‘Quiet quitting’ wasn’t invented by Gen Z but they made it insufferable

Source: Hot Air

We’ve had a few stories in the headlines this month about the new trend of “quiet quitting.” If you missed it like I did, it’s basically the idea of showing up at work and doing the bare minimum. The trend seems to have taken off recently on TikTok (where most dumb trends come from these days) but the LA Times dug into it last weekend and argued it actually isn’t new. It has antecedents that go back more than two decades.

Coasting counterculture reached its true boom days in the 1990s, which were dotted with underachiever fare like “Slacker,” “Clerks,” “The Big Lebowski” and “Wayne’s World.” While the dot-com bubble was giving us rock-star tech CEOs, the 1999 film “Office Space” explored the box-checking cubicle hell populated by their underlings. Peter, a spiritually tortured everyman played by Ron Livingston, is transformed via accidental hypnosis into a carefree straight-shooter, suddenly immune to the minor humiliations and tedious managing-up of corporate life. His honesty about zoning out at his desk and hiding from his supervisors shocks the outside consultants, both named Bob, who had been sizing him up for layoff…

In her 2008 book “skirt! Rules for the Workplace: An Irreverent Guide to Advancing Your Career,” [Kelly Love] Johnson coined a term for her experience, “quitting in place,” which gained traction with some human resources experts. Johnson’s term recently appeared in a Business Insider story on “coasting culture” in March by Aki Ito, which described how many overextended employees “have quietly decided to take it easy at work rather than quit their jobs.”

The Insider story appears to have inspired the first known use of “quiet quitting,” by career coach Bryan Creely, 44, of Nashville, Tenn., who went on TikTok and YouTube on March 4 to riff on the Insider story.

Here’s the TikTok where Creely blurted out “quiet quitting” for the first time (it’s at the very end).

@alifeafterlayoff More people are “quiet quitting” instead of leaving. #quitmyjob #corporate #corporatelife #job #jobburnout #greatresignation #career #workthisway ♬ original sound – Bryan Creely – Career Coach

So it’s fair to say Gen Z didn’t coin this phrase (Creeley himself is way past the Gen Z cutoff) or originate the idea behind quiet quitting. That said, I think they did manage to make it dumber by adding in a lot of whining about how work doesn’t care about them as people. For example, this 22 year old’s video has been viewed nearly 900k times:

@hunterkaimi just my thoughts take it or leave it #quietquitting ♬ original sound – Hunter Kaimi

What this guy doesn’t know, besides the obvious fact that nose rings are ugly, is that many of us have had those low-skill service sector jobs making almost no money. Jeff Bezos’ first job was working at McDonalds. He was in high school at the time but still, burger flipper is on his resume. I worked at McDonalds when I was a college student. I also worked at Pizza Hut, at a bookstore, and as a bricklayer’s assistant. None of those were what I would call ideal jobs in a variety of ways, but I can’t imagine whining about my employer not caring about me as a person at age 22. Get a grip, son!

Another person who popularized this trend on TikTok was this woman who made a series of videos in which she acts out the role of a quiet quitter. This one has been viewed just over 1 million times.

@saraisthreads #greenscreen it’s 2022 Susan. We’re acting our wage. #fyp #work #working #corporate #corporatelife #corporatetiktok #corporateamerica #corporatehumor #office #officelife #manager #managersbelike #career #quietquitting #quietquittingmyjob ♬ original sound – Sarai Marie

She’s really pushing the “act your wage” idea. This one has been viewed 1.6 million times.

@saraisthreads #greenscreen I’d rather spend time with my family. 💅🏽 #actyourwage #fyp #work #working #corporate #corporatelife #corporatetiktok #corporateamerica #corporatehumor #office #officelife #manager #managersbelike #career #quietquitting #quietquittingmyjob ♬ original sound – Sarai Marie

Anyway, at least she’s trying to make it entertaining. Other people are just going into lecture mode.

@hrmanifesto ✨New Trend Alert✨Loud Failing #insanity #quietquitting #loudfailing #employee #engagement #nightmare #corporate #victimblaming #hr #hrmanifesto #greenscreen @wsj @zaidleppelin ♬ original sound – HRManifesto

There’s a lot more like this if you’re a glutton for punishment. I’m actually surprised that AOC hasn’t jumped on this trend. It seems like a perfect vehicle to advance a certain view of capitalism with her young fanbase.