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New Workplace Phenomenon of ‘Quiet Quitting’ Is The Result Of Burnout

Within a capitalist America, constantly pushing individuals to prioritize their careers and work ethic above all, a new phrase has been coined on TikTok that describes employees who remain at their jobs but strive to not overdo themselves in the workplace: “quiet quitting.” However, this concept has been frequently misconstrued as workers choosing to do the bare minimum at their jobs. Rather, it points out the absurd expectations that many employers have of their employees to constantly go above and beyond in their professions, taking on tasks and duties that heavily exceed their job titles and average expectations.

When comparing the US to European countries such as France, Denmark, or The Netherlands, there is a visible difference between the healthy work-life balance that Americans have been conditioned to suppress. The European mentality that your profession should not dominate your whole life and instead simply be one aspect of living in addition to hobbies and passions is frankly nonexistent in American culture. Following the Covid-19 pandemic and the shift in workplace dynamics, with more US residents now working virtually or from home, a mental shift has also begun to occur with people realizing that perhaps their jobs should not overshadow what truly makes them happy in life. 

Former teacher Maggie Perkins spoke with Insider, sharing her story of how she began “quiet quitting” as a teacher in 2018 after suffering from migraines and intense exhaustion before eventually quitting because “the conditions were not sustainable to have a quality of life.” With a nationwide teacher shortage at the moment, being called the “Great Resignation,” those working in education can benefit the most from “quiet quitting.” Considering that teachers are some of the hardest working individuals who consistently spend the most time outside of their workdays going above and beyond— tasks that they are not paid overtime for— has unfortunately led so many educators to lose their passion for the job. Additionally, Perkins shared how she spent thousands of dollars out of her own pocket on school supplies, finally convincing her to begin to “quietly quit” and not work outside of school hours or use any of her own money towards classroom needs.

While some may have an issue with “quiet quitting” in relation to professions like teaching, in which one’s decrease in effort could have a negative impact on others besides oneself, the bigger picture reveals that this should not be a trend that even has to exist in the first place. The deep influence of the fabled “American Dream” has irrevocably skewed our mindsets, resulting in Americans unknowingly altering their jobs from being simply a profession to who they fundamentally are as an individual.

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