Quiet-Quitting vs Quiet Thriving

What if we decided to make a minor tweak in our thinking that enables us to see more value in our present job, rather than doing the bare minimum? That is Quiet Thriving. Read on.

All through the years surrounding the pandemic, we have heard the buzzword ‘quiet quitting’. Quiet quitting refers to employees doing the bare minimum- engaging in the bare minimum way with their job, doing the bare minimum that is needed out of them.

It all happened as during the pandemic many people realized that life is too short to stress over a job that they do not like. Life is too short to stress over frustrations in the professional sphere, the office politics, colleagues they don’t gel well with and bosses who don’t hear them out. And so, people just did the bare minimum and focused more on their life outside work.

But soon many people also started to realize that although life is too short to do a job you do not like, it is also not a very good practice to do the bare minimum when the job pays your bills and lets you live a life of comfort. After all, boredom comes when there’s the space and comfort to be bored.

Enter Quiet Thriving. It is essentially understanding that the job may not be perfect, but still finding ways to engage with it in the best way you can.

Before we go into our definition, a word: If one looks up online, there will be tons of articles mentioning some Quiet Thriving strategies. One of them is setting up boundaries. For example, not checking work emails after an agreed upon time, or being clear with how much work you can handle before you approach a burnout. Another strategy also includes finding a few colleagues you can become friends with. One more strategy is taking little breaks, or setting realistic intentions about accomplishing just a few things on your to-do list and so on. But let us face it, we all must have tried one thing or the other at some point, and it can still not be enough to find a way to thrive at your job, to find it more likeable and less tedious. Quiet Thriving is actually a lot more about changing your perspective as these articles rightly mention.

 It is actually about doing small tweaks in your thinking, more than attempting to control the factors outside. 

Quiet Thriving in simple words is a shifting of perspective. It is a reframing. It is asking yourself questions like:

  • ‘Do I really dislike my job so much that I am closing my mind to everything?’
  • ‘What is that one thing about my job that I genuinely like?’
  • ‘This is my job, and it is necessary that I see some value in it. What can I do to add more meaning to it?’

And so on.

What are some strategies that can help one get that shift in perspective and actually start to Quietly Thrive?

  • The number one strategy is in the above explanation itself- shift your perspective! As cliché as this sounds, looking at the positives of the job can help you find more meaning and motivation to do the job. Sure, there are negatives (they are everywhere!), but what are the positives? It could be something as simple as recognizing that this job gives you a sense of structure. Or it could be something as complex as connecting it to wider purpose. Miss P didn’t like working for an online shopping portal company because she thought they were acting as middle-men between vendors and customers. A shift in perspective helped her understand the wider purpose- they weren’t just acting as middle-men, they were making life easier for the vendors who might not always know whom to approach to sell their products online, giving them more sources of income and more reach. Her company was making lives better.
  • Another strategy, similar to shifting your perspective is called ‘job crafting’. There will be certain responsibilities you might enjoy more than other responsibilities. You can seek out more of those responsibilities by asking your manager or the team leader, and find a way to ‘craft’ your job a certain way, such that you end up doing more of what you like. It will be a work in progress, but it can offer a high sense of thriving and fulfillment nevertheless.

Once we get the ball rolling, it can actually a become a fun activity to finding ways to Quietly Thrive at work. It can become a fun activity to shift your perspective and understand that the job you dislike might actually not be that bad. Quiet Thriving could be that one positive missing ingredient in your perspective.  

Better Together: Growth for the Companies is tied to Career-Growth of its Employees

career-growth of employees, companies

Thinking about career growth is one of the favourite pass-times, it seems.

We have thought about it in the middle of a meeting, or when we were having a quiet moment in the office, or maybe when we were on a holiday, all happy and relaxed. Suddenly, muscles go tense, and the mind goes racing. Sometimes, these thoughts act as motivating factors, the ‘positive’ stress that propels us to think ahead.

Individuals think about career growth a lot.

It’s time companies think about it too. Thinking about career growth shouldn’t just be a concern of the individuals. Companies can benefit a lot by sharing this concern. Yes! Companies can benefit from thinking about the career growth of their employees! How so? Let us delve into it quickly.

The first benefit is right there in our introduction! Individuals think about their career growth a lot. When the company they are working for is genuinely concerned about it as well, it can motivate them to stay. Talk about retaining talent! When companies show interest in helping their employees advance in their careers, it attracts more candidates, because of course, people like to work at places where they see a possibility of concrete growth on paper.

Secondly, companies can reduce their talent acquisition costs by thinking about the career growth of their employees. An employee who sees a career growth while staying at the company means that the company would be able to hire internally. Hiring internally means cutting down on sourcing and onboarding costs. And think of all the time that could be saved on background checks and references.

Thirdly, companies can improve their employee engagement when they think about the career growth of their employees. Employees who know there is a scope to grow professionally within the walls of the company, that there is a chance that they will get an opportunity any moment, are naturally more likely to engage with their work. When the employees know that what they are working at is nota dead-end job, it is likely to increase their motivation and engagement levels. They can attach more meaning to their work and to the company, because they know it is indeed leading them somewhere, that is, it’s not a dead-end job.

So, what can companies and employers do to implement this idea of showing interest in their employee’s career growth?

Think which positions and skill gaps are hard to fill in the company. Talk to the employees about their goals. A few conversations later, it should be possible to align the two, and realise the kind of opportunities the company can offer so that those hard to fill positions and skill gaps are no longer that hard to fill.

Opportunities can range from digital learning, workshops and seminars, sponsored L&D opportunities, shadowing positions and so on.

Now, companies may or may not be able to offer everything to everyone, and even if they do, there’s still a chance that the employee might have different priorities and choices.

That doesn’t mean companies should only and only think about offering career growth opportunities to those who would promise to stay, or to those who would directly, most certainly, be helpful to the company in some way. Benevolently given career growth opportunities to employees ensure a good word of mouth of the company, a good employer brand, and a chance that someone might come back as a boomerang employee!

What’s your favourite Indian Dessert?

Whether we are talking about interviews or networking events or conferences and seminars, the underlying tips can sometimes be just too technical and generic. Let us face it- have we not read something and thought- ‘ugh, again with the jargon…’ ?

Take for example tips about ‘being yourself’ at work. These tips obviously come with an asterisk. Being yourself does not mean not being adaptable to the situation, nor does it mean trying too hard to be yourself. It certainly does not mean getting fixated on one’s strengths and ignoring one’s limitations. Rather, it is about accepting the limitations, and turning them into strengths by understanding the context we are operating in. It’s all written and done, and before we know it, we are scrolling away to glory to find something else to engage our bored minds with.

How about we look at some HR tips on a shelf full of sweets and desserts? A little message we received inspired us to look into the sweets-shop!

We look at the jalebis and we realise that no matter how many twists and turns life might throw at us, the sweet tone of uniqueness we maintain is what matters. The uniqueness is what makes the jalebi a standout, memorable sweet. Who cares if it is a sticky situation, we have our own unique methods to fix it!

We look at the rasgulla, and realise how resilience works. The ‘chasni’ might get squeezed out by life and its trials every once in a while, but there’s always a scope to bounce back into shape!

We see a jar of boondi laddus, and we understand the value of the efforts, big or small, from each member of the team. The big orange magic that a boondi laddu is, will not be complete without the little boondis. No matter how nominal the part one might play in a team, it still adds to the team and it is what makes a team whole.

Soan papdi is an infamous sweet, next in line, that is almost always disliked by so many people. But the makers do not stop making them. Why? Because there will always be takers for it. No matter how small the number, there will always be people who like the soan papdi. Whether it is a product, whether it is a service or whether it is just some generally disliked set of traits that nevertheless get the results, amidst the unpopularity, there will always be a niche that values it more than any other popular trend. The soan papdi gives us an important lesson about authenticity

Gulab jamun, the soft little popular sweet on the other hand, gives us an important lesson- softness is not a weakness. In a culture that puts too much value on cold hard facts and an equally hard exterior personality, it is the softness that wins ultimately. The supposed ‘soft’ qualities of empathy, kindness, sensitivity, care, understanding the situation, are what ultimately connect people.

And finally, there’s the besan laddu, that gives us an important lesson about robustness and rebuilding. There’s always a scope to remould, rebuild, redo something while keeping the essence intact.

Do you have a sweet-tooth? What are some of your favourite sweets? What other HR tips can you think about from your favourite dessert?

Sitting Still to Move Forward

A workplace often gives us an imagery of activity. Phones ringing, papers shuffling, a few voices here and there, everything and everyone contributing to an active atmosphere. Meetings happen every now and then, symbolising movement, progress, brainstorming, dynamism, innovation. The modern culture today values this movement and innovation. New ideas, new ideas, better ideas! And somewhere, the value of stillness and focus is forgotten.

For anything to move forward, for any idea to be implemented well, a moment of stillness and focus is needed. It is indeed paradoxical that this stillness is sometimes necessary to implement the idea and take it forward. Let us quickly delve into this!

Repetition-Perfection versus Innovation:

Stillness also means the need to sit with something, and looking at it from all the possible perspectives, and repeating that if needed.

There is a Taoist wisdom that goes along these lines. Sometimes, we become so occupied with creating and thinking about something new, we forget to look properly at what is in front of us. Think of it this way- is it better to read multiple books, one after the other, almost behaving like it’s a competition to see who reads the greatest number of books? Or is it better to read one book thoroughly, paying attention to the little details within it?

Is it better to read that book, as many times needed to get a complete understanding of it? Or is it better to skip from one book to another, without trying to understand it completely?

Sometimes, the situation demands that we pay attention to just one agenda so that it can be managed well. Sometimes the need is that we pay attention to preparing one decent pitch for that one investor, by studying their expectations, instead of trying to network relentlessly with everyone we meet. It is thus really important to understand the context and shift our focus accordingly. Correction- it is important that sometimes, the need is to not shift the focus.

Distractions + Innovation= Focus gone!

A recent survey of 1600 employees highlighted by the Harvard Business Review brought to attention that more than 60% of those employees admitted that they rarely are able to engage in deep focused work for even one or two hours without interruptions. There is always some distraction- whether it is emails, a meeting, a quick chat, and so on. The article goes on to give a scenario- an employee checks their long list of emails first thing in the morning. He responds to those emails one by one- most are small, manageable requests. Naturally, it would make him feel productive, as the inbox goes from unread to read emails.

But wait, there is this one big request that needs more time- it is a project proposal. He decides to work on the project proposal later during the day when he has more focus. Later, when he does sit down to work on it, a co-worker stops by to chat. And before we know it, it’s lunchtime. After lunch, there’s a meeting scheduled to brainstorm about the next project. Once the meeting is over, it’s almost the end of the day, and so on…

The scenario or similar ones may not be entirely unfamiliar to us. Distractions are there. And add to that, we are encouraged to constantly move from one task to another. Rarely, it is mentioned that one must sit and work on a task. Rarely, that stillness to be on a task is encouraged.

It is here that people in leadership positions can turn that around.

Carving out Time, to give Time:

It becomes imperative for leaders, managers and others in such positions to ensure that equal importance is given to ‘focused work time’ as well. As an article by Growth Partners Consulting mentions-it is not just meetings and such ‘dynamic’ tasks that should have a special place at work- the time to sit with it and to work on tasks should also be paid equal importance.

It sounds almost obvious, but when we think about, we can’t deny how much time is often gone in deciding the number of tasks to be done, and how little time to actually work on something remains. 

Simple measures like reducing the number of meetings, setting a time-limit on the duration of meetings, setting aside specific hours or days for focused work, encouraging and modelling that behaviour can go a long way.

The pandemic reminded us the power and importance of being here and now. In one of our earlier articles, we recognised the importance of some ‘slack time’. It is also about time we recognise the power and importance of sitting with the task. Slack time is when reinvention happens. And pausing everything else for a while to deeply work on a task is when the forward movement happens.

Employment trends in time of Mass Lay-offs

While we were busy talking about the importance of recruiting talent that stays, and how to ensure a good experience for the candidate, the world was hit by the news of mass lay-offs by big multinational tech companies. Through these events of layoffs, we can only reiterate more on the point that the job market is likely to see certain changes in the nature of candidates and their expectations. Continuing on the tangents of our previous two articles, let us quickly take a look at what are the implications of looking for jobs and recruiting amidst the layoffs.

Stability over fancy offers:

One look at many of the reels full of self-deprecating humour being shared on social media, and we will realise that many of the big companies that laid off their employees had quite ‘fancy’ packages. Lounging facilities with luxurious options, company merchandise, perks about flexibility and other present-day buzzwords, and the stamp of working for a major company- all of this worked well as long as one was working there.

It is likely that many of the now former employees of these companies would have learnt their lesson the hard way, and would be looking for things that actually matter as they search for a new job. In other words, these candidates would now be looking for stability over perks. They would be looking for companies that treat them respectfully and don’t just use expressions like ‘our company is like a big family’ for the sake of it. They would be looking for companies that actually give them a sense of job security. It might not be too far-fetched to assume that days of wanting to join a big name because they are a big name are numbered.

This takes us to the next point.

Doesn’t matter how big the name is:

As mentioned in our earlier article, gone are the days of the 70s Hindi film imagery of candidates crowding over one position at a big company. But perhaps gone also are the days of the decade of 2010s of candidates looking to join a big name.

This is an opportunity for start-ups, small and medium scale companies to show they are no less, or are perhaps even better than a big name. The ‘stamp’ may not be there yet, but the company -no matter how big or small- can offer things like:

  • Showing value to the candidate’s skills and competence
  • A sense of meaning to the candidate/employee in the job, by the nature of the service or product the company has to offer
  • A strong set of ethical and professional values

When it comes tech layoffs, it is crucial to know that these candidates would be aware of the value they bring to table. Tech jobs, as volatile as they are, are also always in demand. This brings us to the next point.

Different candidates, similar experiences:

Many of the laid off candidates, it is said, were not even a week into the job and they got the news. On the other hand, there were many candidates who had served the company for decades. The point is companies looking to hire might find candidates of varying experience and skill level even more than usual, and it would be necessary to find a way to assess them fairly.

As an article by Recruit CRM mentions, sticking rigidly to conventional benchmarks like those of experience, or having a degree from a top college may or may not always be fair to the candidate. The diverse background of candidates in general, and not just those of the laid off pool must be considered.

Keeping this in mind during selection and interview rounds would ensure that a team full of individuals with diverse competence- skill- and experience-levels would be created, with different strengths, instead of a homogenous mix.

And as mentioned earlier, it’s no longer just a matter of perks, stamps and big salaries.

Many of the big tech companies offer great salaries, and it is likely that many of the laid off employees had it going really well. A candidate might not be swayed by a big salary, great perks or a fancy designation anymore. Showing that companies value a candidate’s skills, competence, time and commitment is necessary and job postings, descriptions and the company itself must reflect this all.