A post-pandemic workplace uprising is happening behind the scenes, away from public view. The growing phenomenon of “quiet quitting,” in which individuals put in minimal effort to get by, poses a severe threat to the stability of our working lives. As we move forward together into the unknown, it is critical that we grasp the foundations of this new reality and discover ways to reinvigorate our respective institutions.
Job Satisfaction: The Key to Engagement and Motivation
The first step is to recognize the importance of job satisfaction as a factor in one’s eventual redemption. To quote Sun Tzu from The Art of War: “Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy, they must have their rewards.” An insidious feeling of disconnection and disillusionment that permeates the hearts of servicemembers worldwide is the real enemy in today’s modern workplace, not a rival military.
To defeat this foe, we must first comprehend what factors contribute to contentment in the workplace. By encouraging servicemembers to explore their interests and find ways to incorporate them into their work, leaders can encourage a more invested and enthusiastic workforce. Incorporating our personal values and passions into our professional roles gives us a lasting sense of purpose and alignment, providing us with job satisfaction.
Incentivizing Early Arrivals: A Path to Camaraderie and Purpose
Offering tangible rewards for early arrivals is one way to foster job satisfaction and reduce quiet quitting. By rewarding servicemembers for arriving early, we foster an environment of enthusiasm and dedication and give them time to engage in activities that matter to them outside of work. This can take many forms, such as allowing servicemembers to participate in self-improvement programs or setting aside quiet areas to think and reflect.
However, getting to work first has benefits beyond just the material. Those who choose to begin their workdays on a positive note do their part to strengthen the bonds that hold their organizations together by fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose among their fellow servicemembers. These relationships are more vital than ever in today’s world of telecommuting and increasing social isolation.
Sun Tzu’s Wisdom: A Call for Passion and Connection
The guidance of Sun Tzu cuts to the chase. Our fellow servicemembers must be roused to action to experience the fire of individual dedication. A sense of belonging and personal investment in their work are more important to them than financial or other tangible incentives. By incentivizing early arrival and fostering an atmosphere that fosters self-improvement, we can get to the heart of the problem of quiet quitting.
Focusing on servicemembers’ well-being and providing opportunities for meaningful engagement in the workplace can help keep servicemembers from looking for work elsewhere, reducing retention rates and increasing job satisfaction. Retaining servicemembers requires acknowledgment that monetary incentives are just one of many factors that contribute to a positive work experience.
Breaking the Cycle: Personal Introspection and Organizational Change
Quiet quitting is a cycle that can only be broken if both servicemembers and leaders rethink their goals and work to make their jobs more meaningful and rewarding. However, this is only the beginning of the road to a more invested and enthusiastic workforce. A more invested and enthusiastic workforce can result from individual reflection and institutional reform.
For the organization, this means fostering an environment that encourages servicemembers to develop professionally and hiring people for their character rather than just their skills. An organization’s long-term success and stability can be built on a solid investment foundation in the growth and satisfaction of its servicemembers.
For service members, the key to a more satisfying career is figuring out what matters most to them and how to make a living. This could mean taking a chance, going back to school, or making a radical career shift. The path ahead may be crooked and filled with unknowns, but the end goal is a place where work is no longer a source of stress but more of a source of joy and inspiration.
Marching Forward: A Brighter Future for the Workplace
Finally, the increase in quiet quitting provides a rare chance to examine the current state of the workplace and consider alternative strategies for boosting morale and productivity. Applying the advice of Sun Tzu, we can create a thriving professional landscape where servicemembers and leaders march together toward a brighter future by encouraging a sense of purpose, passion, and connection among our workforces.
We must remember that the fruits of our labor will not appear overnight as we set out on this adventure. There will be obstacles and unknowns to a more invested and enthusiastic workforce. Persistent effort and introducing novel approaches that put workers’ health and happiness at the forefront will eventually pay off.
Organizations should start emphasizing the “human” side of human resources by listening to servicemembers’ hopes and dreams and providing them with an atmosphere that allows them to flourish professionally and personally. Doing so will help us overcome the temptation of quiet quitting and rekindle the fire that has always driven our work.
Let us, therefore, advance hand in hand into a world in which work is seen as more than a means to an end but as an enriching tapestry that connects our individual and collective destinies. Sun Tzu’s words (quoted for another time here for emphasis), “Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy, they must have their rewards,” will one day be realized.
As we move forward, we must remember that true transformation begins on the inside. The responsibility for prioritizing job satisfaction, personal development, and pursuing one’s passions rests with each of us, as servicemembers and leaders. We can make the threat of “quiet quitting” a thing of the past and the modern workplace’s beating heart stronger by adopting this mindset and working together to create a more fulfilling and purpose-driven environment.
Major Robert “Bobby” Ali currently serves as an Interagency Fellow with the Department of Labor. During his career, Major Ali has served within the United States Military Academy, 1st Infantry Division, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, the 10th Mountain Division, 7th Signal Command, 8th Theater Support Command, and most recently the Human Resources Command. He holds a M.A. from Webster University, M.A. from Liberty University, and an M.A. from the Naval War College. He is currently a doctoral student at Liberty University.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.