A Wakeup Call for ‘Quiet Quitters’

Quiet quitting became a trend after lockdown, but it is time for this trend to stop and rather change to trying to be the best at your job.

Workplace trends in recent years have been dominated by phrases like quiet quitting and ‘acting your wage’, which involves doing the bare minimum, or simply sticking to exactly what your employment contract requires.

But, could it be time to consider career cushioning to weather any uncertainties that could affect your job.

It is clear that 2023 is rapidly shaping up to become another year of challenges locally and globally. Some international trends often replicate themselves in South Africa, mixed in with unique challenges of our own.

“While last year saw a great deal of ‘quiet quitting’ as businesses returned to the office, the approach of ‘doing the bare minimum’ is going to be a losing strategy in the face of the combination of complexities businesses will have to address in coming months,” Advaita Naidoo, Africa MD at Jack Hammer Global, says.

The signs are clear that employees now need to take action to ensure that they remain visible and valuable in their companies.

South African companies will have to contend with the challenges posed by the global economic outlook, as well as the opportunities brought by the rapid rise in new technologies, in particular the rise of AI and the potential of chatbots such as ChatGPT to take over functions previously reserved for humans, she says.

“In South Africa, companies also have to consider the challenges of ongoing load shedding for at least the next two years which will without a doubt affect companies’ bottom lines. All of these and other factors combined can feel quite ominous for people concerned about job security, which is why now is the time to look towards career cushioning.”

Career cushioning essentially means putting measures in place to ensure you are as well positioned as possible to weather incoming uncertainties so that you will remain relevant within your company and alternatively, to have a safety net or a Plan B in the wings.

“The message for this year is that you must bring your all to your work, because cruise control is no longer going to cut it. You are competing against others in the workforce, you are competing against local and global economic realities, you have to contend with infrastructure challenges courtesy of Eskom and you now also have to consider whether your livelihood is at risk from AI.”

What does this, given all these factors, combined with the reality that companies will continue to rely on exceptional human talent and leadership, mean for us now? Naidoo says it means that you have to step up and stand out, bringing your unique human contribution to the fore.

She says it is time to understand your contribution, what you are really good at and how you add value.

“Speak to your manager to determine where else you can be of service to the organisation. Some of your old skills may no longer be relevant, but instead of waiting to be told what to do, expand your area of influence and contribution as widely as possible from your existing position.”

This will have the dual benefits of making your contribution more valuable, as well as making you more visible.

Original article published in The Citizen.


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