The catchphrase “quiet quitting” captures the approach of workers who do the job they’re paid to do and nothing more.
The trend has sparked a flurry of heated commentary for, against and in-between. Taking a step back from the quiet quitting fray (which has spun somewhat out of control), the debate is simply part of a much larger conversation among employees — especially office workers — who are rethinking work, purpose and the good life.
Thanks to the pandemic and a near half-century low in unemployment, many employees find themselves examining their relationship to work.
Take hybrid work. Employers may insist on a return to the office, but employees are resisting, finding they prefer working from home or outside the office.
Calls for the four-day workweek were ignored by management for decades, but now a number of companies have launched experiments with one.
The surge in self-employment is another sign growing numbers of employees want to leave behind corporate politics and traditional career paths. The trend among employees to reimagine their relationship to work and their employers is a healthy development.
The exploration should include creating a personal finance blueprint that supports the desire to redraw boundaries between work, family and outside interests. Money is a practical foundation to the work and lifestyle redesign.
Embracing frugality is critical to creating the right mix of work, home and other interests. As I’ve pointed out before, frugality isn’t cheapness.
Frugality means being thoughtful about your purchases, choosing quality over quantity, creating less waste, keeping household finances simple and doing more with less. Better yet, the desire to be environmentally conscious and the frugal life mutually reinforce each other.
There is a wide range of frugal behaviors, and people need to find the thrifty habits that work for them. The net result: Frugality leads to greater freedom of choice.
“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying,” wrote Quaker sociologist Elise Boulding. “The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.”
Rethinking work is a trend to applaud. Turning the exercise into reality means being thoughtful about the personal finance implications of your decisions.
Farrell is economics contributor to the Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media’s “Marketplace.”