Quiet quitting is taking the younger generation by storm, especially those on TikTok. The idea behind “quiet quitting” is to do no more than what's asked of you at work and then check out. Once you're out of the office, there's no more responding to work e-mails, slack, nada.
A quiet quitter does not go above and beyond the call of duty. Instead, they put in up to 100% work for 100% pay. They've been able to create a strong boundary between work and personal life.
Quiet quitters are also the ones who work 40 hours a week or less! By only having to work a single-digit hours day, there is much less stress. So long as they aren't complaining about why they can't get ahead, all is good!
Work-from-home has created increased anxiety for workers to always be on. And most people have a hard time saying no, especially to a boss who also wants to get ahead.
For those of you wishing to achieve financial freedom sooner, the quiet quitting movement might actually be a godsend! Sure, many tech companies have laid off employees after the pandemic. But if you can survive and only work 20-25 hours a week, you're golden.
Quiet quitting is also helping make the FIRE movement obsolete thanks to more flexibility. And for parents, quiet quitting should lower your anxiety about your child's future.
No Such Thing As Quiet Quitting In Some Industries
When I first started working in finance in 1999, I regularly worked between 60 – 70 hours a week. There were no set hours. Instead, we worked every day and every evening until most of the work was done.
But because I worked in international equities, the work was never done! By the time 7 pm rolled around, my colleagues in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore had started trickling in at 7 am their time. Oftentimes, I had to be online until 9 pm ensuring my requests were executed before I went to bed. Because if I woke up and my requests had not been fulfilled, I would look incompetent to my managers and clients for another 12 hours.
During the two years I worked in New York City, I don't think I met a single person who was a quiet quitter. The reason why New York City never sleeps is because it seems as if everybody is always working their asses off trying to get ahead!
It was only after I moved to San Francisco in 2001, did I meet more quiet quitters. The city seems to have a more diverse workforce that cherishes living. Or maybe it's because I decided to just expand my circle of friends. Whatever the case may be, San Francisco has a much better work-life balance.
The funny thing is, everything is relative. I'm sure some folks who relocate from the Midwest to San Francisco for work will probably find my city to be hyper-competitive. In fact, every time I go back to Honolulu to visit my folks, my stress level drops to about a 3 out of 10 versus a 5 out of 10 in San Francisco.
Let's Pray The Quiet Quitting Movement Grows
As a fake retiree, I don't care about pay raises or titles anymore. I stopped caring in 2012 at age 34. At the same time, one of the reason why I embrace “fake retirement” is because I feel it's hard to truly let go of work. From rising costs to seeing your peers do great things, deciding to only relax in retirement can be very difficult.
But even more important than being productive in early retirement is how do I help my two children survive and flourish in this brutally competitive world.
The world is getting smaller due to technology and better international economic cooperation. Great colleges still aren't admitting more students despite population growth and their alleged desire to educate the world. Finding a satisfying job that pays well has become harder. And my kids are not from a minority group America chooses to fight for.
As a result, I feel a great responsibility to try and educate my children as much as possible before they get rejected everywhere.
My three-pronged plan to help my children includes:
Step #1: Providing supplemental homeschooling in English, Mandarin, math, science, writing, speaking, entrepreneurship, marketing, investing, real estate, stocks, and overall personal finance.
Step #2: Maintaining a small business to provide real-time, real-world education until they leave home. The small business also acts as career insurance just in case they can't get jobs that pay enough to support themselves.
Step #3: Build a rental property portfolio so they can learn about real estate, manage the portfolio if they need work, and have a place to stay if they can't get a job that pays enough.
Don't Have The Luxury To Trust The System
Thankfully, as an older parent who is financially independent, I can spend more time with my children. We don't have the luxury to trust the system because I've observed its failings since 1999. It’s better to depend on yourself if you can.
Executing step 1 should be no problem because I went to college, got my MBA, have time, and enjoy teaching and coaching. In a different life, I would have been a high school teacher or college professor.
Having operated Financial Samurai since 2009, it will be fun educating my children about the online business world. My children give me the motivation to keep Financial Samurai going until at least 2042 when my youngest graduates from college.
Finally, over the next 20 years, I may add one more property to our existing rental property portfolio. As things break and need to be fixed, I will make lemonade by teaching my kids what to do. And when there is tenant turnover, I will educate my kids about lease agreements and what to look for in new tenants.
If you want to have more purpose in early retirement, have children! They will take up all your energy, but also give you more motivation than you ever thought possible.
Sure, the main part of parenting is mostly done after 20 years. But it sure would be nice if quiet quitting could grow large enough to help reduce parental worry.
Two Main Ways To Get Ahead
The first way to get ahead is to work harder than most people. Eventually, you hope your results will bring you the rewards you deserve. Going the first path is for someone who strongly believes in meritocracy. Unfortunately, as we all know, the best don't always rise to the top due to nepotism, favoritism, bad luck, and systemic issues.
The second way to get ahead is to convince other people to try less hard than you. Encouraging a movement for quiet quitters who do the minimum on the job relieves the stress of the average worker.
For example, maybe the average worker works 8.5 hours a day when they are only required to work 8. They feel bad because they know they can do much more. But if more colleagues start checking out after 8 hours, then the average person will now outperform without having to change their ways!
The main reason why so many of us experience burnout is that there is this ever-increasing desire for corporations to sell more widgets. In a capitalistic society, being satisfied with what we have is not the way! We want more money, money, money!
Capitalism is great for achieving improvements in technology, safety, health, food, and education. However, there comes a point when enough is enough. The quest for better, bigger, and faster results in more overworked and unhappy people. It's no wonder there's an employee disengagement trend to work less.
Besides feeling permanently on-call, other reasons for burnout include feeling like your work has no impact and you don't believe in the company's mission. When your boss is being condescending while making multiple millions, it’s natural to feel down and out. The good thing is, all three reasons for burnout can be eliminated with action.
We can set boundaries between work and play with quiet quitting. We can take on new roles to make a bigger impact at work. Finally, we can join companies that have missions congruent to our own values. If we find our Ikigai, we minimize burnout.
Quiet Quitting Is Self-Care
By lowering the bar with quiet quitting, students and workers will be less stressed. With less constant intense stress comes better mental health. Heck, forget about lowering the bar, how about just keeping the bar stationary?
The pandemic boosted the stress of millions. It also made more of us question our work. Do we really want to be optimizing ads online, marketing sugary drinks to obese kids, creating the next addictive cigarette, and keeping egomaniacs in power just for money?
Maybe! But many have decided to rethink their professions and the constant grind required. Making $400,000+ a year sounds nice. But at what cost? Quiet quitting enables workers to feel less guilty about putting themselves first, ahead of their work.
Classic examples of worker guilt include feeling bad about taking all your vacation days off a year or taking all your parental leave after having a baby. When competition is cutthroat due to a win-at-all-cost work culture, it can be hard to take all your work benefits.
Video Of Someone Quiet Quitting
Below is a sensationalized example of how quiet quitting at LinkedIn is making workers happier. You can do the minimum and have a great time socializing with colleagues and friends. Free vegan panna cotta baby!
LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft in 2016, so the pressure to hustle is no longer there. Strategically, you may want to join other large companies that pay really well and utilize only a small amount of your skills. Usually, the larger the organization the easier it is to just punch the clock because there is more bloat.
You may not strongly believe in your company's mission or the impact you have. However, at least you'll more easily be able to set boundaries and work on your side hustles, your next great book, or spend more time with family and friends.
Parents Will Feel Less Stressed With Quiet Quitting As Well
One of the most stressed out demographics is the working parent. If quiet quitting emerges as a permanent movement, working parents may benefit the most.
No longer will parents have to worry about their children not getting straight A's. Get a B in a subject your kid doesn't like? No need for a whipping!
No longer will kids have to pursue endless extracurricular activities to the point where they fall asleep in class. The need to cure cancer as a teenager is gone!
After school tutors, expensive music and sports lessons, bribing college officials, and more all go away. All the money thus saved can now go more towards a parent's retirement.
In addition, thanks to quiet quitting, parents won't feel a need to spend a fortune on college or college at all. The reason why colleges, especially elite private colleges, are winning is because they know many parents are willing to pay anything for their children's education.
But if you read Buy This, Not That, you will hopefully see through the absurdity of paying any amount for college. Instead, the chapter on education provides a framework of how much you should feel comfortably spending based on your household income.
Finally, if quiet quitting grows, maybe jobs will become easier to land if you can demonstrate you're willing to put just 10% more effort in than the average person.
Hard To Risk Being A Quiet Quitter Just Yet
The problem with becoming a quiet quitter is that you put yourself at risk. The vast majority of people are still willing to work beyond the minimum to try and get ahead.
Therefore, unless you clearly see most of your colleagues not working past 5 pm and not responding to emails on the weekends, you might be sabotaging your career if you do the minimum.
Once you're labeled as a slacker or someone who just does the minimum, you're booted off the fast track for good. The only way to get back on the fast track is to join a new firm.
The key is to work less for your well-being, but not as less as the majority of quiet quitters. This requires great awareness.
Your Work Ethic Is Rational, So Do What You Want
The main reason why I did more than the minimum was because I knew I couldn't last working a day job until I was 60. Getting in at 5:30 am and leaving past 7 pm was just too painful. Further, client demands often felt overwhelming.
Therefore, I logically worked the maximum number of hours I could bear while trying to get paid and promoted quicker. I figured, if I averaged 65 hours a week for 20 years, that would be like a 40-hour-a-week person working for 33 years.
I was UNLUCKY not to have landed a low-stress 9-to-5 job that enabled workers to quiet quit for 40 years. At the same time, I was also LUCKY to have gotten a job that had a strong correlation with performance and reward.
As a result, by shunning the quiet quitting movement in my 20s and 30s, I was able to break free from corporate for good at a relatively young age. However, I then encountered plenty of negatives of early retirement which nobody talks about. They can take time and energy to sort themselves out.
Being able to work for decades at a low-stress job that provides purpose and financial security also sounds pretty good. I just wasn't able to find that until I created my own ideal job at Financial Samurai.
In the end, feel free to work as much or as little as you want! So long as you are satisfied with the results of your actions, that's all that matters.
Negotiate A Severance If You Plan To Quit Your Job
A severance provides you a wonderful financial cushion so you can relax before deciding on your next adventure. If you quit your job, you get no severance and usually disqualify yourself from receiving unemployment benefits.
I negotiated a severance that provided for five years of normal living expenses. As a result, I was able to travel the world and build Financial Samurai on my terms.
If you are going to quit your job any way, you might as well try and create a win-win scenario! Check out my severance negotiation book, How To Engineer Your Layoff, that teaches you how. Use the code “saveten” at checkout to save $10.
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