”If you’re frustrated at work—and who isn’t some of the time—quiet quitting, where you essentially disengage and do the bare minimum, is not the only answer,” writes psychotherapist Lesley Alderman for the Post’s Well + Being section. “You can also try ‘quiet thriving,’ which involves taking specific actions and making mental shifts that help you to feel more engaged on the job.”
Five out of Alderman’s 10 pieces of advice are all about that mindset:
- “Find one thing to like or love” about your job and write it on a Post-It note to remind yourself. Alderman doesn’t suggest it, but gosh, why not throw in a couple affirmations to yourself in the mirror every morning.
- “Cultivate a best friend at work,” as if it never occurred to you to look for a friend and it goes without saying you have good options.
- “Set intentions.” Not goals, but intentions: “For example, you might say to yourself on Monday morning, ‘I am not going to let the job raise my blood pressure. When I start to feel an adrenaline response, I am going to take three deep breaths and a short walk.’” I don’t know about you, but “not letting my job raise my blood pressure” feels like a pretty low bar for thriving. Thriving so quiet it’s more of a low whisper.
- ”Insert fun breaks.” Just take 10 minutes here and there to sketch or listen to music or what have you. Maybe put them on your calendar for reminders.
- “Make an accomplishments list.” It’ll make you feel better about yourself and help you fill out your résumé.
Let’s stop here for a minute. Two of these conspicuously yet silently assume that the reader has the kind of job that allows for going out for a short walk at a moment’s notice or taking a 10-minute sketch break. The vast majority of workers, in other words, are excluded from even the most modest advice here. And boy, is it modest. This is basically “practice self-care” rebranded under the hot new(ish) “quiet” framework, and “practice self-care” coming in a workplace context is always basically, at heart, advice to suck it up at work and take a nice bubble bath when you get home rather than trying to change things. If you’re unhappy at the end of a work day, if your job is dragging you down—that’s on you, and any solutions will come from inside of you and affect only you.
Three of Alderman’s pieces of advice kinda sorta sidle up to trying to change your job:
- “Advocate for a cause. People tend to feel better when they take action. Find something that’s important to you and talk to your manager in a friendly collaborative way about making a change. Could meetings be shorter? Could hybrid work schedules be more accessible? Could the company offer a fun diversion such as a softball team? If you get shot down, follow up to understand why.” And that’s when you get quiet fired.
- ”Craft your job.” Amplify the parts of your job that feel most meaningful to you, even if your manager isn’t actively on board. Maybe do some extra unpaid work that benefits your employer just because it makes you feel good. No, really: “Maybe there’s something that’s not even part of your job—such as being a resource for new employees or starting an employee newsletter—that would make your days feel more meaningful.”
- ”Set boundaries.” At the end of the day, disengage from your email and your devices. This, please note, is a lot of what people talked about when they talked about “quiet quitting.” Literally the simple refusal to be available at all hours.
Again, the assumption is that the reader has the kind of job where a manager accepts that their reports are people with whom they collaborate and the manager will be happy to hear what would make things feel more meaningful. As with the previous batch of advice, for most types of work this is laughable. Even for professional workers who might in theory advocate for shorter meetings and a friendlier hybrid work schedule, it’s deeply unrealistic to suggest that these strategies are more likely to create positive change than to annoy your manager.
Alderman has two more pieces of advice:
- ”Seek expert advice.” As in, if you’re ready to leave, talk to a mentor or consultant or therapist about your best exit plan.
And this one, buried in the middle of the list, is my favorite:
- “Join a group. If you feel like an outsider in your workplace, look for, or start, a group of like-minded colleagues. If your company has employee resource groups, consider joining. If not, look for such a group outside work, Cameron suggests.”
You know what’s a workplace group that could improve your experience on the job? A union, that’s what. Don’t be quiet in your attempts to thrive. Don’t cross your fingers and try to manipulate your manager into making your job slightly more congenial. Build power. Create change. Make the job suck less for everyone.
Of course, it’s hard to put that in trend-friendly “quiet” headlines.
Well, that was an awesome way to finish out the 2022 election cycle! Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard revel in Raphael Warnock's runoff victory on this week's episode of The Downballot and take a deep dive into how it all came together. The Davids dig into the turnout shift between the first and second rounds of voting, what the demographic trends in the metro Atlanta area mean for Republicans, and why Democrats can trace their recent success in Georgia back to a race they lost: the famous Jon Ossoff special election in 2017.
We're also joined by one of our very favorite people, Daily Kos Elections alum Matt Booker, who shares his thoughts on the midterms and tells us about his work these days as a pollster. Matt explains some of the key ways in which private polling differs from public data; how the client surveys he was privy to did not foretell a red wave; and the mechanics of how researchers put together focus groups. Matt also reminisces about his time at "DKE University" and how his experience with us prepared him for the broader world of politics.
Comments are closed on this story.