The Backlash Against Quiet Quitting Is Getting Loud
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The Backlash Against Quiet Quitting Is Getting Loud

By Kathryn Dill
Fri, Aug 26, 2022 9:07amGrey Clock 3 min

People have serious opinions about not taking your job too seriously.

The viral term “quiet quitting” isn’t really about quitting, nor is there anything quiet about the debate it has unleashed about careers and coasting this summer. What started as a quiet movement among office workers looking to draw firmer work-life boundaries after two years of pandemic overtime has grown into a rallying cry.

Of course, every generation of workers has had its anti-work philosophies and many managers and striving colleagues have always taken issue with them. Cue the quiet-quitting backlash: The concept has sparked a flood of vehement commentary from business leaders, career coaches and other professionals lamenting what the shift away from hustle culture means for Americans’ commitment to their jobs, while some young professionals are praising it.

“Quiet quitting isn’t just about quitting on a job, it’s a step toward quitting on life,” wrote Arianna Huffington, founder of health and wellness startup Thrive Global, in a LinkedIn post that has garnered thousands of reactions. Kevin O’Leary, co-star on ABC’s “Shark Tank” and chairman of O’Shares ETFs, called quiet quitting a horrible approach to building a career: “You have to go beyond because you want to. That’s how you achieve success,” he said in a CNBC video essay.

How quiet quitting’s advocates and critics react depends on what they think the phrase means—and interpretations vary wildly. Some professionals argue the concept is saying no to extra work without extra pay and work stress, not necessarily phoning it in. Many detractors say the quiet quitting mind-set fosters laziness and hurts performance, even if baseline job expectations are being met.

Quiet quitters may think they’re preventing or curing burnout by doing less work, but better options exist, Ms. Huffington said in an interview. Coasting through your career instead of finding truly engaging work is a missed opportunity, especially when you could find more meaningful work in today’s hot job market, she added.

“As an employer, I really love when people in interviews say, ‘I give 100% when I’m working, and these are my boundaries.’ That’s very different from, ‘I do the bare minimum to get by,’” she said.

While some bosses push back against quiet quitting, saying that going above and beyond is the best way to get noticed, get raises and climb the corporate ladder, many workers are heaping scorn on the term itself, calling out the irony of doing a 9-to-5 job and calling it quitting.

Kristin Hancock, an Indianapolis-based communications professional, said that for her quiet quitting is a futile pursuit. There have been times in her career when she was dissatisfied with a job and wanted to coast, but she found herself unable to do so. Doing less felt frustrating and made her work feel even less meaningful.

“For people who are like me, the only other option is leaving,” she said. Ms. Hancock now runs a communications startup and is her own boss, a setup that she says allows her to reap the full rewards of her work.

Others say those who embrace quiet quitting could be selling themselves short. What some quiet quitters call doing the bare minimum actually means giving full-attention to their work, then having a life outside work hours, says Brian Gray, who works in web development.

After receiving a “meets expectations” score on a performance review at a past job—at which he regularly accepted last-minute requests to stay late at work and offered to take on extra tasks—Mr. Gray says he decided to stop chasing validation from his bosses by going above and beyond.

“You’re not coasting,” he said. “You are doing precisely the right amount of work.”

Who has the political leverage in the office to quietly quit is also up for debate. Mercedes Swan, a human resources manager and career coach, says the strategy may not work for a lot of people of colour. Because of negative stereotypes, Black women especially could experience backlash if they decide to step back or set firmer boundaries.

“It’s going to look like we’re doing less work over time when, actually, we are just performing at a level that everyone else typically is,” she said, adding that from a performance standpoint, people of colour can also experience stronger penalties.

Some critics say they fear quiet quitting is corrosive to workplace cultures—and the bottom line—because it’s demoralising to efficient workers to see others phoning it in without penalty.

“It’s not about the quiet quitters. It’s about everybody else and the unfairness that occurs there,” said Amy Mosher, chief people officer at human resources software company isolved. If quiet quitting leads to performance issues, she said, those workers should be let go to find jobs that truly engage them.

Jay McDonald, an Atlanta-based executive coach and former CEO of several small companies, says the onus is on business leaders to set clear performance expectations. If employees are meeting them, that’s what matters, not when or how long they work, he says.

“You have a responsibility to have good metrics and measurements for knowing whether somebody’s getting the job done or not,” he says.



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Should AI Have Access to Your Medical Records? What if It Can Save Many Lives?

We asked readers: Is it worth giving up some potential privacy if the public benefit could be great? Here’s what they said.

By DEMETRIA GALLEGOS
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We’re constantly told that one of the potentially biggest benefits of artificial intelligence is in the area of health. By collecting large amounts of data, AI can create all sorts of drugs for diseases that have been resistant to treatment.

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AI may be able to discover new medical treatments if it can scan large volumes of health records. Should our personal health records be made available for this purpose, if it has the potential to improve or save millions of lives? How would we guard privacy in that case?

…and some of the answers we received. undefined

Rely on nonpartisan overseers

While my own recent experience with a data breach highlights the importance of robust data security, I recognise the potential for AI to revolutionise healthcare. To ensure privacy, I would be more comfortable if an independent, nonpartisan body—overseen by medical professionals, data-security experts, and citizen representatives—managed a secure database.

Anonymity cuts both ways

Yes. Simply sanitise the health records of any identifying information, which is quite doable. Although there is an argument to be made that AI may discover something that an individual needs or wants to know.

Executive-level oversight

I think we can make AI scanning of health records available with strict privacy controls. Create an AI-CEO position at medical facilities with extreme vetting of that individual before hiring them.

Well worth it

This actually sounds like a very GOOD use of AI. There are several methods for anonymising data which would allow for studies over massive cross-sections of the population without compromising individuals’ privacy. The AI would just be doing the same things meta-studies do now, only faster and maybe better.

Human touch

My concern is that the next generations of doctors will rely more heavily, maybe exclusively, on AI and lose the ability or even the desire to respect the art of medicine which demands one-on-one interaction with a patient for discussion and examination (already a dying skill).

Postmortem

People should be able to sign over rights to their complete “anonymised” health record upon death just as they can sign over rights to their organs. Waiting for death for such access does temporarily slow down the pace of such research, but ultimately will make the research better. Data sets will be more complete, too. Before signing over such rights, however, a person would have to be fully informed on how their relatives’ privacy may also be affected.

Pay me or make it free for all

As long as this is open-source and free, they can use my records. I have a problem with people using my data to make a profit without compensation.

Privacy above all

As a free society, we value freedoms and privacy, often over greater utilitarian benefits that could come. AI does not get any greater right to infringe on that liberty than anything else does.

Opt-in only

You should be able to opt in and choose a plan that protects your privacy.

Privacy doesn’t exist anyway

If it is decided to extend human lives indefinitely, then by all means, scan all health records. As for privacy, there is no such thing. All databases, once established, will eventually, if not immediately, be accessed or hacked by both the good and bad guys.

The data’s already out there

I think it should be made available. We already sign our rights for information over to large insurance companies. Making health records in the aggregate available for helping AI spot potential ways to improve medical care makes sense to me.

Overarching benefit

Of course they should be made available. Privacy is no serious concern when the benefits are so huge for so many.

Compensation for breakthroughs

We should be given the choice to release our records and compensated if our particular genome creates a pathway to treatment and medications.

Too risky

I like the idea of improving healthcare by accessing health records. However, as great as that potential is, the risks outweigh it. Access to the information would not be controlled. Too many would see personal opportunity in it for personal gain.

Nothing personal

The personal info should never be available to anyone who is not specifically authorised by the patient to have it. Medical information can be used to deny people employment or licenses!

No guarantee, but go ahead

This should be allowed on an anonymous basis, without question. But how to provide that anonymity?

Anonymously isolating the information is probably easy, but that information probably contains enough information to identify you if someone had access to the data and was strongly motivated. So the answer lies in restricting access to the raw data to trusted individuals.

Take my records, please

As a person with multiple medical conditions taking 28 medications a day, I highly endorse the use of my records. It is an area where I have found AI particularly valuable. With no medical educational background, I find it very helpful when AI describes in layman’s terms both my conditions and medications. In one instance, while interpreting a CT scan, AI noted a growth on my kidney that looked suspiciously like cancer and had not been disclosed to me by any of the four doctors examining the chart.

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