‘Quiet Quitting’ is not laying flat enough for me
27th August 2022
Tang Ping : is to lay flat. A controversial phrase popularised by its supposedly being banned in State control of social media in China. Supposedly. It is associated with possibility of social rebellion of industrial scale apathy. To lay flat at work, is to be present but unproductive and unseen. Quiet Quitting has therein become the August phrase of choice to collectively approximate disengagement of a workforce, especially of the young.
Quiet quitting. I am immediately on edge by this trending phrase. Simply because it seems to have captured the imagination of folk-psychology and has happily landed into immediate everyday language as something to be diagnosed and cured.
I found myself saying the following on a LinkedIn post today:
“Quiet quitting” will be the next great harm. Not as a thing, but as a grouping of issues that become hidden by this term. Just as “wokeism” becomes a convenience of debate. We get to the heart of a problem by pulling it apart. Not bundling constraints up into a pithy phrase. Mental health starts with the dissonance being exposed, not upheld. Quiet quitting is not a phenomenon to manage, it is a false-step of pseudo-diagnosis being shared in the dark.”LinkedIn chat
Unsupported in academic writing. A few hours of searching through my university library is a cursory look. I have not researched this thoroughly. But I have found no academically obvious links to bring “quiet quitting” into my corner of science i.e., psychology. Psychology Today have found means to comment using the term in blogspace, but this quickly moved into surer footing. As to peer reviewed papers, I have had to turn to a management journal piece from 2018 that offers pre-quitting behaviour as a connection of sorts. However, the more socially constructed truism or appropriation seems the less rigorous source of a term I suspect is already here to stay. Please let me know if a more thorough check of academic literature offers more support than my brief examination uncovered.
Let us find ways to engage. This is not to discredit the notion of what quiet quitting is suggesting overall. We must certainly have the discussion about engagement. Let us widen this out to the full teleological discussion of life, or the subsets of priorities, meaning, and how to better share goals. Let us perhaps further widen this challenge towards long-term objectives; innate motivations; autonomy of action; all of which I believe brings sustainability discussion to the fore. But let us proceed with more rigour and less reaction to trend.
PhD and me. I will have such teleological challenge close to hand in my PhD research into project threat. I begin that in earnest in a month from now. And if personal observation from consulting and discourse is indicative, “engagement” is an emergent discussion – one I am now having regularly.
Fashions are not facts. But please, please, let us not fall into the easiest of all traps – and ironically be directed in our efforts based upon nothing more than the hearsay of popular everyday truisms. Truisms that are founded on nothing other than the media circus that now distracts us from longer-term purpose in the today.