63 - Quiet Quitting is Trash

Updated: Sep 23

Tyson & Alexa tackle the latest shiny buzzphrase in the HR zeitgeist: ‘quiet quitting’. Our dynamic duo share some hot takes on the topic and discuss the hustle culture that created it, the millennials struggling to understand it, and what employers should be doing to combat it. It’s a hot, funny mess in this episode errybody.


Release Date: September 14, 2022

[00:00:00] Tyson: Do I have a story for you? This is so tragic. Okay. It turned out okay at the end, but it was very stressful. My entire mat leave I've been preparing for the moment, which is the cake smash photoshoot for my baby. This is a big deal. You get the fancy outfit. You do the cake thing, they smash it, and you get all of these expensive pictures taken. It's a one-year thing. Yes. It's a one-year photoshoot, it happens around the one-year mark, so I being the domestic lady that I'm like, "I'm going to bake the cake because I don't want to spend a lot of money on a cake that she's just going to smash and not eat."

Little did I know how expensive baking has actually been and costed me, the number of cakes I've made. Anyways, for the entire year of my mat leave, I've been practicing this cake and I finally find the perfect cake. It's sugar-free, it's all healthy because she can't have sugar yet, she's too little, and all these things, it's super healthy. Great. I've literally made this cake. It does taste good. Adults can eat it too. I've made this cake like 75 times. Now, the icing is made out of cream cheese and whipping cream so obviously, it has to go in the fridge. Here I am, the night before, I'm so excited, I'm making my little icing. Then, my lights flicker, flicker, flicker, flicker. I'm like, "Oh, shit."

There's this huge storm rolling in. The lights are flickering, I swear to God. I'm like, "No, the power's going to go out." I finish my icing, I ice it all up, I have to put it in the fridge. The fridge dies. I've literally been working on this for a year and the fridge dies and I was like, "No. It's going to melt." Anyways, I was able to put it in our deep freezer outside and it survived, so blessed be [laughs] that we have that, honestly, but it was honestly, the most high-stress I've experienced since being off on mat leave, so priorities. There's time. There's all these little things that it's like a signal. It's like, "Okay, Tyson. It's time to go back to work." [laughs]

When I'm cutting out felt shapes that look nothing like animals and they just look like blobs. The ducks? It's time. It's time to go back to work, but anyways. Yes, but I thought you'd enjoy that tragedy. [laughs] Sure thing. Today's episode is brought to you by our community, The People Ops Society. Join our community of listeners and People Ops Professionals at POPS. You can use the forum for feedback, download awesome resources and templates shared by peers, and get access to cool free courses like mine, The Art of Compensation. Use the code peopleproblems at peopleopssociety.com to get 20% off your membership today. Again, use the code peopleproblems at peopleopssociety.com to join our community.

Please make sure to follow us on all things social at People Problems Pod. I'm at hr.shook and theinfluenchr, spelt with an H-R so check out Alexa at theinfluenchr.

[pause 00:03:20]

[00:03:58] Tyson: I am so excited. I can't believe we're already here.

[pause 00:04:01]

[00:04:40] Tyson: It started on TikTok. That's, I guess, where it started. Yes, of course.

[pause 00:04:45]

[00:05:48] Tyson: Look, this is something that obviously it's not new. It's really not new. This has been happening since the dawn of time. It is cute, but it's misleading. It's a very misleading term because I think that it doesn't totally capture exactly what it means, but hey, wait, there is a word that actually does capture what it means. I think it's "disengaged." Wait, I think it's "disengaged." Another one could be "presenteeism" is another really good word for this that's been around since the dawn [chuckles] time.

My immediate reaction, and I want to acknowledge the fact that like we are millennials and we very much come from hustle culture. I'll just accept my bias and just leave it there. Actually, I was talking about this on Instagram and somebody yelled at me and called me a boomer and I was like, "Oh, snap." [chuckles] They're cruel. Where have you been? [chuckles] Exactly. Seriously, I was just having some fun anyways. Okay, so my thoughts on quiet quitting. Exactly. I love a little hate.

My problem with this is I think about it from my own perspective and it's very much like, for me, being mediocre would stress the shit out of me. It really is only hurting yourself to sit there and be like, "You know what? Stick it to the man." This is, I think, where this comes from. You sit down for your annual increase and they say, "Okay, this year you're going to get your 1.5%." I've heard people say this, "You know what? If you're not going to pay me, then I'm just going to do the bare minimum I'm going to log off of 5:00 PM every day, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I'm like, I don't think it has to be that way. I think that we can strive for greatness while also setting boundaries. Those were a few of my initial thoughts. I'm like, man, how miserable to just wake up every day and go to work just unhappy? [silence]

[pause 00:08:09]

[00:09:35] Tyson: Exactly. That's why I don't like the term "quiet quitting," because it is totally okay if you're just going to work, doing your job, logging off of, nobody expects anything else. The thing is though I would challenge people in that most people do have jobs like that, but they have put all of these layers of expectations on themselves because-- This is a common thing that comes up during engagement surveys when we're looking at the results about work-life balance. The younger people are always saying, "The senior leaders shouldn't be sending emails while they're on vacation, or they shouldn't be sending emails while they're on the weekend or after hours because it makes us feel like we have to then do that."

I'm like, "Come on people. No, that's never been the expectation of you." Yes, one should lead by example, but there's also this idea of look, this is an opportunity for me to respond to this email right now, like that kind of thing. I don't know. [silence]

[pause 00:11:05]

[00:11:17] Tyson: Especially as a senior leader and that's a tough pill to swallow for some people that certain roles come with responsibility. When we're talking about-- Yes, exactly. That's why I like brought in the whole boundary thing. I tell people this, if you don't want to respond to Slack after hours, don't put Slack on your personal iPhone, take it off. If there's an emergency, someone will figure out how to get a hold of you. I'm only speaking to my experience.

[pause 00:12:01]

[00:13:24] Tyson: Because they give a shit. Yes. [silence] 100% percent. This is what drives me nuts about this whole topic of whether it be even before quiet quitting engagement. Again, I need to remember that I come from a place of I am extremely ambitious. I am a go-getter. I try really fucking hard all the time, so I just couldn't imagine day after day sitting in a job where I am just like disengaged, quiet quitting, unhappy, not wanting to go above and beyond because people are saying, "Oh, it's about work-life balance and it's about your mental health."

Well, if you're sitting for eight hours a day, hating what you're doing, just doing the bare minimum to get by, that is the worst thing for your mental health. Sometimes you need to quit or if you can't quit right away because I get it, we got bills to pay, kids to feed, don't quit but determine what your exit strategy is. Either have a conversation with someone about how things can change. [silence] That's what I mean.

[pause 00:14:41]

[00:14:56] Tyson: Totally. I would say though, there there's going to be two camps. There's people that are totally okay putting in their day-to-day and logging off at 5:00. Those people will never ever worry about anything like quiet quitting. It's just how they are. Then there's this group of super ambitious people that are push, push, push, push, pushing, working extra hours, going above and beyond. Now, if they're quiet quitting, I can guarantee you that ambitious person, it's not sustainable for them because they're going to want to push. They're going to want to try hard. Exactly. Exactly.


[00:16:57] Tyson: That's exactly--

[pause 00:17:00]

[00:17:31] Tyson: That's what I hate. Look, what I got in some Slack because I made a comment that gen Zs are calling it quiet quitting, and apparently that's not the case. It's actually boomers that are coining this term that-- Everybody's saying it now, but wherever it started, I have no idea where it started or who said it first, whatever, who invented this. My concern is people are starting to lack basic skills to be effective employees. Being able to have conversations with your boss about not liking something about your work environment is very, very important.

I get it. Everybody has their own skillsets, but you cannot. Don't think that you're sticking it to the man because they don't give a shit, honestly. They don't give a shit either. That's why I came out and I was like, "You're only hurting yourself by doing this." It's like when you're mad at a significant other and you're just like stirring about it and they have no idea you're mad at them and you're just, "Mmm." You're just grumpy and they're completely off in Lala land. They have no idea. Meanwhile, you're like plotting their death. You're like, "I hate you."

I don't do that but anyways. Never done that before. Maybe last night when my cake was fucking melting and he was doing his football draft, anyway. I don't like the idea of just sitting back and not just grabbing onto your career and taking control of it. You can't just sit there and expect things to be done for you. My suggestion to everyone, whether you're gen Z, a boomer, a frigging great generation, whatever you are is to be loud about things and loud about your needs. Don't just be quietly quitting. Like why? I don't get it. I don't get it.

[pause 00:19:34]

[00:20:18] Tyson: Oh, yes.

[pause 00:20:20]

[00:20:35] Tyson: No.

[pause 00:20:36]

[00:21:30] Tyson: Right. [silence] Right. [silence] Totally [silence]. 100%. I think it's so annoying. It's so annoying because again, I'm going to say this for like the 80th time, you're only really hurting yourself. If you're the ambitious person who's just sitting there doing the bare minimum, you're not going to be happy and that's even going to further impact your mental health.

[pause 00:22:28]

[00:22:40] Tyson: Yes. [silence] Totally. I find this so funny and it signals the industry in a big picture way, just how we spend so much time and energy with renaming phenomenons. Now here we are spending an entire episode talking about this, but the amount of time we've spent talking about quiet quitting, the New York Times articles, the Wall Street Journal, everybody. We're not fixing things that could help, like educating workers on how to have conversations asking for what they need from their boss. Like making sure that managers are good managers so that people do feel engaged, all these things, we just aren't ever-- I'm going to have a job for obviously the rest of my life and beyond, because we just can't figure these simple things out.

We just get obsessed with these semantics and topics and everything, and it's just we're not actually ever doing anything, it's hilarious. Am I having an existential [laughs] crisis?

[pause 00:24:11]

[00:24:38] Tyson: We have to address it.

[pause 00:24:40]

[00:25:20] Tyson: That is HR though. The right person in the right place at the right time, that's how HR was described to me. It's not just recruiting, but it's also even once people are in the organization and whatever. Because people can move around. People need to get promoted, they need to grow. They need to try different things. There's so many different things that can happen, but just getting back to basics is so important. For all you HR people listening, please, let's just be a united front on this one and stop with the semantics.

We're not renaming HR. I've decided it is human resources. Don't try to name it something else. I did see KPMG. It's out there. I did see KPMG is calling it "people in change," which I think is better than people in culture, but I am holding strong on HR. Absolutely. You're right. Nothing.

[pause 00:26:40]

[00:26:51] Tyson: Oh, yes. [silent] Sometimes you need people that don't want to get promoted every-- I've said this before on the podcast, you need worker bees. I don't want everyone coming at me bothering me about promotions. We need some people that are just going to chill. [silent] We need to normalize that. [silence]

[pause 00:27:40]

[00:28:12] Tyson: No, that's so true. Considering that when we're building out what the workplace looks like, can we reward people in ways that's not just promote, promote, promote? It's okay to chill. Not everybody needs to be a people leader. Not everybody needs to be promoted every five minutes. You can be successful. That's the key. Right, because I've literally had conversations with managers where they're like, "If you're not on the track--" in talent review conversations, you have your little quadrants. It's like, if they don't have potential, then why are we keeping them?

It's like, no, you don't always need to be high potential. You can just be a high performer, low potential. Because you're just straight chilling, doing a good job. That is perfectly fine. You can't promote them all. Doesn't work that way.

[pause 00:29:11]

[00:29:35] Tyson: We start cutting out felt shapes. Hold on. Being a mom is work. I take that back. It's actually harder than my job, but anyways. Yes, let's do it. I think instead we have so much more to talk about in terms of how we can get loud, and just figure out how to grab our careers and take them and do what we need to do and get what we want.

[pause 00:30:20]

[00:30:45] Tyson: Yes. Totally. Yes. I think so, too. Yes. PSA over here. [laughs] Chill the fuck out. [laughs] Can't wait.

[00:31:22] [END OF AUDIO]

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