For a while it seemed Personnel Today was alone in not taking the concept of ‘quiet quitting’ entirely seriously.
Well the fightback has started. I’m not sure what’s prompted this blunt dismissal of the notion now, after the Independent, the Sunday Times, the Observer, the Mail and Guardian have already gorged themselves on quiet quitting, but Lou Campbell, an employee mental health specialist, has contacted Personnel Today to inform us the phrase is a complete load of tosh.
Campbell has clearly been pondering its true meaning for the past month or so, becoming ever more incandescent with each newspaper article on the subject, and now the eruption has inevitably come. She says: “To suggest that carving out some work life balance for one’s own health and wellbeing is the same as ‘quitting’ is a complete nonsense, and it’s time to stop using this stupid phrase. Let’s show some respect to hard working people.”
Although it’s gone 5pm on Friday and the fridge has been calling for some time, we at Personnel Today – devoted as we are to the profits of our overlords – totally endorse this statement, particularly as Lou tells us what we are discussing here is no less than a harbinger of a future unjust society: “The phrase ‘quiet quitting’ is a dystopian phrase that needs to be halted. If people are working their contractual hours, that is ‘working’ not ‘quitting’ and to suggest otherwise is an insult to hard working people who have kept their companies and organisations afloat over these pandemic years.
A lighthearted take on HR
The director of Wellbeing Partners concludes: “Employees have accepted monumental changes to the way they work, have largely followed the rules (unlike many of those who have governed us) and have often become burnt out as a result of the eye-watering long hours and constant on-call behaviour that has been expected of them.” Chapeau, as they say.
Boris this, Boris that
Talking of those who govern us … well, shall we? I know you have heard enough: Boris this, Boris that; bankers’ bonuses, Boris, bankers, bonkers, bonuses – when will it ever end? This spoof by Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse of the BBC’s Question Time was actually made in 2012 yet could have been 2022 for all that the national political conversation has moved on.
One further observation about the current malaise worth mentioning. There is a sudden new trend for members of the so-called government to adopt job titles from business rather than their ministerial titles. On one recent Question Time Nadhim Zahawi described himself as the government’s “chief operating officer”.
Jeremy Hunt’s ascension to chancellor saw him described by other government ministers as the “chief executive” and the short-lived prime minister Liz Truss as the “chairman”. (Only the other day Personnel Today asked what Liz Truss becoming PM would mean for HR. As it turned out, very little, beyond questions about whether she’d receive her £100,000 ex-prime minister’s remuneration.)
What does this adoption of business language tell us? Could it be that ministers are worried that the behaviour of the ruling party’s higher levels might be seen by the electorate (remember them?) as in some way unprofessional, so they are determined to buttress their credentials with executive talk? If so, there are many boardrooms in the UK that would have a thing or two to say about that.
When football supporters are unhappy with their club’s owners after bad results and lack of investment in the team they sing “sack the board”. It seems to be about that time.
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