“Raises aren’t in the Budget”, Maximum effort isn’t either
Samantha Jolin, Contributor
A quiet pandemic is creeping up on the work industry and it’s not COVID-19. The term, ‘quiet quitting’ has seeped into the vocabularies of employees and employers alike. The movement, which has been characterized by doing the absolute bare minimum at a job, has become a trend on social media platforms like TikTok and an elephant in the room at workplaces. This trend has set the working world, including mine, on fire.
Let me take you back to 2019, just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic. It was my first year at Mount Royal University, I was managing a full course load and 40-hour work weeks consistently. I was doing well in my studies and enjoying the challenges that came along with being a supervisor at my job.
I was happy, and even felt like I was thriving. Often my managers would find me in the break room on my lunch working away on my homework and make comments about how hard I was working.
When COVID-19 hit, a lot of change came with it. We went on a hiring freeze and supervisors and full-timers like me were demoted to avoid having to let anyone go. And while we were hit hard, we weren’t the only ones.
A study conducted by U.S. global analytic firm Gallup from the past three years, found that young workers below 35 don’t feel like they’re being cared for at work, especially from their manager.
“The percentage of actively disengaged employees increased by six [percentage] points,” the study further found.
Now fast forward two or so years, we’ve made it through the thick of it, however, we’re experiencing record inflation and the cost of living has raised significantly. Yet, in these same two years, I’ve watched this company pay to repaint every store it owns, start giving out sales bonuses to upper management members again and again, create new products to test and hire very expensive models for its campaigns. At the same time, I watched the hours given to the stores for staffing dwindle and hiring remain on a freeze.
This company is a billion-dollar company, they have the money to spend on paying its staff.
We’ve made it through the thick of it but we’re experiencing record inflation. Seeing that normal items cost more everyday, I asked my store manager for a small raise.
Months of run-around later, my managers finally pulled me to the office, where I explained my reasons for asking for a raise. I explained that my living expenses were becoming too high with inflation and that I was barely making enough to cover all my bills, pay the rent and feed myself.
“Raises are not in the company’s budget,” my district manager said. I was stunned. This woman had seen me work harder than many people around me, frequently relied on me before she was promoted, and often told me how ‘blown away’ she was by my work ethic. And here she was stubbornly refusing to even attempt to help me.
The CEO is not going to notice my wage going up by $1. Nobody is. That’s the difference between making rent and buying groceries, or paying rent and eating 50-cent instant ramen. Everything that was ever asked of me, I delivered. So for me to speak up and ask for one small thing and be so bluntly denied, it’s no wonder I, like others, have joined the wave of quiet quitting.
Experiences like this don’t just happen to me, they happen to workers all around the world. Hence why quiet quitting has caught on so strongly. Gallup says that more than half the US workforce would call themselves quiet quitters.
The trend seems to be steadily gaining steam throughout North America – and why not? People want to be fairly compensated for their time. If companies don’t want quiet quitters on their team, they should be treating their employees better.