What’s trending?


There was a time when reliable newspapers provided reliable information. TV and radio picked up from it and distributed it. Amazingly, mainstream media and television programs today will pick up what is trending content from social media and distribute it to their viewers and the public.

Perhaps this observation is supported by the famous question: “What is trending now?”

There are trends in business and specifically in the field of learning and development. You see buzzwords and cliches; I have seen them come and go over the years.

• Continuous improvement/ Pursuit of Excellence

• Disciplines of Execution.

• Culture of coaching/mentorship

• Gamification

• Design thinking.

• Know Your Why.

• Pursue Your Passion, etc.

And then the pandemic happened. The trends turned toward wellness, mental health, etc. Suppose you were to ask me, “What’s trending?” I will have to say: “Quiet quitting.” Predictably, our local “experts,” “gurus,” are offering services to discuss and provide training programs for or against it.

Watching the morning news, a newscaster said that “almost 50 percent of employees in America are now practicing “quiet quitting.” But this news channel has not presented the source and the methodology of their poll and survey. I suspect they picked this up from social media too.

Quiet quittingis a trend among millennials and the early Gen Zs. Now, what is all this business about “quiet quitting?” Quiet quitters are employees choosing NOT to go above and beyond their jobs, including refusing to answer emails during evenings or weekends or skipping extra assignments that fall outside their core duties. And as predictable as the morning sun will rise again on the horizon, it will be picked up and imitated by young people in our local working communities.

The term “quiet quitting” caught fire through a TikTok video that went viral where a 24-year-old engineer Zaid Khan (zaidleppelin) from New York, said: “The reality is, it’s not, and your work does not define your worth as a person.” (paraphrased) Because not everyone can afford to quit their jobs, they opt to do “quiet quitting“ to manage their lives.

My goodness! I never realized I would live to the day when a viral TikTok video would prescribe a work philosophy that would be argued as a living reality to embrace. Locally this is in its early stage.

Many social media “experts” and “gurus” are now blaming business owners and leaders for being over-demanding and dumping work on their employees with responsibilities causing people to lose their “work-life balance.” (another trend that caught fire in the past). In fairness, I would surmise that “quiet quitting” intends to encourage people to manage their work and personal life healthily and correctly. And managers and bosses should develop their leadership skills to respect this. Still, the thought that you and I would deliver the bare minimum would be a gold standard for life and work philosophy is illogical and ridiculous.

I was asked about my views on “quiet quitting” in a podcast interview. My response was: “I have been in the company of some of the most successful people in business, arts, profession, music, education, etc. Give me just ONE example of those who have succeeded and practiced “quiet quitting.” You cannot find one.

Work is a platform that shapes our character, and it DOES define our life and our being. Delivering the bare minimum, when maintained over time, would position the person into a poor state of “not too good to be promoted and not too bad to be terminated.” It also opens up tremendous opportunities for those who excel. It would not be too hard to notice their drive for excellence and hard work leading to opportunities for advancements and promotions.

But this is not even the main point. Shipping out “average and bare minimum work” deprives the person of worth and meaning in life. We derive meaning and worth from the quality of our work, making successful people succeed. Just consider this: The most meaningful day you have that gives you elation even though the labor was difficult is the same day when you are most creative and produce excellent work.

As I have consistently claimed in my writings and training seminars: “Yes, you may have a job but never fall into the illusion that you are working for somebody else.” Enough said.

I wonder what new life and work philosophy will come out of YouTube and TikTok the next time and what the “experts” and the “gurus“ will say about it.



(Francis Kong runs his highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership 2.0 Master Class Online this Oct. 25-27. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph


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