This article was originally published on .cult by Luis Minvielle. .cult is a Berlin-based community platform for developers. We write about all things career-related, make original documentaries, and share heaps of other untold developer stories from around the world.
Quiet quitting is a brand-new form of approaching the work-life balance. Contrary to what its name might suggest, quiet quitting doesn’t actually involve an official resignation from your job. It’s merely a transformation in how employees approach their work.
The catalyst behind this movement is simple yet powerful: a generalized, overwhelming desire deep inside the minds of the new wave of employees, predominantly those belonging to Gen Z, to find a counterweight to the long hours spent working at desks and computers, or in front of any other screen.
Gen Z employees are just now entering the workforce and facing the aftermath of the overridden, overworked traditions their predecessors, millennials, endured. These traditions are part of a more extensive belief system ingrained in a culture that values those who dedicate their lives to their job and neglect their personal lives, resulting in a generation of overworked, burdened, burned out, exhausted individuals.
The demand for work-life balance
So, this is where the transformation mentioned above, primarily centred in the tech industries, comes in. It’s essentially the product of going from ‘Above and beyond’ to ‘Acting your wage.’ Under this new model, the typical employee will no longer accept or tolerate excessive office hours and will take control of their lives by giving personal matters precedence over their work duties.
On the surface, this new idea (more and more favored by younger employees and more and more bewailed by corporate veterans) seems to respond to a cursory desire to work less. Still, quiet quitting is a more extensive, more powerful, and comprehensive response to a culture that has so far normalized burnout and exhaustion.
So, quiet quitting is a comforting choice, it’s a growing, forceful revolution changing how the corporate world approaches its relationship with employees and the workers’ mindset. Employers can no longer expect their employees to prioritize their jobs over their personal lives and families.
It’s not only cultural. Many European employment laws protect workers’ rights to have wiggle room. Even Elon Musk, who’s living through a revamped jack-of-all-trades phase, is having trouble firing (instead of laying off) European Twitter employees because of these laws, which prevent employers from contacting staffers outside working hours and also grants them due process before ousting them from their jobs.
Quiet quitting is a significant movement, but it also means you’re still maintaining a relationship with an employer who wields considerable power over you and consumes the precious time you’d rather use for, say, becoming a 10,000-hour developer. So, why not go for the genuinely liberating choice of just quitting? Considering of course all parameters that come with that decision.
Taking the leap
Even though quiet quitting took over headlines in 2022, actually quitting has silently (pun intended) become an HR darling. The term ‘Great Resignation’, as executives and consulting firms dubbed it, has also shaken the professional space during the past two years. During the Great Resignation, more and more professionals left their posts and repurposed their careers, giving a further spin to the concept of doing ‘what’s necessary and that’s it.’
Some professionals didn’t change career paths, but instead simply shifted how they interact with their jobs. A Stack Overflow survey observed that many developers veered from full-time arrangements to freelance, independent working systems, all while doing essentially the same, which is punching code in.
Even if these insights should come as motivation to someone struggling with the decision of leaving a job (in the sense of ‘if everyone’s doing it…’), they are not the only truths a struggling worker can leverage for motivation. While job insecurity and a global recession looming ominously can make people reconsider quitting, the market tells a different story.
The tech industry is in high demand for programmers: jobs and pay, as our salary reports detailed, are copious. Actually quitting your job to become a full-time programmer might seem like a scary feat, but, as our research tells us, it can be quickly rewarding, with a good bang-for-buck ratio.
The best part? You don’t need a college degree or years-long education to break into the job market. With a short-term bootcamp, you can make a decent start. As our deep dive into bootcamps revealed, in 2020, 79% of bootcamp attendees got a job 180 days after finishing their course.
Truly quitting and starting anew works
Due to the scarcity of job offers and the incredibly high demand for skilled programmers, combined with the many accessible options to learn how to program, getting a job in coding is a very attainable goal. As the insights of the Great Resignation uncover, it’s an increasingly popular choice.
A 2020 report on coding bootcamps by Course Report found that the average graduate had seven years of experience in an unrelated field, a college degree, and no prior experience as a programmer. Making this career-changing move might seem like a giant leap, but it allows you to liberate yourself from the constraints of the corporate world and start working on your terms.
Quitting your day job might be the most freeing choice you’ll ever make: you’ll have control over your schedule and larger authority over who you want to work for. And hey, you can be on the receiving end of a very competitive paycheck. So, while quiet quitting is definitely the more leisurely, most comforting choice, sometimes letting it all go and starting over under your conditions can be the more liberating choice.
We hope you have a better idea of what quitting might do for you. We absolutely don’t recommend doing it lightheartedly, it’s important to weigh all your choices and do what’s best for you. But hey, if you do make that decision, you can check out our article ‘How to tell your boss you’re quitting‘ to draw inspiration and ideas.