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Quiet quitting, meet quiet firing

Just when you thought it was safe to quiet quit, your employer may be blessing you out the door

A FEW WEEKS ago, we covered quiet quitting ― then a new trend, primarily on TikTok, of mostly young workers rebranding work-to-rule as a quiet rebellion against a professional culture that expects more than is expressly agreed upon in a work contract.

In the weeks that followed, quiet quitting really became the topic du jour, with just about every HR expert, LinkedIn poster and even Kevin O’Leary ― Mr. Wonderful himself ― piping in with their thoughts. It was as if, for the first time, the massive gulfs between young and old in attitudes towards labour were dragged out into the public and debated. It was exhausting.

Not surprisingly, it is now spawning new iterations, and the latest is quiet firing ― defined (roughly) as employers making working conditions miserable, never offering raises, promotions or added compensation until an employee up and quits.  

But while quiet quitting is a newish thing for bosses to consider, quiet firing is nothing new to employees. A LinkedIn poll found that 80 per cent of workers have seen quiet firing in action, and just shy of 40 per cent feel they themselves have been quietly fired.

In material terms, quiet firing is likely a more negative practice than quiet quitting, and certainly creates liability for employers. Reputationally, “if a management or organization is aware that these tactics are in place and aware of their outcomes, the fault lies with them,” said Cara de Lang, CEO of Softer Success. “They risk losing incredible employees, having a negative employer reputation and effectively damaging the work their company produces.”

But legally, it can be problematic when used to fire someone without actually firing them. Just as quiet quitting was a rebrand of work-to-rule, quiet firing is really just a rebrand of a constructive dismissal ― and those can (and have) landed employers in hot water with the courts. Kieran Delamont


Drowning in a sea of apps

We’re wasting so much time toggling between apps, its a miracle any work gets done at all

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IF YOU HAD to guess how many individual times you switch between two apps in a workday, what would you guess: 100? 200? 500?

What if we told you it was nearly 1,200?

That’s the number that researchers looking at employees of three Fortune 500 companies found ― and although each switch might be quick, that time adds up to people spending nearly 10 per cent of their work time switching between applications and reorienting themselves.

“We found that after 65 per cent of switches, users toggled to yet another app less than 11 seconds later. In other words, the time spent on an application is not significantly higher than the tax paid for toggling over to it,” write the researchers in the Harvard Business Review. “The result is that users are being asked to constantly refocus, and their attention spans are fragmented, which leads to them being depleted.”

Other stats back up the idea that workers, and their productivity, are drowning in a sea of apps. On average, most workers require four apps at work, and a fifth of them are using six or more. One report from RingCentral found that 69 per cent of workers “waste up to an hour of productivity each day just navigating their workplace communications apps.”

Another study by Qatalog found that 45 per cent of workers feel less productive because of this constant switching. It is bad, and remote work is making it worse.

“People need to be able to say no to the collaboration mafia,” writes Larry Dingan. “I think the real answer to this collaboration nirvana is really discipline. Turn this mess off.” Kieran Delamont

Terry Talks: Now more than ever, its critical to Desuckify Work

From the anti-work movement to mass terminations via Zoom, the summer of 2022 uncovered a lot of negative things about the employee-employer dynamic. It showed us that, in many cases, our workplaces and practices, well...they suck. Funny, articulate and provocative, Desuckify Work provides insight into why your organization may not be firing on all cylinders, and more importantly what you can do about it in a practical manner not found in other business books. 



The rising appeal of apprenticeships

Apprenticeship programs are gaining traction as a generation rethinks traditional educational pathways

FOR DECADES, A university degree was ― rightly or wrongly ― seen as the gold standard to set oneself up for a good career. But as a result of

low post-graduate incomes, soaring student debts and growing unaffordability for young workers, this is changing ― and apprenticeships are on the rise.

“Interest in apprenticeships has been steadily growing over the past 10 years, alongside similar growth in the number of apprenticeships and apprenticeship expansion grants,” said Annelies Goger of the Brookings Institute.

Here in Canada, where a recent 3M Canada study found that there is a high demand for skilled trades workers, a turn towards more apprenticeships could be a major boon for the economy.

“It is no secret that skilled tradespeople are in high demand right now,” writes Dr. Larry Rosia, president and CEO of Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Official estimates bear this out, with the federal government predicting that there will be 17,000 new carpentry jobs, 16,000 new cook jobs, 10,000 new welder jobs and 10,000 auto technician jobs in just the next four years ― and that’s only counting those four fields.

But what’s maybe more interesting is where that demand is coming from: workers who otherwise might have gone the white-collar route. “These workers, despite their talent and promise, have few options to advance,” said Connor Diemand-Yauman, co-CEO of nonprofit Merit America. “When they look at college, they see programs that are often too long, too expensive, too inflexible.”

The flipside of the increasing interest in apprenticeships is a decreasing faith in the white collar, professional sector, which university degrees commonly feed into. And given all the talk of quiet quitting and quiet firing, perhaps it should serve as a wakeup call about what kind of opportunities the professional sector is actually offering to young people. Kieran Delamont

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Business travel is dead. Will it ever come back?

The pandemic knocked out business travel ― now its future is up in the air 

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TOURISTS MAY BE flooding airports and pushing them past their breaking points, but business travellers sure aren’t. A new report from the Global Business Travel Association found that while 2021 saw a modest 5.5 per cent uptick in business travel compared to 2020, it was still not even recovered to half of the $1.4 trillion spent in 2019. And what’s more, they don’t ever expect it to.

“It’s undeniable now that business travel will never return to a pre-pandemic normal,” reads another report from Morning Consult. Two in five American business travellers say they’ll never do any business travelling again. A whopping 49 per cent of Canadian, and 58 per cent of French workers, say the same.

The reasons, as you can imagine, are obvious: Zoom. Remote work. The pandemic, etc., etc. It has some frequent fliers reconsidering not only how they will travel in the future, but the ways they travelled in the past, and whether they were really all they were made out to be.

“After a year of videoconferencing and suffering little for it, I look back on the profligacy of my pre-pandemic air travel with embarrassment,” wrote the New York Times’ Farhjad Manjoo last year. “How many of those trips would have been unnecessary if I’d only Zoomed? My estimate runs somewhere between most and all. Aviation is a modern miracle; it is also expensive, annoying and environmentally costly. We can all afford to be much more judicious about traveling for work, even if Zoom isn’t perfect.” Kieran Delamont


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