Should you “Quiet Quit?”

It seems a new phrase is trending out there in the Twittersphere or Tik Tok world for #quietquitting. I saw it this morning on a Buzzfeed article that popped up in my Apple newsfeed. According to the article, quiet quitting is “where you’re not outright quitting your job but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond”.

The older I get, the more it seems there’s really nothing new under the sun. To me this seems like the natural progression of putting in efforts to a job that doesn’t give back and the logical response to the situation. This isn’t really a new idea but the name “quiet quitting” seems like a fair label for the behavior.

If you are career driven and hoping to progress at your job or get decent merit increases it does help to do more than just the bare minimum. But what about when you’ve given years of effort and dedication to a job and the job never gives back? Perhaps it is then time to “quiet quit”.

This really isn’t a new idea. You could call it slacking, phoning it in, putting in minimum effort but doing so is good only if it’s part of a larger plan.

Is Quiet Quitting OK?

Is it ok to NOT put in the maximum effort? I suppose the answer to that depends. Let me share some personal anecdotes. I personally have met people that have worked at a company for over 15 years and stayed in the same position. And this is for a job title that did have a “senior” position. The senior position typically just means a bit more responsibility than when you entered the position with a higher midpoint range of pay ie a decent pay bump. For these people I know, the senior position never arrived.

Now perhaps people are content with never advancing in a company and I can understand that. But if you’re clear that you’ll never get a promotion (which should become clear by year 10), and you know that your salary will remain fairly stagnant with just the regular merit increase/cost of living adjustments, that would seem to take away incentive to really “go the extra mile”. Because if you do what is the reward?

If you’re content with staying put in a position that’s fine. But if you want more, I would certain consider the “quiet quitting” method and dedicate my efforts to a job search to find something better. What’s the worst that could happen? Well if your employer who doesn’t want to give you a chance at advancement decides to let you go, you’ll get unemployment and can dedicate more time to the job search.

dog mask

Could CORONAVIRUS Be the Catalyst for a Work from Home Revolution?

By now, you’ve likely heard of the Covid-19 virus or as it’s commonly called, the Coronavirus. It’s spreading exponentially and infecting humans around the world and even potentially a dog.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2,[8] a virus closely related to the SARS virus.[9][10][11] The disease is the cause of the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak.[12][13] It passes from one person to others via respiratory droplets produced from the airways, often during coughing or sneezing.[14][15] Time from exposure to onset of symptoms is generally between 2 and 14 days.[16][17]Hand washing, maintaining distance from people who are coughing, and not touching one’s face with unwashed hands are recommended to prevent the disease.[18] It is recommended to cover one’s nose and mouth with a bent elbow when coughing.[18]


The CDC and doctors like Dr. Agus in the video here are saying that it’s no longer a matter of if but when the virus will become local and quarantines will happen.

If you’re looking to monitor the virus counts you can do so here or by checking out the embedded info below.

Work from Home Schedules and the Coronavirus

While this has been horrible news for investors and the stock market has continued to tumble, there could be a silver lining to a pandemic. This could force companies to consider and implement full-time work from home schedules.

The Decision

As the virus spreads and quarantines start to happen, it will become clear that for most, staying at home unless it’s absolutely necessary to leave will be the best course of action to slow the spread. Look to Wuhan to see how the city essentially shut down and people stayed in their homes.

For many workers that have remote work capability, it will become clear that if you can work from home you should. I’m sure company management doesn’t want to responsible for facilitating the spread of the virus and allowing full-time work from home is the best way to prevent that.

Could Government Mandate Work from home?

Governments are definitely concerned with the stability of the economy and keeping as many people working as possible should be a top priority. If an office employee gets sick and spreads it to coworkers, you can end up with entire teams sick and that halts the company.

I could definitely imagine governments mandating companies to implement temporary work from home requirements for all eligible employees in the interest of stopping the spread of the illness and helping to sustain the economy.

Long Term Repercussions

In the event of widespread full-time work from home schedules being implemented, it’s very possible that employers will finally realize the financial benefits that go along with such a setup. The virus could act as a catalyst for change forcing employers to implement policies. If they work well, employers may find little reason to return to the old way of doing things.

Employer Savings

  • Immediate cost savings reflected in electric bills
  • Companies may at last consider the savings of closing the office and getting rid of their office leases
  • No longer needing to maintain a local network and the IT staff that goes with it.
  • Elimination in office equipment costs
  • Insurance costs that go along with maintaining an office
  • Some employees might even be willing to accept a slight pay cut in exchange for working from home full-time which would allow them to cut costs considerably.

Employee Savings

Employers aren’t the only beneficiaries of a full-time work from home implementation. Consider the following:

  • Elimination of the commute will result in significant fuel savings and with grocery delivery available, many frugal folks may decide to evaluate if they really even need a car anymore.
  • Reducing the need or desire to eat out for lunch will help us save on food budgets
  • Less of a need for office-based attire and the dry cleaning bills that might go with it

Societal Benefits

There would be societal benefits to working from home as well. Consider the following changes.

  • The change in traffic flows could greatly improve the gridlock that occurs during rush hour in the morning and evening.
  • Significantly fewer cars on the road are likely to have a positive impact on the environment and air we breathe.
  • We’ll all have a bit more time if we aren’t spending it preparing for work and commuting to work.

How would a full-time work from home schedule benefit you?

Are you working for free?

Are you working for free? I hope you value your time enough not to do so. Believe it or not, it’s possible you might be working for free without even realizing it. This is true if you work for a company that has a “use it or lose it” PTO policy and you don’t use all your PTO.

A lot of people tend to think of PTO or “paid time off” as being time. After all, we typically accrue it by the hour. But I believe a more accurate perspective is to consider PTO as money in a “savings account” which you earn and which accrues as you work.

Typically you accrue a certain amount of PTO per pay period or per month. And often if you separate from your employer, that PTO balance will often be paid out to you. It’s like taking a withdrawal from your savings account of these earnings.

Without PTO, in most cases, if you don’t work, you simply don’t get paid. PTO acts as a form of retained earnings in a savings account which is tapped to supplement your actual earnings at paycheck time. This ensures your paycheck is in line with your typical paycheck even if you spent a week in Tahiti and didn’t do a minute of work.

One thing to be wary of is the “use it or lose it” PTO policy. It’s like having the company empty your savings account at the end of the year if you didn’t use it. These dollars are yours and you should collect them by taking a day off.

If you don’t use your PTO you can consider it in two ways. Your savings account is being zeroed out. Or you could consider that your working X number of days for free. (You still would have got paid had you not worked).

Don’t Do This!

Let me be clear. DO NOT WORK FOR FREE! Have more respect for your own time. Generally, it’s a pretty good practice to accept the pay and benefits that a company offers you as part of your employment agreement. Imagine the employee that arranges to decline their pay. “I like working here so much you don’t need to pay me!”. Well, this is unlikely to happen. Yet it’s not uncommon for employees to pass up some of their benefits like paid time off. The company is arranging to pay them for time not worked, but they are declining?

Take a break. Your literally earned it.

Why Would People Do This?

It’s pretty irrational to work for free. Even the most dedicated workaholics aren’t that gung ho and altruistic to donate their time to the company for no benefit.

It’s likely that many do it out of insecurity or trying to keep face. Their thinking might be:

  • I’m not that valuable to the company and if I take time off maybe they will decide to get rid of me.
  • I want to create the impression that I am a die-hard worker that never takes a break.

In my opinion, this is nonsense. If your company might get rid of you for taking some time off, then it’s not likely a place you should want to work in the first place. Take a look at European time off.

This or the cubicle. Trouble deciding?

If you want to create the impression that you are a dedicated employee that is too committed to the company to ever take time off, consider that burn out is a real thing. Assuming your job isn’t the only thing you’re living for, time off often truly is invigorating and can recharge you.

I tend to take off a couple of weeks or so to disconnect and I can confirm that by the end of my vacation, I’m typically recharged and at some point actually miss the office. During this time of disconnecting you can often get a more broad perspective of your work and have some true insights from taking a step back.

So if you have a use it or lose it PTO policy, please do us all a favor and drop the facade..take the much needed time off.

apple watch photo

50 Hour Work Weeks? Not Even Close to Worth it.

How many of you work in a corporate office that has a culture where getting ahead requires “playing the game” You know what I’m talking about right? Keeping up appearances. Showing up early. Working late. Regardless of the actual amount of work done, you need to put in the time, be there, and appear busy.

There are probably some corporate soldiers out there that are happy to burn the midnight oil out of pure altruism motivated by nothing other than the success of the company. But I suspect most are putting in the hours only to boost appearances and their chances at a better merit increase, bonus, or hopes or promotion. But here’s my question: “Is it worth it?” Let’s analyze the return on this time investment.

Imagine you’re working a corporate job with a respectable middle of the road salary. In this case, let’s say you’re a bit above the median income and that you make $65,000. Employers typically have an annual performance review process, and in the end, you’re rewarded with a merit increase for your diligent efforts. A true meritocracy. Or is it?

If you’re a fairly low-effort mediocre employee, as long as you don’t attract too much negative attention to yourself, you’re still likely to earn around a 2.5% merit increase every year

I’ve worked in HR and seen some of the politics behind performance review scores and how they align to merit increases. As an HR professional, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

If you’re a fairly low-effort mediocre employee, as long as you don’t attract too much negative attention to yourself, you’re still likely to earn around a 2.5% merit increase every year. Now, this isn’t a fantastic merit increase, and with increasing benefit costs and inflation, you might not even be breaking even. So it makes sense to put in more effort in hopes of getting a better merit increase right?

Well, how much better? Based on this graph from, you would have to be in the top 4 percentile to exceed a 5% increase. For your extra hours and effort, you’re going to have a chance at a 5% merit increase. Of course, there are exceptions out there, but this is what the data is showing on average.

If we figure that Joe slacker can achieve a 2.5% annual merit increase, then our dedicated corporate worker bee that grinds away tirelessly all year long and squeezes out a 5% merit increase achieves a marginal increase ?2.5% over Joe Slacker.

So while it’s not guaranteed, our dedicated worker has a decent chance at a 5% merit increase which has is a 2.5% marginal improvement over our hypothetical slacker.

Let’s do some granular analysis over what our dedicated worker is contributing and what he’s getting in return.

The Effort

So let’s do a bit of speculation on what is likely required to achieve this marginal 2.5%. You’re going to need to be a dedicated hard working employee that not only does his job very well but also presents as a hard-working dedicated employee. It’s not enough to be a great worker and do your job well.? ?Many of us could wrap up our duties and do a bit extra and from time to time be able to take off at 4:00 on a Friday afternoon. But how does this present to the boss and your coworkers?

Even if you’ve completed all your work, you need to stay and appear busy. No one wants to be the first to call it a day.? In short, you’re going to need to put in more hours and face time.

The joys of the busy commute.
Over the course of a year, that’s about 318 extra hours of work or time that isn’t your own personal free time.? At least you can listen to a podcast during your commute.

But how much?? Well assuming that our diligent worker bee takes a one week vacation once a year, he’ll be working 255 days a year.? Joe Slacker is putting in his 8 hours, and then he’s out the door. But our over-achiever is more likely to come in 30 minutes earlier than Joe Slacker. And he’s likely to stay another 45 minutes later at the end of the day grinding out spreadsheets or sifting through email or just looking busy. He’s donating an extra 1.25 hours of his day towards the cause of excellence and a better merit increase. That’s about 318 additional hours of “work”.

The Payoff

This extra effort and time aren’t for naught (hopefully) and our faithful, dedicated employee is likely to earn a higher merit increase.? So back to our corporate employee. He started at $65,000 for an annual salary. Joe slacker did also and got bumped up an additional 2.5% and now is at $66,625. But our high effort employee got a 5% increase and is now sitting at $68,250.

For the extra efforts of 318 hours of above and beyond office work, our dedicated employee yields an extra $1,625 per year before taxes.? ?This amounts to working these hours for $5.11/hour before tax.

For the extra efforts of 318 hours of above and beyond office work, our dedicated employee yields an extra $1,625 per year before taxes. This amounts to working these hours for $5.11/hour before tax. After-tax, it’s likely a bit under $4/hour. But is it worth it to hand over your personal time for under minimum wage? If you stay with a company for many years eventually these merit increases start to compound but it’s something worth considering.

It might be time to instead consider freelancing or starting up a business? In my opinion, you’d be better off just picking up a side hustle or doing some freelance for just a few hours a week. This also puts you in a better situation should you ever get downsized. I’m just saying.

An Ode to “Office Space”

Recently, the movie “Office Space”, had its 20 year reunion. Cheers and thank you Mike Judge for this fantastic cult classic.

I still remember watching the movie Office Space with my buddies back in college. It seemed to get funnier every time we watched. I had yet to even set foot in a cubicle, but somehow a truth about life seemed to resonate with us even as students.

Little did I know how well this movie exuded so many of the truths of working life.

I’ve never been one to know all the lines from a movie, but I think I can recite the whole script for this one. So many good nuggets in the movie Office Space and many relevant to Financial Independence.

“Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements.”

Peter Gibbons in the movie Office Space

Peter laments that we need to spend our life sitting in cubicles often doing ultimately meaningless bureaucratic paper pushing. The truth about how vapid company mission statements are to the majority of rank and file employees …

And of course Bill Lumberg’s iconic…”umm yeahhhhhh”. So perfect.

Somehow I find his character more devious and even funnier knowing that Gary Cole, the actor behind the Lumbergh character, actually played a family killing mass murder in a tv mini-series back in the 80’s. The TV movie was called “Fatal Vision”. I recall watching annually with mom and always caught up in the horror drama. Sometime back I went and revisited the movie and it holds up fairly well for being an 80’s horror drama based on a true story. Check it out if you can.

And then of course, there is Milton. Milton’s stapler was the pen name I used when I started this blog and some of my posts still show it. Somehow most offices seem to have a Milton.

What would you say you DO here?

“Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late. I use the side door – that way, Lumbergh can’t see me. After that, I sorta space out for an hour…I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I’m working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I’d say, in a given week, I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual work.”

Peter in “Office Space”

We Need a Reboot

A current retrospective

Times have changed. Many office workers are now no longer sitting in cubicles but instead lined up like pigs at the trough in a trend that should have died out called “open seating”. An Office Space reboot could should the daily struggle of working alongside our peers that may or may not have good hygiene.

““So, I was sitting in my cubicle today and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So, that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”

Peter again in “Office Space”

I’m doubtful that reboot would ever happen but I’ve heard that the TV show Silicon Valley is in some ways the followup to “Office Space” for the modern times.

Lastly, we’ve got to hand it to Milton Waddams played brilliantly by Steven Root. The squirrly mumbling guy that is slowly building up rage. Here’s to you Milton.

And then Mr. Lumbergh told me to talk to payroll, and payroll told me to talk to Mr. Lumbergh and and and I still haven’t received my paycheck and he took my stapler, and he never brought it back and then they moved my desk to storage room B and there was garbage on it, and I really don’t appreciate garbage…

Milton Waddams in Office Space

So in honor of Milton, why not pick up a red Swingline stapler? Ah yeah I guess who staples things anymore.

7 Signs You Don’t Belong in an Office

Now you might argue that maybe no humans truly belong in an office. I’m not sure our bodies were designed to sit and stare at screens for eight hours a day. Nevertheless, some people do seem to thrive in the cubicle culture. But for some of us, it seems to go against every fiber of our being, that we simply don’t belong in the 9 to 5. Here are seven signs that you don’t belong in the traditional 9 to 5 office.

1. You are Nocturnal

You seem to come alive in the late evening, brimming with ideas and creativity. Going to bed at anything earlier than 11:00 PM seems absurd to you and as such, waking up early is a grueling task. You can’t seem to understand the morning people that get up at 4 am and have already gone for a run, washed their car, and done a load of laundry before they get out the door at 6:30 am.

2. You Hate Office Politics

You’ve concluded that office politics just isn’t a game you want to play and realize this decision is limiting your career potential. Maybe it’s that you need to spend more time outside the office going to after work social hour. Perhaps it’s feigning an interest in corporate town hall meetings where the speaker drone on about corporate culture and synergy and leveraging but you know they aren’t really saying anything of meaning.

3. You Feel Like You Have No Time

It’s not an uncommon feeling. Most people might figure the work week consists of about 40 hours a week but it’s often more. If your lunch doesn’t count towards your hours, it could be closer to 45 hours. If you’re putting in extra hours, maybe it’s 50 to 60 hours of work.

But it doesn’t end there. Is your commute time really yours? Maybe let’s throw another 5 hours of your time out the window. Although is your morning prep time for work really your time? If you find yourself rushing to get showered, dressed, eat a quick breakfast and have coffee, gather your things and then head out, it doesn’t really seem like your time does it?

4. Having to Socialize with People You Didn’t Choose as Friends Doesn’t Appeal to You.

The workplace consists of people for better or for worse. And sometimes you have characters you work with that aren’t someone you would choose to spend time with if given a choice. But having a choice isn’t a luxury for office workers have.

If the idea of having to hear Bobby from accounting’s story about how they won a ping-pong tournament in 1992 for the 10th time makes you feel like leaving, it’s possible you’re not built to be an office socializer.

5. You Get a Strong Sense Your Work is Meaningless

You’ve dissected the way the team works and you have come to the conclusion that your job just exists to justify another head for your manager to manager. You’re running reports that no one is actually looking at. You find yourself filling out TPS reports that on the surface might seem to measure activity but you understand that the effort and time measuring the activity is just as big a waste of time as any potential efficiency that this could possibly provide.  In short, it’s a  house of cards that somehow seems to make enough money to keep people paid and stay in business.

6. You Feel Like Your Life is Just Running A Script Over and Over

Get up at the same time every day. Shower, get ready, and head out the door.  You head out for the same commute. Then you drive by the same places. You start to recognize some of the cars your sitting in traffic since it’s the same crowd patiently queing up to head to their offices.

Once you get to work the script continues to execute. Then you check your email. Run through the same tasks you did the day or week before. Say hi to the same people. You get the point. Essentially you are longing for a more dynamic life experience where each day doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of the day before it.

7.  You Are Noticing Your Health is Starting to Suffer

You sit in a car on the way to work.  You mostly sit all day in the office for 8 to 10 hours.  You sit on your commute home. You arrive at home tired without much energy and end up sitting on the couch to watch Netflix before retiring to bed. You’re certain that with more time you could make it to the gym, go for walks, and live a healthy lifestyle, but office work just doesn’t seem to be conducive to you being your best self.  The office is making you a bit sick.

What Can You Do?

It’s time to start making a plan to break free from office life. How can this be done? The Financial Independence movement has some great ideas. Here are a few ways to earn money outside the office that are worth checking out.

Leave the Country and Teach English

Start a Blog

Start Earning Money Writing

Teach English Online

More Strategies to Earn

Old man

3 Reasons Your Office Job is Killing You.

Have you ever taken a look at some of the folks that have hung around an office a bit too long and made it all the way to traditional retirement age?   It’s not always a pretty sight.  Maybe getting fired from your job is a blessing in disguise.   Work takes its toll.  Decades of sitting at a desk for 8 to 9 hours a day does things to your posture.  The endless motivational office sweets result in extra pounds.

Not good for the physique.  Let’s look at ways office life is slowly killing you.

Sitting all Day

You typical office job will have you at a desk for about 8 to 9 hours a day with maybe a few brief moments of activity for bathroom breaks or to go to a meeting.   Taking lunch is an option typically available, but these days a lot of office workers are too focused on “Being a Brand Ambassador” for the company and maintaining that image of not lifting your nose from the grindstone.   Setting aside the fact that this often isn’t worth it from a pay perspective, we also ought to consider the additional cost to our health.

Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” -Ghandi

Mayo Clinic reports risks from sitting include:

  • cardiovascular problems
  • obesity
  • posture problems

If you must continue to grind it out at the office, do everything you can to get up and walk around as much as possible.  Frequent breaks and trips to the restroom are a strategy.   Get out and walk during lunch.   Some coworkers and your boss could judge you but it’s your body and it’s your right and responsibility to move around and stay healthy.   What’s the worst that can happen?  They might fire you.  Well, you could file for unemployment.


Lack of exercise

It’s true that work doesn’t take up all your waking hours.  So we can all exercise after work right?   Well, work can take up more then you think.   While we might be at work for 8 to 9 hours, other work-related things are grabbing a bit more of our time.

  • From the time you wake up until you arrive at work, you’re typically spending your time in preparation of work.  Showering, shaving, making yourself pretty.   Getting in a quick breakfast if there’s time and then hitting the road to do battle with traffic in order to arrive at your palace of productivity.    The time required for this typically ranges from around 30 minutes to two hours for most of us.   It’s not so easy to squeeze in exercise during this time, but if you can you’ll be better off
  • After work ends, we’ve got the dreaded 5 o’clock traffic commute home which can range from 20 minutes to an hour for most.   After this, there’s some time for exercise but most will be ready to make or buy dinner.

Exercise isn’t impossible here but the point, I’m getting at is that we often dedicate around 10 to 11 hours a day towards doing our office job and then the few hours left before bed have left us needing some time to unwind, relax, or enjoy ourselves which makes exercise fall off the list of priorities.

The Office Diet

Looking around many offices, you’ll see….well…not the same levels of health you’ll find from swimsuits.   Different shapes and sizes and lumps right?    It’s mostly attributed to the office diet.   Quick lunches from fast food drive-throughs.   Bringing processed crappy food.   Snacking from vending machines.   And of course, the infamous office snacks that are typically brought:  Cake, muffins, chocolate, candies, etc etc.


So What to do?

How can we maintain good health while working in an office?   Well if you’ve recently been fired, this is at least something you can be happy about.  You’ll no longer be sitting down for eight hours a day letting the body fall apart.    Get out and exercise and move around.   Spend your days cooking healthy food and enjoying your day.   But for the rest of us.. here are just a few ideas.

Compression Socks

It could be time to consider some countermeasures.   Have you ever heard of compression socks?   Images of old men with socks pulled up to their knees come to mind.   Well, these socks are designed to basically be very tight and the pressure they exert on the lower legs improves blood pressure and prevents clouting while improving circulation around the body.  This is especially helpful if you’re having to sit for 8 hours a day.  They’re also great for if you’re traveling long distances by planes.   They actually don’t have to be styled like old man socks and professional runners wear them as well.  (This made me feel a bit less old about getting a pair..ohh shoot did I just tell people I own a pair..err).  Here’s what they look like and where to get a good priced pair at Amazon.

Take Walks

It kind of goes without saying, but put yourself first.   Without regard to what your company cultures likes, get up as often as feasible to walk around.  Walk on your lunch.   Hit the bathroom or go to meetings as much as your freedom allows.


Consider a standing desk.

These days companies are a bit more concerned about their employee’s health. (Or concerned about potential future backlash and lawsuits by neglecting health.) .  There is at least some chance your employer may provide you with a standing desk.   If they don’t there’s still the option of purchasing one for your home so at least you can do some computer work while standing.   Reasonable options exist.

Say “NO” to the Office Sweets

It takes willpower but the sugary snacks most offices promote to pick you up in the afternoon cost you in terms of weight gain and health decline.    Bring some healthy food to snack on instead.  It will improve your health and probably be better for your pocketbook as well.

Consider Freelancing

Consider freelancing as you move towards achieving FI.   There’s still money to be made from blogging also.  I’m three months into it and have generated a few hundred dollars so far.