The Quitter’s Quest

A Quiet Movement that’s a Long Time Coming

Ry Forsythe (they/them) // Contributor
Laura Morales Padilla // Illustrator

There is always a desire to quit. It gets ignored day in and day out since, to make decent money, people must hustle in order to survive under capitalism. Doing so leads to many crashing and burning from overworking themselves to help the people higher on the corporate bureaucratic ladder. After all, shouldn’t people put on their fake smiles and be grateful for the money and opportunities they get from working so much within and outside of their workday at the expense of their mental health? The answer is no. Instead, people should take on a quitter’s quest to not only help themselves, but also make the rich quake in their plush Gucci seats. 

It is important to know that “self-care” is a privileged practice for those able to afford it, and not just the prices of products or a good therapist. For instance, someone who works in two jobs directly with vulnerable youth while going to university may not have time to have a bath, go to the gym or do their hobbies when they get home. If they’re lucky, they may have time to watch YouTube, if they aren’t too tired and haven’t had to make a hard call that day. However, should they be able to at least do the bare minimum for work, there might be a chance they’ll have enough energy even to think about how they’ll spend their evening.

The concept of “quiet quitting” is basically doing a job without the mental anguish. This can look like doing the bare minimum within a five hour work day, not taking work home and not thinking about the job when you aren’t supposed to be working. Doing so, ideally, will allow folks to turn off and take care of themselves rather than overwork themselves into the ground, burn out and need to take time off just to recharge a little before going back to work to catch up on what piled up while they’re gone. 

However, some may look at this as an excuse to be “lazy” or give a new name to “slacking off”. Usually those who are frustrated by this internet trend are those who are resting higher on the workplace ladder (managers, CEOs) who are having to do more work or can afford therapy. That being said, they can’t do much other than go “tut-tut” unless they want to be short staffed and end up with more work on their plate.

“Quiet quitting” is essentially a new, trendier way of saying “self care” for people that are just trying to make it through the day. This isn’t to say people who take on quietly quitting for the day don’t care about their job, it just means they are able to do what they can to recharge instead of crashing and burning in the ways capitalism encourages us to do. Hustle culture is toxic when people can’t take a moment to breathe, rest, and recharge the battery before taking on too much. Capitalism normalizes working to the bone in order to make a profit.

All that being said, it is worth noting not everyone can join this trend. Since that’s the case, it should be noted that “quiet quitting” isn’t the answer for every profession. Perhaps it looks different if you’re a nurse, or a doctor. Perhaps more needs to be done by people in power in order to ensure staff don’t bring work home, even if that doesn’t look like closing a laptop. Perhaps people need to quit in other ways in order to save themselves, and those decisions should be respected as change is made to support the next person that fills the role and avoid a repeat.

As 2022 comes to a close, humans are moving past buying pillows with inspirational quotes and instead are sticking it to the system that promotes hustling until you’re burnt out. More folks are recognizing that a job is only one part of your day, week, month and year. Life goes by before we know it, and though we’d like to say slow down – not everyone can afford to. Even if it is only for a few minutes, or seconds, take a breath, quietly quit for the day and treat yourself in ways your job never can. It is easier said than done, but it never hurts to try and start small, quietly.

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