Gen Zer who sparked quiet quitting trend says it wasn’t the answer

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Don’t quiet quit — just quit!

Zaid Khan inadvertently helped spur the quiet quitting trend last year when he posted a TikTok video about it, but now says it only filled him with “looming fear” and “existential dread.”

The 25-year-old was working a remote tech job while living with his parents, but wasn’t feeling fulfilled or inspired by his career choice.

He heard about quiet quitting as people first began whispering about it last year and decided to take part and pull back from work.

In his viral TikTok, which has now been viewed more than 3.6 million times, the New Yorker describes it as “quitting the idea of going above and beyond.”

But once Khan began doing the bare minimum at work, he noticed “conflicting inner feelings” that related to the “privilege” of being able to get away with underperforming in his “under the radar” role, as he explains in another TikTok video, posted about a year after his quiet quitting piece.

Zaid Khan waiting for the subway
The 25-year-old explained that quiet quitting is not quitting the job, but “quitting the idea of going above and beyond.”

He warns that quiet quitting or “jobless employment” leads to the “looming fear that you’re gonna get ‘found out’ and fired” and a “broader existential dread of ‘What am I actually doing with my life?’”

The former quiet quitter noted that for many people work consumes a good portion of their waking hours, and that for him, not caring about what he spent so much time doing made him feel like a “bad person” for not delivering.

But while Khan seems to take a bit of accountability, he still insists that “poor management is truly to blame for disengaged employees.”

“If you don’t feel like a part of a team or in some sense connected to your work, of course you’re gonna be alienated,” he said.

Zaid Khan at a concert
However, he claimed that quiet quitting only leads to the “looming fear that you’re gonna get ‘found out’ and fired” and a “broader existential dread of ‘what am I actually doing with my life?’”

In a follow-up TikTok video, he recounted how “despite being in an idyllic situation and being able to coast” at his job he “still felt this hollowness inside.”

“We’ve been so conditioned by capitalism to think that our worth has to derive from our jobs,” Khan said, adding that despite quiet quitting he still felt a “gnawing” desire to “feel fulfillment” in his job.

So after a few months of coasting in his position, he officially quit his job and took a break for a few months to “reassess what matters” to him.

The Gen Zer discovered that without spending so much of his time working an unsatisfying job, he found a renewed “zest for living.” He was able to “shift [his] focus towards life,” and communities and activities that engaged and interested him.

"Work is not your life" Khan's TikTok said
He blames “poor management” for “disengaged employees” and encourages those who can to officially quit their jobs.

“It wasn’t until I made the decision to actually leave my job that I just felt this enormous weight lifted off my shoulders,” he told Insider. “And it’s a decision that I wish more people could make, because I do think life is too short to be dissatisfied wherever you are. Because the reality is work does consume so many hours of our lives.” 

Khan did not respond to The Post’s request to comment.

While Khan pushes for fully quitting over quiet quitting, other young workers are pushing people to #ActYourWage.

 It’s part of a movement among Gen Z and millennials workers to only do what they’re paid for — and no more — and to urge their co-workers to do the same. Proponents of “Act Your Wage” see it as a way of setting firm, healthy boundaries in the workplace, but some experts warn that the new workplace attitude may be hurting employees in the long run.

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