Quiet quitting — a.k.a. workers doing only as much as they’re paid for — is a positive development in the ongoing employees-vs-management battle. But in our pandemic exhaustion, why limit the approach to just our jobs? We’re being asked to do way too much outside the 9-to-5, too.
It’s time for a revolution — a quiet one. Quiet parenting. Quiet dieting. Quiet laundry. It’s time to lower expectations . . . quietly.
Quiet co-parenting: A must for every parent who unfailingly enrolls in all the activities, remembers the passwords, scans the 10-page school newsletter for pertinent information, maintains the family Google calendar, and signs up in January for fall sports. In this scenario, one simply stops. Do not open the e-mails. Stop color-coding the calendars. Assume your co-parent will pursue the activities and classes. Neglect all administrative familial tasks until your children find themselves unenrolled in school, lacking a recent physical or vaccinations, with absolutely no extracurricular activities on the calendar, save only bocce and table tennis for jazz fans available as last-minute options. When questioned by your loved ones about how this could have possibly happened, simply say, “But I thought someone else was in charge.” See also: quiet divorce.
Quiet cooking: TikTok food influencers and people who say “food is love” notwithstanding, making dinner every night is a schlep. It’s time for quiet cooking. So no one becomes suspicious, start with dishes that involve pre-washed, pre-cut, and pre-cooked items that you home-assemble, then move to pre-assembled dishes that require home-heating, and then slip into an all-DoorDash diet. Those who complain should feel free to assume cooking duties.
Quiet grooming: If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that self-care and personal hygiene are overrated. Sloth is easier, more comfortable, and truly its own reward. While you once plucked your eyebrows into submission, your chin hairs are now in a race to see which one curls first. You shower every third day, and only then if you have to see people for longer than 20 minutes or if gently spoken to by HR. Your once-shimmering highlights are fading faster than Olivia Wilde’s career. Your body has morphed into the shape of a sweat pant. Life is good.
Quiet offloading: Who needs the aggravation of meeting a friend for coffee to hash out long-simmering resentments? Even if you’ve known this person since third grade and they were present at the birth of your first child, it’s far easier to do the logical thing: slowly, passively, maddeningly vanish. Begin by declining invitations with ill-considered excuses (laundry, Hulu, forest-chanting, tending to depressed gerbil). Next, respond only to every fourth text. Finally, cease liking their Instagram posts and consider your duty fulfilled.
Quiet quitting (wine): The bad news about alcohol is getting harder to ignore, with seemingly endless headlines like, “Sorry, wine lovers. No amount of alcohol is good for you, study says.” But with all that’s going on in the world, now is not the ideal time to actually quit quit — it’s better to quiet quit. In the morning, vow that you are going to cut back and get psyched about the new healthier you. Bask in the praise and envy of friends. At 5, start craving chardonnay. Google until you find a study showing that the amount you drink doesn’t raise your chance of cancer or adverse brain effects by that much. Confirm your desire to quit, but maybe starting tomorrow, and with generous exceptions (at a restaurant, date night, when “White Lotus” comes back) as you pour a glass of wine.
Quiet wealth-building: As the pandemic raged, you were slyly socking away money into a super-secret IRA supplemented by the demise of several key relatives. As friends complained about job loss and inflation, you pretended to play along — oh, it was just easier that way! — while gleefully checking your bank balance and plotting your next move: buying an oceanfront manor and posting about it in a series of #blessed Instagram stories while your circle of soon-to-be-ex-friends seethes with a cocktail of bewilderment and envy.
Quiet socializing: Are there too many demands on your time? Do you look back with nostalgia at the lockdown? Try quiet socializing, in which every potential threat (a.k.a. invite) is met with enthusiasm — “I’d love to!” — but also with a dodge. “I’m crazy busy now, but definitely after Labor Day,” can flow into, “Once the kids get settled in school,” which brings you to, “After the holiday madness,” and “For sure in spring!” which takes you to next summer, when, “We’ll be away, but definitely when we get back!” will roll right off your tongue.