In July of 2022, one of Zaid Khan’s videos went viral on TikTok that talked about “Quiet Quitting.” In the viral video, Khan defines quiet quitting as separating the identity between the work that one does and their core self. In short, quiet quitting means that one is no longer going above and beyond at work.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, of the U.S. workforce, “quiet quitters” make up at least 50%,” among mainly Gen Z and younger millennials. Of those who are quiet quitters, a Sept. 6, 2022 Gallup article reports that workers are ““not engaged” at work—people who do the minimum required and are psychologically detached from their job.” And of those quiet quitters, many are already looking for other jobs where they feel valued for their creativity and input among other reasons.
Many college students are employed part time whether they work on or off campus. As of 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 43 percent of full-time college students worked part time jobs whereas 81 percent of “part time students” were also part time employees.
I , for instance, work part time at a grocery store in one department, although I do work in other departments when the one I work in is slow. This does go beyond my work obligations, but the managers have come to expect it. I was raised in a household with a hard work ethic, yet what is frustrating is witnessing other employees not work as hard, and why should they? It’s not what they signed up for. The grocery store does not give raises if someone goes out of their way to help others; instead, raises are based on how many hours you have worked, which is why I’m quietly quitting.
Although I do have two jobs, I have come to rely on my income at the grocery store, and one thing that is frustrating is in the month of January they have begun cutting hours, which hurts part time employees. Thankfully, I will be ok, but I cannot help but feel for the other part-time employees. Management continues to expect things to get done as though hours have not been cut, even to the point of chastising an employee who was only scheduled to work four hours in the dairy department. To top it off, in my department they have added more work to be completed in less time, yet no more hours for us.
And this coupled with the rising cost of groceries continue to affect poorer, working-class Americans the most. Although originally published in April 15, 2021, NBC News continues to update the article, “Graphic: Track Grocery Price Trends,” and most recently updated as of Wednesday, Jan. 11, such items have increased in cost: “orange juice, eggs, chicken breasts, fresh ground beef, bacon and bread.” At El Dorado’s fresh and friendly Dillons, the cost for an 18 count of eggs is $7.75.
Although some have taken personal, political attacks on quiet quitting, we can learn something from Gen Z. From Cal Newport of The New Yorker, “Figuring out how work fits into a life well lived is hard, but it’s an evolution that has to happen. Quiet quitting is the messy starting gun of a new generation embarking on this challenge.” One must begin to separate one’s work self from their own self: Work does not, and should not, be a core part of our identity.