My father and I were never each other’s biggest fans. I wonder now if we looked upon each other and saw everything we thought to be wrong with the human race. Our relationship was defined by the most spirited of debates that would often devolve into physical confrontations.
At sixteen and fresh off yet another juvie stint, my father and I found ourselves in the car for yet another spirited debate. I’ve grown used to his yelling at this point. Dad yells. It’s what he does. I’m more concerned that he and I are in such close quarters that if/when things turn violent, things will get very bloody, very quickly.
Anyway, during this discussion I’ve chosen to focus on that snake that appears to be trying to escape out of his forehead. It’s with rising hope that I pray the vessel bursts and at last ends this when he says something he’s never said before. He calls me “damn near unemployable”.
The wave of sheer euphoria that came over me at that moment was as unexpected as it was puzzling. The involuntary smirk that came with it cost me an ass-whooping and him a mild concussion.
I realize now that I never wanted to be part of my father’s world. His version of success had turned him into the most cheerless human being you’d ever crossed paths with. Here he was, a successful criminal prosecutor who would’ve given the Dursley’s pause. Joy could not exist around this man. As he was miserable, nothing was allowed to be happy in his presence. Not even his own children, one of whom was a resounding academic success (hint: not me).
I think quiet quitting is the best thing people could’ve done for themselves.
Over the course of my life, I’ve had well over a hundred jobs and refuse to put most of them on a resume. Day jobs often hold livelihoods hostage, and that’s not a game I’ve ever played. My attitude has always been simple; show up on time, do the job you were hired to do, and leave it at the door when you clock out. Don’t answer emails or texts from work if you’re not being paid too (that’s a horrible precedent to set). Don’t take on more responsibilities without at least discussing additional compensation. Finally, and this is most important, don’t expect your job to have your back if you need it too. Your loyalty should be to your paycheck first, not the person who signs it and probably has no idea who you are.
Now of course not every job is like this. There are jobs I regret quitting. If you’ve got a job that rewards your efforts, more power to you and, you should match their energy. But for those of us wage slaves simply trying to get by, quiet quitting should always be an option. You should not, under any circumstances, take on more than what you were hired to do without additional compensation. I understand this puts you in a no-win situation. Either you take the extra work, or they replace you with someone who will. It’s a scary place to be, especially now. So, speaking frankly, if I felt like my back was against the wall, I would lie my ass off, convince them of what they wanted to hear-and immediately start planning an exit strategy. If your employer believes they can bully you, or frighten you, into giving more of yourself without giving you anything in return, chances are they won’t stop at that initial request. This can be especially true if you’re a woman, person of color, or both.
It also helps to make initial interviews two-way streets. While your prospective employer is trying to ascertain if you’re a good fit for their company, you should be asking them if they’re a good fit for your lifestyle. What exactly will be expected of you? What do they expect of their employees during their off time? How does management handle scheduling conflicts and unexpected absences?
I spent twenty years working low-impact, low-wage jobs because they suited my lifestyle and didn’t ask much of me beyond what I was hired to do. The jobs that did were ones I gleefully left behind. Today I am successfully self-employed, and my primary client is the one most dream of. They respect my time, are quick to answer questions and hand out criticism positively and constructively. I’m lucky to be where I am. But I still set my phone to DND on weekends.
You have a very limited amount of time on this planet. When the end comes, I promise that you’re not going to want to look back on your life and think about how many hours you spent at your day job. Quiet quitting is how employees re-assert their power in the workplace. Stop being afraid of what they might do to you for saying no, and start thinking about what it is you want for yourself and your life. You’ll be a lot happier.
Thanks for reading.
Avery K. Tingle is a GenX digital nomad and creator currently living in the Las Vegas area with his wife, Cari, and two cats. He talks about normalizing mental health issues, maintaining personal boundaries and doing what you’re passionate about. He also writes dark fantasy with an emphasis on martial arts and other fiction.