Again and again, we’ve seen social media’s power to teach us new things, give us inspiration, and quite literally change our lives. TikTok is arguably the most influential platform that we’ve ever been introduced to as a society. In our time, we’ve seen “People Over Prime,” the movement led by Gen Z for Change to fight for fair wages for and better treatment of Amazon workers, the impact of TikTok on Aritzia sales, and so much more. Social media, specifically TikTok, has a huge grip on our society as a whole.
What is ‘quiet quitting’?
Hustle culture mentality and overworking is over. Enter “quiet quitting.” Quiet quitting is a trend taking over social media . Though it sounds like quitting a job, it doesn’t mean you’re actually putting in your two-weeks. We are, as a society, taking a hard look at workplace culture and reflecting on our relationships with our jobs. Our attitudes have shifted. We’re now more ferociously fighting for a healthy work-life balance. Perhaps, this shift was fueled by the pandemic and the rising popularity of TikTok, but speaking out on burnout and the personal sacrifices we have to make to subscribe to the hustle culture mentality would have bubbled up to the surface by now.
This much-needed greater social conversation was sparked by a TikTok video posted this past summer by TikToker Zaid K, which has now garnered 3.5M views. He notes that while he’s not physically quitting his job, he’s quitting the mentality of going above and beyond in the workplace.
TikTokers were quick to jump into the conversation, attributing to the now 141M+ views for #quietquitting on the platform. Supporters of quiet quitting are saying extra work should be extra compensated, and that we need to “act our wage.” And while it’s a trend with good intentions for mental health, there are threats of real consequences to quiet quitting in the workplace, especially in a recessionary environment. Still, we didn’t need a trend to talk about this. Burnout existed well before a catchy phrase was coined, and Gen Z weren’t the first to experience it.
Especially in the influencer and creator space, walking the fine work-life balance line can get murky. We see it in family-style YouTube channels, where family is outside of work, but also extremely intertwined with work. OG YouTubers have posted apologies for their months-long absences.
Since there is a pretty thin line between work and life as a content creator, it can be easy to tip the scale and be overwhelmed. But when you are your own brand (and especially if you’re your own brand full-time), being overwhelmed can have very real consequences.
So what is the reality of quiet quitting as a content creator?
Can content creators realistically ‘quiet quit’?
Quiet quitting is about accomplishing what’s within your job descriptions and getting done the work you need to do, without going above and beyond. But what if you’re your own boss? What if you write the rules of your day-to-day?
As a content creator, the work may feel nonstop. You are your own marketing team, finance department, HR, and more. Engagement rates, followings, and views are all top-of-mind, and never seems to disappear from consciousness. And on top of all of that, tomorrow may look a lot different than today. One day you’re hot online, and the next day you’re canceled. The fickle environment of social media is not for the faint-hearted—which is why setting clear work-life boundaries is key to succeeding as an influencer.
We interviewed Elyse Fox, Founder of Sad Girls Club, on Negronis with Nord episode 18. She references her friend's outlook on separating work from personal life can be as simple as changing your clothes. Elyse shared, “when she's on social media, she's like, this is my suit and tie. This is my work demeanor. I have to put on a suit to earn money for myself and my family. And I have to know when to take it off.”
If “quiet quitting” is not an achievable reality for content creators, then instead, we should focus on a different phrasing: how to avoid burnout and how to set healthy boundaries between your personal life and your work. Both are possible to excel in; it’s time to learn how to achieve success as a content creator and actually enjoy the ride along the way, even if it can be difficult in today’s digital world.
While quiet quitting may not be the solution, setting healthy boundaries can be.
Explore these additional resources to continue the conversation about creator burnout & mental health.