM*

          There was an interesting article a while ago where computer science professors were saying they were having a lot of trouble. Students nowadays apparently often lack the concept of a file, a file tree, any kind of systemic information architecture. They think of the things they’re looking for as sort of floating in a soup, which you navigate by searching. So like, for instance: most things I need for my academic work, I know which project or course they are part of, so I navigate through my file tree to find them. But sometimes I can’t remember–or they aren’t where they expected to be, or I…neglected to file them…so I just search my computer and pull them out of the ether. The young people these profs are talking about would always do the latter and have a hard time even wrapping their brains around the former.

  63. Fig*

    I was absolutely miserable at my old job, and I was desperate to get out, but not so desperate I would take the first job offered to me if it didn’t feel like a really really great fit.
    I was contacted via LinkedIn about a job that didn’t sound particularly interesting, but I responded anyway. The expected salary range was a question on the application, and I totally overshot what I thought the job would pay, just to see what the reaction would be. I was definitely going to play hard to get, a different approach from what I’ve done it the past. I went through the interview process (2 phone, 1 in-pers0n), and quickly became VERY interested in the job. I was hired within 2 weeks of the initial contact, and I freaking love it here.
    Oh, and that wildly high salary range? They offered me a little over the halfway point. Turns out taking the power back (in my case, letting them chase me instead of me chasing them) is very effective!

  64. Camelid lover*

    I left my last position after our department failed to replace 2 llama groomers who left (for normal career advancement reasons) prior to a pandemic induced hiring freeze. The freeze was lifted, llama grooming appointments and other department responsibilities stayed the same or increased, but now we only had 6 people to share the load previously covered by 8. We were all working 50-60 hour weeks just to keep up; still; higher ups kept insisting that we didn’t have the grooming appointments to justify the reopening the positions.

    I had been prepared to stay through tenure and student loan forgiveness, but all the things I had enjoyed about my job had been squeezed out to keep up with basic shearing and admin work. I decided if I was going to have to work 50-60 hour weeks, I could at least get a job in industry and make more working as a remote consultant and living close to family. My departure set off a domino effect (or I was just the first flea off the drowning llama), and 6 months later they were down to 3 llama groomers and the adjacent smaller alpaca grooming department had completely collapsed, including their training program.

    I’m not sure they’ve learned their lesson though. The department line is that they can’t keep groomers because no one wants to live in *town* despite the fact that 3 of the 6 people that left still live in *town* and have no plans to leave.

  65. A Pound of Obscure*

    I just recommended this blog to a friend last night. She’s a veterinarian, which is one of those careers facing burnout like any other health care profession. She left a “toxic” workplace a few years ago (she was employed for 11 years at the same clinic with – No joke! – zero pay increase during that time) and now works on a part-time, contract basis in a warmer climate during the winter, and in our colder, norther climate during the summer. Being a generally shy and agreeable person, she is only now getting more confident in advocating for herself and her worth. We spoke last night in the midst of conversations with her southern vet clinic. It sounded as though they were attempting to box her in to the same monthly rate she had been paid since she began working for them, and she was working on a response illustrating why she felt she deserved a higher rate. I said, Don’t over-explain your reasons; make it clear you’ve done your research and have looked at what veterinarians are generally paid in the area, and state the amount you’ll accept. And read this blog! I hope to hear a good result from that negotiation later this week. Even if they say no, it’s not like veterinary clinics are overwhelmed with unemployed vets looking for work. She should be able to find a better arrangement somewhere else. She deserves it!

  66. Sir Nose d'Voidoffunk*

    Can we not play into the “quiet quitting” framing? It seems to me a more accurate way of describing that phenomenon is “Workers doing the work that they’re paid to do.” Calling it “quiet quitting” implies that they’re somehow getting one over on their employers by not doing extra unpaid work.