Are Physicians Dying Inside Bit by Bit?

In recent months, “quiet stop” has been gaining more and more attention on social media platforms. My morning social media survey revealed thousands of posts ranging from “Why doing less at work could be good for you — and your employer” to “After ‘quiet quit’ here comes ‘quiet fire’.”

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But stopping silently is not silent or stopping.

Quietly stopping is a misnomer. Individuals don’t quit their jobs; instead, they abandon the idea of ​​consistently going “above and beyond” in the workplace as normal and necessary. In addition, quiet quitters are firmer with their boundaries, don’t take work above and beyond clearly stated expectations, don’t respond outside office hours, and don’t feel like they’re “not doing their job” when they’re not immediately available.

Individuals who “take it easy” continue to meet the demands of their jobs, but reject the busy culture mentality that you should always be available for more work and, most importantly, that your worth as a person and self-esteem are not defined and determined by you. work. Silent quitters believe it’s possible to have good boundaries and still stay productive, engaged and active in the workplace.

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Earlier this month, NPR’s tutorial on setting better boundaries at work was viewed 491,000 times, reflecting employees’ difficulties communicating their needs, thoughts and availability to their employers. Stopping calmly refers not only to rejecting the idea of ​​moving forward in the workplace, but also to having the confidence that there will be no negative consequences if you do not consistently go beyond the expected requirements.

A focus on balance, life, loves and family is rarely addressed or emphasized by traditional employers; employees have little skill in setting boundaries and clarifying their value and availability. For decades, flexibility of any kind “needed” or valuing activities as much as one’s job were viewed as negative traits, making those individuals less desirable employees.

Data supports the silent stop trend. Gallup data shows employee engagement in the U.S. workforce has declined for two years in a row. In the first quarter of 2022, Gen Z and younger millennials report the lowest engagement of all populations at 31%. More than half of this cohort, 54%, classified as “disengaged” in their workplace.

Why is silent quitting now gaining prominence? COVID may play a role.

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Many suggest that self-evaluation and setting firmer boundaries is a logical response to emotional consequences caused by COVID. The silent shutdown appears to have been fueled by the pandemic. Employees were forced into crisis mode by COVID; the lines between work, life and home blurred, allowing employees to evaluate their effectiveness and satisfaction. With the structural impact of curbing COVID and a return to more standard work practices, the function is expected to become “rules” once enforced as truths are evaluated and scrutinized.

Perhaps COVID has given and given us another opportunity to scrutinize our routines and habits and take stock of what really matters. Generations are expected to differ in their values ​​and definitions of success. COVID has set rules on fire, forcing patterns and expectations that were not expected or desired, in the context of a global health crisis. Against this background, should we really believe that our worth is determined by our work?

The truth is that we still mourn what we lost during COVID and are not expected to assimilate with ‘the new normal’. Psychology has long recognized that losing structures and support, routines and habits causes symptoms of significant discomfort.

The idea that we would return to previous expectations in the workplace is naive. The idea that we would “return to life as it was” is naive. So it seems to be expected that both employers and employees will need to evaluate their goals and communicate more openly about how they can be achieved.

It is the duty of employers to establish clear guidelines regarding expectations, including rewards for performance and expectations for time, both on and off the work schedule. Employers should recognize symptoms of detachment in their employees and continue to clarify roles and expectations while providing employees with the necessities to succeed at their highest levels. Employees, in turn, must self-examine their goals, communicate their needs, fully fulfill their responsibilities and face the challenge of defining their own definition of balance.

Perhaps, rather than stalling silently, we should call it “self-awareness, growth and evolution.” Hmmm, there’s an intriguing thought.

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