- Georgia Gadsby March worked up to 60 hours a week at a minimum wage job for about two years.
- She has been “quietly quitting” for the past three months to regain her power and start a business in the process.
- Here’s why she did it and how she got away with “silently quitting,” as Jyoti Mann was told.
This essay is based on a conversation with Georgia Gadsby March, co-founder and PR director at Unearth PR, about “silent quitting”. The concept recently surfaced on social media and has been widely covered by the mainstream press. It gained momentum after Insider published a story about “coastal culture” in March. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
I got a job as a marketing assistant at a retail company in 2019. It was advertised as an admin support role in conjunction with the head of marketing, but I was given a lot more responsibility than the job posting described.
I’ve been tasked with managing multi-million pound budgets and leading massive communications strategies. I had the workload of someone in senior management. I worked long hours and worked overtime, but only received a very modest salary.
Workload was not considered and I was given ridiculous KPIs and goals to achieve. I felt like I had no choice but to complete the tasks assigned to me and work overtime. I often received a call from management on weekends and vacations. It felt like that was an expectation of the role.
It had a huge impact on the way I lived my life, especially when I was earning such a low salary and not being properly compensated. I could barely pay my rent and bills.
There was always this idea that hard work got you a promotion or a raise, but those things never materialized. There was no way to advance. It was a classic case of a toxic company taking advantage of people.
I was told that the company does not have the budget to compensate me for the extra hours and effort. So in February 2021 I felt like I had to “quiet quietly”. Either do that or keep working the 60-hour week. It wasn’t fair and I wasn’t willing to do it anymore. Quiet Quiet was a way to get my strength back.
I’ve been pretty upfront and direct about “quiet quitting.” I told my manager that I could not continue to work at this level without proper compensation. They didn’t really have a leg to stand on because companies can’t force you to work beyond your contracted hours.
When you “quiet quietly” you’ve gotten to the point where you just don’t care. For me, that meant spending half an hour in the break room chatting with colleagues. Other times I’d let the phone ring three or four times before answering.
Quiet Quiet for three months gave me back the time to start my own business. During this time I founded a company with my wife – an agency for brand awareness. The company I worked for threw me in at the deep end and I learned a lot. I put all this knowledge into starting my own business in April 2019. I’ve regained my power and decided to make money for myself instead.
I worked less and they couldn’t really say anything but I received microaggressions from management about why I left at 5pm or being told I was going for a long lunch even though I was gone an hour.
I would make time to reply to emails or be five minutes late from lunch. There’s a saying in our industry that “it’s PR, not ER,” so it wasn’t the end of the world when I met the minimum requirements for the job. It improved my mental health.
Quiet Quiet is really beneficial for workers who feel undervalued. It’s not something I would recommend if you have a long career in a company and want to get promoted.
But it can be a way to set healthy work-life boundaries, especially if you work hard and aren’t rewarded with raises or promotions.