By now, you’ve probably come across a plethora of articles aiming to explain this seeming phenomena being touted as “quiet quitting” or “quitting in place”. As I see it, this label attributed to folks who–for the most part–have failed at QUIT QUITTING, is a way of adding fuel to the fire known as THE GREAT RESIGNATION, where thousands and thousands of people are resigning from their jobs in search for greater meaning and fulfillment. It’s as if the alarmists are saying, “Not only have the people who resigned quit. But, the people who are still at your organization have also quit. You just don’t know it yet.” Now the question is whose fault is it that there are so many folks both quit quitting and quiet quitting.
Well, for a lot of people, that answer is that it’s the manager’s or boss’ faults. For some, it is the corporate culture that is causing people to abandon ship. Other’s are citing the laziness and entitlement of certain generations and the exhaustion of other generations. But, I think it goes even deeper–down to the heart of the extractive mentality that has been indicative of the American labor model.
People don’t quit their jobs. They quit their bosses.The Internet
Several months ago, I wrote a post called The American Addiction: Cheap Labor. In it I posit that it is America’s addiction to cheap labor that is at the root of most of our ills when it comes to how we approach our workers. Basically, once our nation justified paying $0 for anyone’s labor and taking other folk’s land and repeatedly defaulting on treaties, it created a “devalue system of labor and resources” that has endured to this day. The fact is that labor should not be considered an expense when it facilitates expanse. Workers are investments and should be valued as such. After all, can you name one organization that has come into being without any people working together to realize the founder’s vision? No. Of course not. So, when organizations are constantly looking at how to invest as little as possible for people’s contributions, it communicates that the people are not valued. And once people can’t reconcile being devalued with a paycheck, they walk away one way or the other.
Now, I know that there are people who will have a difficult time making the connection between the legacy of America’s first unpaid workforce and how we acquired property and why so many people are feeling dissatisfaction in their current roles today. But, it really isn’t that difficult to do. If you look at history around the globe, there was always someone at the bottom being taken advantage of by people at the so called top. And in many instances, there came a point where the people at the bottom organized themselves and rebelled against that system. That is what’s happening now. And that is what will continue to happen until humans get it together or we destroy ourselves.
FEAR OF AN EQUITABLE WORKPLACE (FEW)
Let’s face it. When operating from an extractive and competitive paradigm like we have been for so long, creating equitable workplaces can never serve the real bottom line of many organizations which is making money, winning at all costs, and defeating others in our industries. From my perspective, this is why we see so many companies throwing goo-gobs of resources at DEI programming that can’t stick. Most are doing it for the wrong reasons–to be more competitive against other companies and appear like they are with the times. But, it can’t work that way because it is that very mentality that has created the inequities that we’re trying to move beyond in the first place. Therefore, in order to truly create equitable workplace communities where people can grow, create perpetual meaning, and not look forward to quitting, we need to overcome the unconscious fear of equity that is pervasive in many of our workplace communities.
In my spiritual tradition, there is a teaching that you can’t patch an old garment with new cloth. They are incompatible because when you wash the garment the new cloth will shrink and the patch will rip apart reopening the tear. It is the same with the social structures we have in place in many of our workplaces. We can’t fix an old system with new awareness. We must either build a new system with the new awareness or remodel the old system removing what is not compatible with the new awareness just as you would when remodeling any other structure.
As I wrote in another earlier post, I think that humanity is fast approaching a TRANSFORM OR TRANSITION stage in our evolutionary trajectory. And despite what it looks like on the surface, I think that many of us are choosing to transform. We have to realize that for most of humanity’s history, the greater portion of us were illiterate, highly superstitious, and rarely traveled outside of a few dozen square miles of where we were born. Therefore, it was very easy for us to be deceived and distracted by manipulative forces that just see other people as extensions of themselves or their agendas. Throw on top of it that most of our brain power was directed toward figuring out how we would literally survive from one week to the next and you can see why we had very little capacity to open ourselves up to different ways of approaching the world. Difference was instantly perceived as threat and we reacted rather than respond to new ideas which made us easily manipulable. But now… Things, they are a changing.
Of course when you look at the news, you could probably easily see countless examples that contradict what I seem to be affirming. And, I wouldn’t blame you if you disagreed with me. But, I will tell you the downside of disagreeing with me. More of the same. For way too long, those of us who should be forming affirming alliances built on equity, mutual support, and maximizing human potential have chosen the path of least resistance and allowed the fear of equity to diminish our relational capacity to organize and co-create environments conducive to human flourishing. In part we did this because we were taught that survival of our tribe was paramount and that those from other tribes were less than human. And believe it or not, a great number of us are only now just scratching the surface of realizing our common humanity. Because up until recently, a common humanity was bad for business and the pursuit of global dominance. But now we are entering a season when realizing our common humanity is everyone’s business and global interrelating is our collective future if we are going to have one.
Though we have a hard time admitting it, since this country’s founding we have been an embodiment of contradiction–hope on one side and hopelessness on the other. People who don’t want to confront this will point out that America didn’t invent the system that justified the devaluing of human beings. And, they will be right in saying so. But what we did do was perfect it by being the only nation founded on principles of equity comprised of people who fled tyranny in one place and then duplicated it in another to such a degree. And just like a single individual becomes tortured by their conscience once confronted with their inconsistencies, we as a nation have been confronted by ours and we are now struggling with how to start over without losing what we have. Right now, it is manifesting as great swaths of people walking away from what is no longer working for them and even greater numbers hanging out in a form of self imposed purgatory. And that is freaking some folks out because we’re trying to figure out how to stop the hemorrhaging of people and potential. But you know what, it is better than another Civil War that many fear we’re headed toward. And when you’ve been going in the wrong direction, slowing down is progress.
In a future post, I am going to write about War as Toxic Intimacy. The idea being that war is a destructive way of drawing close to one another without admitting to or actively denying our vulnerabilities. All of our institutions from the congregation to the corporation are vulnerable right now because everyday people are consciously and unconsciously seeking more congruent lives. We want to move from aspiration to actualization and many of us are walking away from spaces that we are realizing are not conducive to this aim.