"My name is Mickey, and I am a serial job hopper."
That's probably what employers would think of me when they look at my resume today.
Yes, I have just resigned from my consulting role that I mentioned last year in a blog article.
Here's what happened.
Quick recap on why I changed my job last year
For those who did not read my previous article, let's recap what happened. Late last year, I have decided to transition from being a digital marketer to a IT consultant for digital marketers. This move would allow me to challenge myself in a different space while still making use of the existing digital marketing skills from my talent stack.
This somewhat risky move has yielded me an additional 40% in annual salary.
For the first six months, I was seconded to the client and the work was great.
The job scope was exactly what I was looking for.
I was able to make use of my talent stack and past experience to work with local digital marketers across the region to bring their marketing campaigns to a higher level through the use of both AI and marketing automation. My stakeholders were also able to understand more about their customers better and what they could do to run more effective campaigns.
Unfortunately, the good things come to an end too quickly. Although I was providing excellent work to the team, the client's budget constraint resulted in my role not being renewed 6 months later. I was released back to the consulting firm, to be moved to a different project team.
That's when things started going south.
I was no longer doing the work that I was hired for
I later found out that the consulting firm did not have similar consulting roles available and all the roles available were development roles where the scope of work is more centered around deploying packaged solutions for the client. I was placed in one of these teams that was supporting the same client that I was working with in my consulting role.
The main difference was that the team is mostly offshore in one of the Asia countries famous for cheap IT outsourcing work and only my direct manager and I are based in Singapore. Because the role required a lower skillset, my current salary was almost double of what my team mates were getting.
Staying in this role meant that my salary would likely stagnate for the next few years doing work that I don't find meaningful.
While this role is a bummer financially, it is not without its benefits. The team reports to stakeholders based in Europe and therefore my working hours have been shifted to suit the stakeholders accordingly. This means that I would start work at 12 noon and end work later at around 8-9pm.
Being an early riser, this works for me because I can fine-tune my lifestyle to head to the gym for 1-2 classes and get my groceries done before I start work. I also found that the productivity of the team isn't as high (by my standards) so I only needed to work 2-4 hours each day to complete the tasks assigned to me in each sprint.
Christopher Ng from Growing your tree of prosperity described my work life as something that's even better than retiring early.
After 3 months into the role, I started to hate the work. The working culture in the team seem to be spiraling downwards towards a quiet quitting momentum where 80% of the team was doing the bare minimum whenever possible. When hit with road blocks for their tasks, they would choose to leave their tasks hanging and wait for someone to give them a solution instead of trying to solve the problem themselves.
The team also had no motivation to improve existing processes to shorten the time needed to complete their tasks and I was often the only one questioning why we aren't doing things differently.
There was also no incentive for me to drive change and improve the way we do things because I later found out that my direct manager has no say in my remuneration. Even if my manager gave me a high performance rating, it does not reflect a higher bonus at the end of the year.
It's up to someone higher up in the food chain to decide how much I should be paid and my work performance doesn't seem to make any difference.
I knew that I was gradually becoming a quiet quitter.
What is quiet quitting?
How would you define a quiet quitter?
For me, starting and ending your work on time while completing the tasks assigned to you doesn't qualify you as a quiet quitter. Quiet quitting starts when you stop questioning problems that you see at work.
You notice some inefficiencies in certain operating processes and workflows which if corrected, could save the team lots of time and effort. You chose to not suggest the fixes to the team and just continue using the same processes and workflows.
You notice that there were some communication gaps between teams that is going to cause a few days of delay of work until they discover the miscommunication and talk it out. You chose to keep quiet about it because it's not part of your task.
Quiet quitting doesn't just happen once. It can happen on many occasions when you choose to do the above.
But I'm okay for it to be a phase in our career. Let's talk about that.
Quiet quitting should be a phase and not a state in our careers
Quiet quitting is inevitable for most of us. But we can choose to what to do when it happens.
If we choose to have quiet quitting as a state in our career, we are wasting the better 8 hours of our day at the workplace doing work that we don't find interesting and meaningful and working through infficient operating processes. We will eventually waste another year being good enough for the employer to retain on the job, but not good enough for the next promotion or a decent salary increase.
For some, quiet quitting can be a state of mind or possibly even the end state of their career.
But in my opinion, I find that life is too short for quiet quitting.
I would suggest that we treat it as just a phase in our career?
Phase is defined as "a distinct period or stage in a series of events or a process of change or development."
The keywords here are 'change' and 'development'.
It is up to us to decide what is the change or development we want after we enter a phase of quiet quitting. The period of time in the quiet quitting phase could be long or short. It's up to you.
For some, it could be starting a new side hustle and continue growing it to a stage where it is possible to quit the job to focus solely on the side hustle.
For others, it could also be to pick up new skills and certifications of subjects that they are interested in while being financially secured as a quiet quitter, and pivot to a different career that they find meaning and purpose in.
For me, it was a simply a case of quitting and moving on to a new role that is more suitable for me.
Make quiet quitting your catalyst of change
Since we know that quiet quitting happens and we can't pretend it's not there, the best thing we can do is to recognise its existence. Instead of letting it bring our work life spiraling downwards to a depressing state, let's make use of it as a catalyst of change for the better.
Go back to the drawing board to re-examine what you want in your career.
If you are not financially independent today and must spend at least 8 hours of your day working, what sort of work do you want or aspire to be doing?
What steps do you need to take in order to get there?
Can a promotion from your current role get you there? Or perhaps an internal transfer to a different department is needed?
Maybe it's about getting a few certifications under your belt to qualify you for get through the door for that dream job?
It could even be setting up a small company on your own to acquire clients who are willing to pay you to do the work.
If the above doesn't work for you, you could consider consulting a career coach to help you identify where you want to go and map a path to get you there.
After such a long rant, what I'm getting at is that we should not be contented with being a quiet quitter and waste years of their lifespan doing something they have no interest in, only to return home to spend time with family or watch the latest shows on Netflix.
We have a limited time in this world and it's a terrible waste of time being a quiet quitter.
Strive to be the better version of ourselves and not look back with regrets.
That's why I chose to quit, instead of being a quiet quitter.
What are your thoughts about quit quitting? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.