Some workers are done being overachievers.
Whether they’re consultants or software engineers, they’ve noticed they can get a full day’s work done and even if they have time to do more, they’re not going to. It’s a practice that has lately come to be known as “quiet quitting,” or not going above and beyond the required tasks at work.
Jill Chapman, a local expert with HR solutions company Insperity, talked about how different definitions of the phrase might come down to the employee’s attitude. Whereas one worker might be disengaged, another could be practicing some work-life balance.
“From an employer's point of view, if you're paying somebody you're paying them to deliver the results that you agreed upon, right?” Chapman said. “As long as people are meeting their deliverables, if they close down their computer at five o'clock, that's kind of the expectation.”
In Austin, a major tech hub and city that has flooded with knowledge workers in recent years, conversations around quiet quitting might be heightened.
“The tech workers would very often be the ones that were kind of leading the charge, with new ideas and new ways of working—we'd see them kind of permeate their niche before it went out to the rank and file,” Chapman said. “So I think that there is a significant number of people who are talking about this in that community.”
Still, this approach to work isn’t all that new even if the phrase is. Essentially, people are doing what they’re being paid to do, explains Andrew Brodsky, a professor at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.
“When you come from a society… where you get as much work from your workers as you possibly can for as little compensation as possible, it shouldn't be surprising when you have workers take the same perspective and try to do as little work as possible,” Brodsky said.
He’s studied idle time in the office and remote work and says that for many jobs, eight hours isn’t needed some days.
“On the days you have less to do, should you just sit there moving your mouse every so often so that Microsoft Teams shows that you're active to your boss or should you try to find a way to view that time productively?” Brodsky said. “Maybe further your career training, or just taking a break and recovering from work so that you can come back fresh or on a day that you are busier.”
My take on #quietquitting
With Gen Z’s recent entrance into the workforce, young workers have been tied to the “quiet quitting” trend. The hashtag for the term has racked up 12.9 million views on TikTok and The Wall Street Journal said professionals of that generation “are saying no to hustle culture.”
But Brodsky says it’s likely more to do with how our employment psychological contract has changed. Boomers enjoyed rewards for being long-term employees with promotions and continual raises. Now, there’s less reward for staying loyal and giving 110%. For companies looking to reduce quiet quitting, however, Brodsky has some ideas.
“Many of these people feel like, whether they're Gen Z or otherwise, that they're doing what the company is doing. Organizations are using us, so we're going to use them,” Brodsky said. “In cases where you actually find ways to reward employees as opposed to paying external hires more… I imagine it would potentially make you stronger.”
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Austin is the top city in Texas for Gen Zers to settle down and eighth across the U.S., according to a new study.
The study, released this month by CommercialCafe, ranked which cities had the highest potential to be “Generation Z havens” based on affordability, unemployment rate, potential for remote work, recreation establishments and percentage of Gen Z population.
In eighth place, Austin scored 53.03 out of 100 total points with three other Texas cities joined the rankings: El Paso in ninth place, Houston in 11th place and San Antonio in 18th place.
A peek at the top 10 cities for Gen Z:
- Atlanta, GA, scored 66.9 points and has the most parks per resident
- Minneapolis, MN, scored 63.8 points and has the third-highest percentage of Gen Zers
- Boston, MA, scored 63.2 points and has the highest Gen Z school enrollment
- Tucson, AZ, scored 59.1 points and has the highest percentage of Gen Zers
- Raleigh, NC, scored 56.3 points and has the sixth-highest Gen Z school enrollment
- Columbus, OH, scored 53.7 points and sixth-best in affordability
- Seattle, WA, scored 53.6 points and has the second-lowest unemployment rate
- Austin, TX, scored 53 points and has the fifth-lowest unemployment rate
- El Paso, TX, scored 51.7 points and scored fifth-best in affordability
- New York City, NY scored 49.92 points and has the fastest internet speed
Austin scored relatively high in affordability compared to the rest of the U.S. with 16.43 points out of 20, though it ranked lower than the fellow Texas cities. El Paso scored 19.12 points for affordability.
The high percentage of Zoomers getting educated—the eighth-highest in the U.S. with almost half of residents 20-24 in school—have a good chance at getting a job since Austin has a 3.9% unemployment rate and high internet speed.
Trampling over TikTok and Instagram to the top of the free downloads on the iOS app store is a photo-sharing social media known as BeReal.
BeReal tells users it’s “not another social network.” Breaking away from the mix of tech giants in Austin like Meta and TikTok, BeReal isn’t for perfectly curated photo dumps, beautifying filters or live streams, though it still uses the attraction of content posted in real-time.
BeReal slightly removes your agency in capturing picture-perfect moments. At a random time each day, users get a notification that it’s “⚠️ Time to BeReal. ⚠️” and are given two minutes to take a photo that captures your setting from both the front and rear cameras.
You can post late, but the app documents how late your post is once you get around to uploading. Plus you’re blocked from viewing your friends’ photos until you follow through on your posting duties.
With all the hype over BeReal, even from those like Facebook investor Yuri Milner’s DST Global set to help the startup reach a valuation of more than $600 million, we decided to try it out for ourselves.
Your first BeReal notification comes immediately upon downloading the app. Fresh out of a work meeting, I was sitting at my desk at home and decided to stay put and capture a photo of my cat. A reminder: the app will capture a photo from your front camera, something I was unaware of when I snapped this half image of my face.
Now, when it comes to engagement, the app allows you to comment on your friend's posts with “RealMojis,” where you can make your face emoji-like. It’s particularly useful in instances like one TikTok user who showed the RealMojis their friends sent after the BeReal notification came while they were with their ex.
A couple of days pass with more of the same. I’m on time to post, but I’m at home when the notification strikes. No notification comes while I’m out doing activities I’d typically share on social media like going to Blues on the Green, catching a movie at the Blue Starlite Drive in, grabbing a coffee at Barley Bean or even while I’m talking a tow trucker out of taking my car away for a parking violation.
So on Friday, I rebelled and decided to post late. I was at the Austin History Center doing research for a story and caught the outside of the charming downtown building. I did Saturday's post a whole day later and put a photo at the car wash on Sunday, again forgetting that the app is also taking a photo from the front camera.
Founded by a French developer in January 2020, the app has taken a couple of years to catch on. But now that interest has skyrocketed—some research firms are estimating that the app is in the 20-30 million downloads range—users are learning that BeReal is for the mundane. And the discovery tab where you can see people’s posts across the world is full of it. I’ve seen a person riding on the back of someone’s motorcycle in Spain, someone in Germany watching Breaking Bad, a view of Grand Central Station and more.
So while it’s frustrating to not get a notification to post when you’d like it to happen, it’s also part of the appeal. The thrill of thinking that maybe you’ll get a BeReal notification at a time that you want to post is part of what keeps users coming back, and may be the key for the social media to grow as a competitor to the well-established giants. But with others saying it's not as authentic as it brands itself as, it's possible the initial frenzy could pass.
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