CULTURE OF ENTITLEMENT
I understand that employees are unhappy: Salaries are tracking way beneath inflation, house prices are prohibitively expensive and the WFH experience has allowed for a re-evaluation of how and where we do our jobs. This is an especially tense moment in the workplace as a range of sectors are threatening strike action and the cost of living crisis has cut deep into financial plans.
I’m not being flippant about that crisis, nor arguing that employees might not have legitimate concerns. But I am depressed by the emergence of the mindset, stoked by TikTok and social media, that celebrates a culture of entitlement, and doing the bare minimum at work.
Now we have “quiet quitting”, as coined by TikTok user and musician @zaidsmusic. “You’re not outright quitting your job,” he says of the changing mindset towards working. “You’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life.”
Quiet quitting is presumably easier if you’re punching through data spreadsheets, or performing other solo desk-bound duties, than it is in other lines of work.
I’m curious, however, to know how quiet quitting might play out in other work environments in which the criterion for bare minimum is slightly more opaque. Can a chef quiet quit, for example? Is the tastiness and care with which a dish is presented part of a baseline professional obligation, or would it be considered “above and beyond”?
Or what of those who work in healthcare? Is it okay to disregard the suffering of the patient if all you are required to do is done? Should a nurse show extra tenderness when changing a dressing? Or help a new mother, to whom officially she has no “duty of care”? Should a surgeon be expected to expend a bit more effort to make sure you get a tidy scar?
Maybe a quietly quitting hairdresser would cut your hair with total competency but not offer any small talk, or deny that extra zhush of spray. Then again, hairdressers are often cited as enjoying the highest rates of job satisfaction – they are keen subscribers to the idea that work can be your life.