Greetings members and readers,
I had the good fortune to recently read an article by Cal Newport who is apparently associated with The New Yorker and it has spurred me to attempt to elaborate on the topic of WORK. The trend to “Quiet Quitting” in his article gave me pause (the gen z practice of doing a bare minimum just to get by at work with no commitment at all). It is more than walking quickly to the hall water fountain or briskly picking up your pace when you pass a supervisor’s hallway door.
It involves premeditated slacking at work, where one does not feel commitment to job excellence or a responsibility to the company, thus no stress. This weird effort to self sabotage, collaborated and discussed with thousands on Tik Tok, is thought to be about finding a work/life balance but is it? Maybe the word responsibility is more in play. Some folks these days just do not want to feel responsibility for anything, not even themselves.
If one does not have the guts to eventually quit an unhappy workplace and move on, we are already talking about some serious personal challenges which includes the notion of entitlement, an ineptitude for introspective response with a dash of socially accepted dishonesty cum laziness.
All generations have been challenged with this endeavor toward work/life balance but generational motives and expectations are always different. The challenge is the same, but circumstances are different, expectations are different and due to credit spending, elevating life styles are vastly different. Moreover, the priorities of any one generation are often co-mingled with previous generational conclusions.
I.E. Baby Boomers were confronted with post war fatigue and adjusting to the results of a recently won world war, where now, for combatants and their offspring, work was a privilege to earn, rebuild and prosper in a world devoid of bombs, bullets and ultimate sacrifices. A new world order was at hand and previous social taboos were tanked.
Women now had several years experience of towing a load, knowing the pleasures and pitfalls of work, and that work was once again about individual opportunity, instead of an all out effort for the survival of the whole.
Obviously, to work and contribute dollars to the family effort, there simply could be no social stigma attached, for they had seen us through tough times contributing mightily to the needs of our service men in the greatest example of production and logistics in the history of mankind. Successful, timely production and getting that product on site was the reason we won that war, period. These facts should be taught and not forgotten.
For those involved, working a 12 hour day was no big deal simply because during their work day, they were not being bombed, shot at, maimed, drowned or sweating to death with hunger and disease as work obstacles, now absent from their day… “It could not get much better than that”, was the mindset. And so the boomers were taught that same work ethic using that same analogy until one day in the very late 60’s someone began to question that lifestyle. The Hippies probably are a great example of large numbers tired of conformity, choosing to become rebellious non-conformists, and soon, it seemed, the young had suddenly conformed to non-conformity. The word conformity seems to lose it power, doesn’t it.
At some point, ex-combatants’ offspring figured out that a side suggestion to their offspring (the millennials) that might help them understand and soften the ever consistent idea that work is necessary ( a command offered to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden) — was suggested: That suggestion was to choose your vocation based upon that which you enjoy. That is a no brainer with caveats.
But moving one’s hobby from fun and escape to work for profit, may ruin you hobby. If you love boating, spending your time working on boats is not necessarily furthering the opportunity to enjoy YOUR boat. You may sacrifice time on your boat making sure that all others get to go out on the water first, and you don’t or worse, when you finally get time to enjoy your boat, the last thing on your mind is the sorting out of a “laid up” boat. Sort of like a bus driver’s holiday on a bus. Sort of like, “the cobblers children have no shoes”. Not always true but it can be and often is. I do not want to press my hobby toward a vocation because something is lost in that morph for me.
Whether you are a boomer and retired or soon giving it up, a millennial, or from Gen Z, one theme is consistent and that is a need to work.
Now! Do you work to live or live to work? A balance is desirable and that is about trade offs. But “Quiet Quitting is not about a work life balance, it is just short of stealing a paycheck. One can not be half pregnant nor can one be successfully half engaged in competitive work. It is just one more lame gyration found on the likes of Tik Tok to avoid feeling a responsibility for anything. The act of Quietly Quitting insures only mediocrity at best or another exercise in resume’ writing.
There is no question that the corporate endeavor is not for me — the stats to real success are deplorable, but then that is based upon one’s interpretation of success. A steady pay check, insurance, a 401 K and vacation time is construed as success for some that generally want or need structure. And that all works, for everyone can not be a CEO nor do they want to be.
Self employment is often an abyss of hours spent to compete where more hours are required to do paperwork than for actually turning production to profit. So if you want to smell the roses and you chose to work for yourself, you might want to buy a rose bush. At least, you call the shots on a work/life result and can smell the roses along the way.
Living in your Dad’s basement is a good thing for a time, if he has a basement and if you are welcome.
Many cultures practice that home is the heartbeat and center of all things. Latin families and Oriental families live together respectively, all contributing to the whole in one dwelling and that action is considered a necessity to refuse indebtedness, prepare for self employment or to use that time to become specialized thru education. How many examples can we uncover where an oriental family lived together for decades and 20 years later, overnight, they own 4 rental properties, 3 restaurants and two siblings are graduating from the likes of Harvard or Yale or probably MIT.
I know of many Latin families that have done the same thing and 15 years later they own their own plumbing business, 5 rental houses back in their homeland and a home in the states only to split their time in New York or in Costa Rica.
It is all about work and a plan! Credit spending or gaining approval from misguided keyboard pals on Tik Tok will not afford you or sustain the boat that you desire, the vacation that you want, the golf game gone well, or the peace of mind of minimal credit card debt or mortgage debt.
In business, employees always want and need an “Atta Boy” and consumers want an interpersonal relationship with their buddy that they do business with. There is something about warmth, respect and trust that is largely lost on the various medias. We must begin to discern that much is missing in our lives due to the use of an impersonal keyboard and unidentified “friends” on the internet.
At light speed, there is way too much chatter, complaining, attention seeking, conforming and bull shit to determine the validity of so much thrown at us at one time.
As previously stated in many writings, not necessarily mine, there is much lacking in our work life because we have forgotten that which lowers our blood pressure, measures our week, and provides closure of the good and the bad of the moment.
They are, real friends, not imagined, family, a warm phone call, not a text, the sharing of nourishment with people, not a phone, a Sunday church service with God or walk in the country. You will not find these warm satisfactions on the internet because the only needs satisfied on the internet generally are those needs required by the countries, governments, internet providers and censorship as dictated, respectively.
Tik Toc, a Chinese company, wants all of us to believe that we are miserable and unhappy with the pleasures to be earned thru individual work because they want dumbed down, dependent, discontented followers, which fits right in with their idea of the unencumbered governing of dependent sheep. Our internet providers want us to experience frantic anxiety to gain as much user participation that possibly can be achieved, which produces for them, giant audiences and huge commercial income. Neither is about us, our cares or our quality.
Work is inevitable, it is prescribed to us by God and offers much more than a paycheck. Things like self esteem, independence, pride, self worth and a Sabbath, a contented time to worship, rest and to reflect on accomplishments.
Who ever told us life, security and success was easy or fair? They are not.
Be aware: Work produces many necessary results and will earn us a permanent place in society with all due respect, love and self esteem.
Beware: The answers for the generations can not be found or refuted on an impersonal media in micro-seconds. It takes time, experience, participation and a plan.
Please note that this article is not meant to be a personal pontificating of challenges unknown to me. It is a sharing of my experiences in life and are my present day conclusions and continued remedies for all my previous errors and ways.
NOTE: The old ways of finding one’s way often included an apprenticeship or an internship or both. It might have been a better way. You knew where you were going, you received on the job training, you knew that it was going to take some time and you knew that with diligence, you would earn your own business. And when you did get there, you hired your own apprentice just when you might need him the most.