Everybody's talking about saying "no" to doing more at work, except people of color.
As long as I can remember, hustle culture has been a way of life. If you’ve got your eyes on a big raise or a corner office, doing the most is what gets you to the top and keeps you there. But apparently, there’s a whole movement of folks on TikTok who are not about that life.
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I gotta be honest. I just learned about the term “quiet quitting” today. But once I started researching, I fell down a rabbit hole of articles and TikTok videos covering it as the latest workplace phenomenon employees are using to avoid burnout. Even TikTok creator Zaid Khan got in on the discussion, posting a now-viral video describing “quiet quitting” as “not outright quitting your job, but quitting the idea of going above and beyond.”
Those trying to make “quiet quitting” a thing suggest it as an alternative to dealing with workplace burnout that doesn’t involve storming into your boss’ office with a letter of resignation. Clocking out at five, saying no to an extra project, and staying off email outside of normal business hours are just a few ways experts say you can put it into practice.
TikTok is full of opinions on both sides of the issue. Like @allifromcorporate0, who says “quiet quitting” is nothing more than creating work-life balance for yourself, something we all should be doing anyway. But the more videos I watched, the more it became clear why I didn’t know anything about the topic: Most of the people speaking out on the subject were white.
I did find a few Black voices. In a hilarious post, @mwildy says it’s basically just doing the bare minimum at work, something that’s been around forever. “They’re calling it ‘quiet quitting,’ but us older folks just call it ‘we ain’t doing that shit.’” he said.
Charnay, who goes by @theresumeaddict agrees that all of the buzz is much ado about nothing. “It’s called reclaiming your time, setting boundaries, closing your computer when you’re done working, not doing the job of two to three people. You know, stuff like that,” she says. “‘Quiet quitting,’ what?.”
But Stephanie Perry, @housesitterschool says the whole idea doesn’t work for Black women. Dialing things back, she says, is something Black women just can’t do. People are taught to lean on us for labor and support. And as a result, doing the most is a part of Black women’s DNA. Perry suggests Black women have worked long enough that they should be able to just quit when they find themselves in a stressful job situation.
Black people aren’t talking about this because for most people of color, “quiet quitting” is simply not a choice. The last ones hired and the first ones fired, we can’t afford to be caught slippin’ on the job, even if what we consider slippin’ is normal output from our co-workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Black people (7.1 percent) was more than double that of whites (3.2 percent) in December 2021. Additionally, the microagressions so many people of color experience in the workplace may not be worth sticking around for. I, for one, can do bad all by myself.
I don’t know if “quiet quitting” will become a thing in Black community or not. But if I had to guess, I’d say we’d rather take our chances and find a new job instead.