Do you suspect that some people you work with have basically checked out? Meaning they still go to the office or show up on Zoom calls, but they won’t go the extra mile.
These people who do the minimum of their job description are called “quiet quitters.” Quiet quitting is a way employees attempt to counter burnout and stick it to companies that they don’t feel appreciate or adequately reward them. These employees don’t leave the company, but their never-go-above-and-beyond approach can eventually become a problem. And disturbingly, quiet quitters comprise at least 50% of the U.S. workforce, perhaps more, according to a recent Gallup poll.
From an employer’s perspective, employees who “quit and stay” are dead weight. Sooner or later, their lack of commitment is reflected in poor performance. And with many economic experts predicting a recession is around the corner, quiet quitting is a dangerous way to live. But if you do your job and embrace doing more than is required, you’ll move up almost by default, as the quiet quitters are fired before leaving of their own accord.
To survive, let alone thrive, in a competitive, constantly changing business world, organizations need everyone engaged. Employee engagement across the U.S. has been in decline recently, but as a young person trying to gain career traction, it behooves you not to follow the quiet-quitter crowd and risk falling behind on your career path. Your objective early in your career is to climb up a steep learning curve. You’re in a race to quickly amass skills, ideally transferable ones, that you’ll build on for the rest of your working life. Failure to fully engage and develop skills now could harm your habits, potential, and earning power later.
You can separate yourself from the quiet-quitter crowd, grow, enjoy your job more, impress your bosses, make yourself more valuable to your company and improve your future job prospects by learning how to create value in what you do. Here are ways to do that:
Work harder than they expect
Unless you are miserable, can’t deal with your boss or co-workers, and need a change of scenery to better apply your talents and enjoy work more, then stay and commit to bringing out your best. Start with a determination to learn and perform your job to the best of your ability. Anything less than your best shortchanges both your employer and you.
Don’t just show up at 9 a.m.and rush out the door promptly at 5 p.m. Assume that hard work is expected and required to perform your job well. We often can’t control the outcomes we seek. But we can always control the effort and attitude we bring to any opportunity or problem.
The number of hours you work is meaningful only to the extent that you use them effectively. Spend your time on the tasks that create the most value, and that move you fastest toward achieving your goals.
Work on what’s difficult, creative, and impactful, including your personal learning plan. Cut the non-essentials from your to-do list. And take the time to master productivity tools that allow you to work smarter and save time in the long run.
Do something special
Generate and pitch new ideas, source great people for the company, or volunteer for challenging projects or assignments. And every now and then, undertake and succeed at something difficult that adds great value.
Master the business
If you like the line of work you’ve chosen, seek to understand it at a deeper level. Go beyond mastering your job to mastering your business. Learn what factors drive the business. Learn its vocabulary and history and understand its key metrics.
Think about where your industry is headed, what opportunities and challenges lie ahead, and what your company must do to remain relevant. Ready yourself now for success later when you take on a greater role.
Learn from mistakes
Failure is instructive, perhaps even more so when it’s embarrassing. Sometimes failure allows you to change course and prevent a greater failure later. If you learn from your mistakes so that you don’t repeat them, odds are good your job won’t be in jeopardy.
Bring in new business
“Here’s one surefire way to make yourself valuable at work: bring in new business. When I took my first law firm job, I assumed the clients would just magically come to me and that I would never lack for work. Wrong! Someone has to bring those clients to the company. The sooner you help bring business to your company, the more valuable and recession-resistant you become. You’re never too new in your job to start bringing in business for your organization. If you’re looking for new business in your networking – unlike peers who aren’t – you’re likely to find it.” — Nick
Don’t coast after success. Your company continues to pay you and expects performance in return. If you ease up after a win, thinking you’ve earned the right, you’re risking the reputation you worked so hard to build.
Don’t feel a need to find the work you were “born to do” or get too caught up searching for your “passion.” The list of things you can do, and the list of reasons to be excited about whatever you choose, are plentiful. When performed by someone who cares about their work, there’s value in almost every vocation.
And where you are now need not be your forever place. Few of us find such a place, especially early in our careers. It’s enough if you’re convinced you’re in the right spot for now