Bored, sad, and uninspired
There was once a worker who was coming to the end of their working life, or so they thought.
This worker was loyal and conscientious most of the time.
They were in a particular role within a larger organisation with some responsibility and high expertise. But they were one of many and organisationally invisible.
This worker had varied life and work experience, they had studied, and held qualifications. They were widely read, and they were interested in many things outside of their work role. They had a network of family and friends outside of the workplace. The worker had interests, dreams and ambitions but now thought their work life was closing.
Their multi-dimension was not apparent or visible. The worker had no avenue to communicate with the organisation on topics other than what was expected.
The worker came to think that perhaps the aspiration window was closed and that they ought to be thankful for their career and work quietly in the corner.
Interest is stirred
One day a new young manager was appointed to the workplace. They were starting their official management journey. The worker watched from their corner, as they had seen new managers before. With their restructures, tightening the belt, re-establishment of standards, speeches, spreadsheets, policy, process and spasmodic micromanagement on things that don’t really matter.
So the worker sat in the corner watching the new manager and waited for the flurry. It didn’t come. Instead, the worker saw the manager moving from desk to desk, person to person. The worker had seen this before as well. The emphasis is on the loud people, the bright people, and the popular. Not this time. The worker noticed this manager was speaking to everyone, giving everyone time and attention.
Then it happened. The manager arrived at the worker’s desk and the conversation started.
A conversation, a real conversation! Brief to begin with and then more nuanced and continuing into other days. Sometimes spontaneous, sometimes intentional, always engaging.
A new sense of Belonging
The worker was asked about lessons learnt from their experience in that workplace. Lessons about structure and workplace pressures, lessons about process and worker welfare.
The worker felt listened to. And something began to stir. The stirring was difficult to explain at first as it was more a feeling, an emotion, rather than something concrete. The feeling of belonging and purpose and usefulness was rising.
And then the ideas began. Ideas came from lessons learnt, work and life experience, reading, reflection, and observations.
Being noticed and heard, a sense of belonging and worthiness encouraged positive and fresh ideas. The worker came alive. Re-joined the office community. Helped the newer workers, encouraged the more experienced, and joined in the formal and informal discussions about improvement of work and welfare of workers.
The worker began to flourish.
From quiet quitting to quality contributing
The worker studied and was promoted.
Even joined a project addressing workplace culture.
The worker established a new Branch and led a team that become influencers across the whole organisation.
The worker went from sitting in the corner with limited days to an organisational influencer with a refreshed vision.
The simple act of that young manager taking time to listen and engage launched the worker from surviving to thriving.
Not all quiet quitters want to quit.