In The Community
“Quiet quitting” is everywhere, but what does it mean exactly?
In a country where capitalism has gone almost entirely rogue, many might struggle with the concept of not putting their best foot forward at work. Americans have been so conditioned to work without rest, low wages, and decent work benefits that the idea of not centering work in their lives may seem oddly foreign. Enter “quiet quitting,” the workplace trend many professionals are now embracing in lieu of letting work control their entire lives.
“Quiet quitting” is based on the concept of not necessarily actually quitting your job, but instead toning down the importance of it in your life by simply not working as hard while clocked in. Many people explain that they used to burn themselves out in favor of producing their very best results at work, and often went unpaid for their extra efforts. Now many of those same workers are shifting instead to a more relaxed approach of practicing the bare minimum required to get their jobs done.
They are bidding adieu to late nights, answering emails outside of work hours, and stressing about work. Their quiet quitting has allowed them to reclaim their lives outside of work, bringing them more balance overall.
The term itself is new, but as with every new workforce term (“The Great Resignation” is another popular one) comes the question of where it came from and what inspired it. “Quiet quitting” is making it acceptable for workers to essentially unclench the tight hold their jobs have on them, but it’s also just putting a cute name to the concept of enforcing boundaries with employers who take advantage of their workers.
\u201cThey tried so hard with putting a name to Quiet Quitting \ud83e\udd23. The very concept of people setting boundaries and not putting up with wage theft anymore is SO terrifying to the American employer that they had to put a marketing team behind it.\u201d— Jon Kung (@Jon Kung) 1661165577
While it’s important (and often within legal requirements) to set healthy work boundaries, it’s noteworthy that many of these workplace trends are coming as a result of abusive employer practices. Many workers have encountered bosses looking to continuously expand their duties without any kind of compensation or salary increase, and inflexibility and a lack of upward mobility that has inspired the “great resignation” that has now been rebranded as “the great re-shuffle.” As quiet quitting explains, instead of quitting their jobs, many are simply deprioritizing their jobs entirely.
The term is cute, but what “quiet quitting” signifies is that employers have always benefitted from exploiting their employees as much as they can, and this new approach is sure to hit them where it hurts. With star performers lowering their output, the cultural shift of placing less importance on your job and more on yourself is sure to be felt. So while “quiet quitting” defines that approach, what it really means without the negative connotation mass media is ascribing to it is that it’s possible to have a great career with fair compensation, and anything less doesn’t deserve your best.
Whatever the path that workers continue to take, one thing’s for sure - this generation of workers isn’t here to play.
If you’re either of these people, you might have heard of the anti-work movement. Anti-work is changing the relationship many people have with their jobs by redefining the concept (and necessity) of work.
Anti-work is a labor movement focused on people being treated like humans rather than just labor robots, and embracing ideals that place their priorities on being fulfilled outside of just getting a paycheck. The pandemic brought this concept to light for millions of people for the first time.
While some of us aspire to have fulfilling careers, these careers can often be fraught with everything from combating overwork in a world that wants you to be a “girlboss” to imposter syndrome. After all, in a world where women have only recenlty been allowed to meaningfully contribute in the work economy, it seems foreign to trade that to deprioritize working. However, the anti-work movement promotes reclaiming your time and labor for yourself vs giving it to an employer that won’t even appreciate your efforts, the main reason why it is so popular in the first place.
The platform for anti-work is mostly an online movement, most prominently represented by the subreddit r/antiwork. The now-popular community was hovering around 100k people in a pre-pandemic world only to balloon to a present-day presence of 2.1 million people.
While r/antiwork is serving as a big platform for the movement, it’s important to note that it’s not without its chaos. Originally a lesser-known concept, anti-work has been a source of controversy with who has been chosen to represent (or misrepresent, depending on who you ask) the community to mainstream media, making it a sore topic for those who have adopted its ideals over the years.
Defined in its community description as “A subreddit for those who want to end work, are curious about ending work, want to get the most out of a work-free life, want more information on anti-work ideas and want personal help with their own jobs/work-related struggles,” r/anti-work is actually filled with everything from stories of workers fighting back against abusive employers to some telling their resignation stories with glee.
Though the community aims to meet its ultimate goal of “unemployment for all, not just the rich,” it’s a decent resource for those new to the concept of working to live vs living to work. Like with all things on the internet though, it’s always good to balance these concepts being presented by strangers on an online platform with parts of the movement that benefit you as an individual. Using this concept to refine your relationship with work to make you your best self is the goal here.
Anti-work is also gaining traction outside of the internet, primarily in redefining the conversation about how people approach work. With companies struggling to maintain employee retention without giving in to more equitable approaches to work like offering everything from better benefits to hybrid/remote work schedules that didn’t exist before the pandemic, we’re seeing a shift in workers owning their value to employers. While this can’t be only attributed to anti-work, the conversations certainly carry a lot of value to those in the movement, and the effects of these concepts are being seen in places that may not even know the movement itself exists.
So next time you’re thinking about your next career move, consider how your job impacts your life and make adjustments to ensure that it is making you the best version of yourself possible. While most have to work and maintain careers to satisfy the material needs in our lives, there’s no harm in letting work be a necessary evil vs it being the focal point of your life. That's what the anti-work movement has managed to bring to the table.
Sure, your curated landscapes might slow down some scrolling on Instagram, but can you say you’ve traveled if you come back clueless about the cultura?
Cultural tourism digs deeper than sightseeing, it’s learning about a place’s culture and growing as a person. For your next trip, try building your itinerary with meaningful activities, you’ll find it helps keep the traditions and heritages of places alive.
These locations top the list for vacationing with culture in mind.
Photo via Ricardo Gomez Angel
Antioquia Department, Colombia
The Antioquia Department of Colombia has a great mix of everything to do in the country. Departments in Colombia are similar to States in the U.S. in that they are considered subdivisions and have a certain amount of autonomy from the national government. Medellín is one of Colombia’s more well-known major cities located within the Antioquia Department that delivers local Colombian culture and experiences including learning about life as a Paisa, or countryman. Farming culture, small villages, and great exposure to indigenous culture make this area a must on your to-list.
Photo via Alexander Kunze
Cuba is well known for its rich culture. From lively salsa dancing to incredible natural scenery, Cuba is a gorgeous and complicated country. The small Caribbean island is also known to be frozen in time due to various political embargos it’s lived under for decades. Without getting into the politics of it all, the focus here is on the richness of the people.
Travel to Cuba for tourist activities is still prohibited, but the U.S. Treasury Department has issued general licenses for 12 categories of travel and those categories are relatively broad. So if you find yourself eligible under one of these categories, Cuba is a cultural traveler’s dream. Dance the night away in a local spot, take in the colorful classic cars dotting the streets, and walk along the Malecon, a popular spot for fishermen. But most importantly, listen to and talk with as many Cubans as you can - there are always multiple sides to every story.
The Streets of Oaxaca de Juárez, OaxacaPhoto via Alice Kotlyarenko
Oaxaca de Juárez in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, makes the list as one of the most culturally rich destinations to visit in Mexico. With a historical center dubbed a World Heritage Site, museums line the streets of this cultural center, giving you plenty of places to add to your itinerary. The Mezcal game is strong here. You can visit mezcalerías to learn more about the process of making the beloved spirit, then continue the lesson with the street markets. Don’t forget to take a city walking tour hosted by the locals and learn about its rich feminist and revolutionary history. You will not run out of things to learn in this stunning city.
Aerial view of Machu PicchuPhoto via Eddie Kiszka
Machu Picchu, Peru
Known as the Lost City of Incas, Machu Picchu is a much-loved World Heritage Site of Peru. While this spot has definitely been “trendy” for quite a while, it makes the list because it does double duty as a top destination by exploring the site and taking in the rich culture and history from the locals. There isn’t a way to get to the location without the assistance of local guides so you really have to dive into the local experience by striking up as many conversations as possible while you’re on the journey.
The journey to the City is certainly a bit complicated with the easiest way consisting of a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (a mere 3.5 hours each way), but it’s certainly worth working out the logistics. Many also choose to hike to the much-beloved spot, where you will be rewarded with a breathtaking look back into the lives and culture of the indigenous empire that was the largest in pre-Columbus America.
View of Iguazu Falls from Foz de Iguazu, BrazilPhoto via Jade Marchand
Iguazu Falls, Argentina, and Brazil
Located on the border between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls is a must-visit to take in one of the most breathtaking natural sites in South America. With over 275 individual cascades, the Falls make up the Iguazu National Park which accounts for two parks in both countries: Argentina’s Puerto Iguazu and Brazil’s Foz de Iguazú. Designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984, the parks account for a massive amount of conservation work to preserve natural flora and fauna. Every person who visits learns about conservation practices and is expected to be respectful of all the measures taken to preserve the delicate ecosystem.