Quiet Quitting Won't Make Your Life Better. Here's What to Do Instead

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There have always been people who didn’t like their jobs, but something in the air feels different now. Many of us are reevaluating our relationship with work. 

Over the past few years, we’ve seen our daily processes, routines, workloads, and social lives upended. We’ve dealt with new problems on top of the old ones in every area of life. A lot of people are unhappy with the status quo, and they’ve decided the solution is to stop putting energy into their jobs.

If you’re disengaged at work, you may be cheering for “quiet quitters” who aim to focus more on other parts of life. But you still have this niggling sense that something is off. 

Is quiet quitting really the answer to your lingering unhappiness? What happened to achievement?

What Quiet Quitting Means

We’ve seen many different definitions of quiet quitting. Some people describe it as doing the bare minimum at work without formally quitting. Others say it’s mentally checking out from their jobs, breaking away from “hustle culture” or no longer going above and beyond.

All of those definitions boil down to one thing: 

Quiet quitting means you are disengaged at work. 

It means you are choosing to give less effort. It means you are not fully engaged in what you do for a large part of the day. 

It also means you’re losing out on opportunities for personal growth. It means you aren’t improving or achieving much in this part of your life. It means you aren’t investing in the future of your career. It means you have given up on moving forward. 

Your job shouldn’t be your whole life, but that doesn’t mean you should quietly quit. There’s a difference between moving forward and overworking yourself, between work-life balance and quiet quitting. 

When you find yourself quietly quitting, you need to ask why.

The Real Reason You’re Quiet Quitting

quietly quitting

You may feel like you have a good excuse for quiet quitting. Maybe your employer’s demands have increased. Maybe you feel that you aren’t being compensated or recognized enough for what you do. Maybe you have goals in other parts of your life. Maybe you’re feeling exhausted, and you think the solution is to avoid using what little energy you have at work.

None of those things are likely the real reason you’re quiet quitting, though.

The truth is that you’re missing a sense of purpose.

We’ve talked to so many people who are stuck in jobs they dislike, jobs that don’t intrinsically motivate them. They don’t have any passion for their work. They’re not excited or enthusiastic. They don’t feel a sense of purpose in their day-to-day tasks.

When you don’t have purpose, you don’t have energy. And when you don’t have energy, you have much less of an impact. You don’t shine as brightly as you could. 

If you want to achieve, you need to know your “why.” 

What to Do Instead of Quiet Quitting

Instead of quiet quitting, choose something you care about to work toward. 

If you know what your passion is, pursue it. Life is too short not to. 

If you don’t know what your passion is, start exploring so you can find out.

You might just need to change your perspective on your current job. You might need to find different projects to pursue. You might need to work toward a more fulfilling role, build your qualifications, or even change careers. Knowing the things you are passionate about and your end goal will give you more energy as you move forward.

And in the meantime, we’ll give you the secret to finding more fulfillment in your current role.

How to Find Purpose Right Now

The secret to fulfillment in any job is the pursuit of mastery. It’s the pursuit of progress.

When you’re working toward mastery, the little things you do are imbued with meaning. Even the mundane, boring things. You have more energy. You have more intrinsic motivation.

If you’re not working to become a master at something, then pick something to pursue. It doesn’t have to be something big or serious – you can always change it. But it should be something you care about, something that you genuinely want to master. 

When you pick something to master, something magical happens. You start finding little ways to work on that mastery, even if your current position has little to do with it. You have something to keep you motivated and moving forward as you work toward a more fulfilling career.

Choose Mastery, Not Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting will not give you energy. It will not bring you purpose or fulfillment. 

When others are leaning out, it’s time to lean in. It’s time to pick something you care about to master and pursue with vigor. The more you try, the more fulfilled you’ll feel.

To learn more about improving your life through mastery, check out our founder and CEO’s article on the pursuit of mastery and the mastery asymptote.

If our articles resonate with you, take the next step and sign up for a Life Engineering membership. Life Engineering gives you the science-based tools and education to identify your purpose, move forward, and succeed at what matters to you.

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