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ON CHECKING OUT

Checkout:

  1. What you do when you leave the hotel and settle your bill

  2. What you do when you stop caring about a thing/process/situation/person

  3. The counter at the store where you pay for what you bought

  4. To test something for performance/suitability

  5. To die

Interesting hey. It’s what we do both when we consider whether we should invest in something, and also what we do when we have decided to stop investing time and attention. It’s a thing directly associated with the cost of use, or the upfront cost of purchase.

The only real unambiguous connotation I can see is that YOU DIE.

It reminds me of something I heard at a conference a while ago: In business, you can experiment at will. With products, channels, pricing, whatever. But there is one rule. Just DON’T DIE. Take risks. Have fun. But stop short of rolling the dice in a way that might lead you to overcommit, hit a cash crunch and have to close up shop. And this doesn’t just relate to business owners. It seems that a whole new terminology has come into the zeitgeist with regard to the great resignation.

I recently came across the term QUIET QUITTING. This is apparently a thing employees are now doing where they are not outright quitting the job, they just draw a line in the sand on how much they are willing to give, putting their own priorities first. Now I’m all for this, but it does feel like the wrong semantics. In my view, if you are not fully committed to where you are, you should just make it easier on everyone and QUIT LOUDLY. Go away. Vacate the spot for someone that is willing to give it 100%. Otherwise, you will eventually DIE in the job, and not on your own terms.

It is a bit of a metaphor for the should-I-stay-or-should-I-go angst felt by a lot of South Africans, who have the financial ability to relocate to a smaller flat and a higher tax rate somewhere else in the world, usually a spot run by white people. But instead of going for it, they fret about the decision, while quietly quitting the country in terms of enthusiasm, effort and financial investment.

QUIET QUITTING feels like another form of CHECKING OUT. Once you start mentally and emotionally checking out, whether it is to your job, your marriage, your sports team or your dinner club, it is better to just go full blast. Or make a decision. CHECK IN. Recommit, give it 100%, man give it 150%, but know that this is where you want to be and nothing less than your full effort will do.

If the QUIET QUITTING crowd means, however, that by working smarter, doing more with less time, and then drawing a firm boundary on effort/reward: Well that is something different, and I fully support a life of intentionality. But maybe we should call it something different, so it doesn’t feel like a word that describes the passive-aggressive way to get fired.

I would like to ask each and every person reading this blog to check out the thing that you might be quietly quitting for suitability and performance. If it passes muster, please start caring again, pay the bill in full and check back into the best version of you, or face a slow death by eviction.

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