Leave it to capitalists to come up with a bullshit term like “quiet quitting.” The term has been discussed and disputed to the point that it might not be worth more time and energy, but I haven’t thrown out my own time and energy yet, dear reader, so here we are.
Quiet quitting is a ruling class term meaning that employees are not going above and beyond the requirements of their job duties. It means that they are doing what they were hired to do and are being paid to do. They are not doing extra unpaid work they never signed on for. That is not quitting. That is doing your job. That is choosing to not allow yourself to be exploited. The capitalist class has benefited from decades, centuries, of exploiting people, extracting more work from them than they have been willing to compensate them for.
The power has always been in the hands of the capitalists, the employers, the people who can’t do the job themselves but resent every cent they have to share to get someone else to do it for them. If not for the efforts and sacrifices of labor movements, capitalists would have people working every waking hour until they died for the least pay possible. That’s how they’d extract the most profit, besides literal slavery. They coin idiot passive aggressive terms like “quiet quitting” because they hate that they cannot punish us more for just doing our jobs. That we live in an era where the law and some variety of other employers doesn’t always make this an easy option drives them crazy, and they spend billions to ensure that workers won’t be able to attain any more legal protections. They spend more on union-busting efforts than they may even have to pay if their workers unionized, and they wonder why no one wants to put in 110% and thank them for the opportunity.
I have been in situations where I’ve gotten in trouble with supervisors for being late, not being exactly on time, or not being early. I have never gotten in any kind of trouble for leaving work late, of course. I also did not make a fuss or demand to be paid for the extra time that I gave to them, or was taken from me. Considering how readily employers or supervisors will threaten workers with reduced pay or taking away vacation time or sick leave, they couldn’t be more obtuse or obstinate when it comes to paying workers anything extra.
The ruling class designed the capitalist structure of our society, within which we are all forced to live and function, in which money is the metric by which all things and actions are prescribed value. Our worth to them is that we make them money, and in return they pay us money. That is the agreement. If they want us to go beyond the terms of the agreement, they can pay us more money. If they want us to work beyond the terms of the agreement out of some love or passion for the work, because it’s just so important to us, and we’re supposed to sacrifice ourselves to show how much we care, they are delusional, and ought to be willing to give us a portion of their own salary, since they care so damn much. You want us to care? Pay us to care. If they don’t want to pay more money, they can fuck right off.
Work is not life. If your job is the most important thing in your life, and it’s not a soul-fulfilling work of true passion, that is incredibly sad. Even if it is one of those perfect unicorn jobs, you need something outside of it, you need a life alongside it. You need people. Or maybe you’re an introvert and need a break from people. Either way, you need a break from productivity. Work can be great, enjoyable, and have real meaning. But it isn’t life. Work is not life and companies are not families, and doing your job is not quitting.