Chicago Tribune (Sunday)

A quick look at the origins and outcomes of the trendy term

- – Marco Buscaglia

First things first: The term “quiet quitting” was originally coined at a 2009 economics symposium at Texas A&M by economist Mark Boldger.

Chinese workers had enough: Tang ping, translated as “lying flat,” was a reaction from younger workers to China’s culture of extended work hours with fewer employees and the basis for the recent expansion of “quiet quitting.” Chinese employees felt trapped in jobs that required extra hours without any compensati­on. They also felt like they were burned out because of work and that their mental health was suffering. The term was coupled with “quiet quitting” soon after a post on Chinese social media. “Lying flat is my wise movement. Only by lying down can humans become the measure of all things,” wrote a user on discussion forum Tieba. The post has since been deleted and the hashtag #tangping is now censored in China.

Thanks, TikTok: “Quiet quitting” exploded onto the pop culture scene this year after TikToker Zkchillin suggested quiet quitting your job instead of actually quitting. “You’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond … You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribin­g to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life. … The reality is it’s not. And your worth as a person is not defined by your labour.”

How to quiet quit: Interested in quiet quitting your job? You may already be doing it, since the practice involves the following:

● Working your shift or assigned hours and nothing more

● Saying no to assignment­s or projects that will take extra time but won’t result in additional compensati­on.

● Not working during the evening, on holidays or on vacation

● Actually taking sick days when you’re sick

● Ignoring calls from work when you’re not at work

● Putting your family and friends before your job when you’re not at the workplace

● Not getting too emotionall­y attached to your job

Unanswered calls: To help workers avoid burnout, a French law requires businesses with 50 or more employees to negotiate after-hours email rules with their workers, allowing them to ignore late-night work requests. France also has a legally-mandated 35-hour work week and strictly regulated labor standards.

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