So... an alternative view.
Let's start by looking at the data everyone is quoting. A reasonable statistician might look at that and say "that data looks noisy, yet consistent." You can look at it another way and go... "dafuq are they bitching about." Especially if you pair it with its usual counterpart
But clearly, work sucks now. So how do you make it newsworthy?
They tried talking about "healthcare worker burnout." That shit's real. We know more pediatricians retiring this year than pediatricians staying in business. Our local hospital tried to shut down their labor and delivery unit because they're having to hire travel nurses at 200% wages because all the locals are fucking sick of it (the hospital district reminded Providence Corporation that they aren't allowed to do that, no part of their contract guarantees them profit, suck it up corporate trash). But at the end of the day, most people aren't healthcare workers.
They tried talking about "essential worker burnout" but it only took a few union movements being shut down and put out of business before everyone saw "essential worker" as the euphemism for "expendable human" that it is. Besides, most of them are a shade of brown and us wypepo know they hate us already so... best not empathize too much.
What's funny is if you're in a trade union, the negotiation is very simple: "I work these hours, and you pay me for them." "striving for the extra mile" or "hustling" or whatever euphemism you choose to use for overwork is laughed at - no, I do this job, for this rate, and if you would like more work, you will pay for more hours. As the NY Electrician's Local told a project manager of mine, "Lady, we got two speeds and you don't wanna see the other one." But trade unions are dead until something truly radical happens and boy howdy, very, very few cubicle dwellers are in one.
And the people we're talking about? They're the ones who got paid for three to six months of not working, in many cases more money than they would have made if they were actually doing a job. It took me four hours to pick up my mill in mid-2020. State unemployment was higher than the going rate to drive a forklift at the loading dock. The forklift driver who eventually helped me was very angry about this, because it caused most of his friends to "catch COVID". I think part of it was he realized he was the dumbass still pushing pallets around for $13 an hour when he could have been drinking beer and playing Madden.
This contagion started in the WSJ. They pushed "quiet quitting" like it was "fetch" in Mean Girls. They could never quite get past the "no it's the children who are wrong" of it all but they're the WSJ, they live there. Watching the Washington Post stroke their chin about it is something else. If you dig down into their reporting they don't have much, and what they have is embarrassing:
Tech CEOs such as Google’s Sundar Pichai and Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg have been pledging to boost productivity, calling out low performers and asking their workers to do more.
...okay, assholes being assholes. Quick, without looking it up, which is down more in 2022, Meta or Ethereum? Gotta do something to make the papers think Zuck has been doing more than creating pants for Second LIfe.
Meanwhile, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said his company coined the term “productivity paranoia” to describe employers’ anxieties about whether their employees are working hard enough.
...but did they even follow their own link? Microsoft coined the term "productivity paranoia" to indicate something that DEFINITELY IS NOT HAPPENING.
People are working more than ever, while leaders—already worried by signals of macroeconomic decline—are questioning if their employees are being productive. The majority of employees (87%) report that they are productive at work, and productivity signals across Microsoft 365 continue to climb. This spring, we found that the number of meetings per week had increased by 153% globally for the average Microsoft Teams user since the start of the pandemic, and there is still no indication that this trend has reversed, suggesting this peak could become the new baseline.
Many employers have started using software to track employee activity.
Except they're not, because nobody wants that, and nobody is looking for it.
The rest of it is navelgazing, including from the World's Wrongest Economist. There's no there there. The actual data, aside from one down quarter moderately, vaguely more down than this time last year, is that everyone is busting fucking ass.
But there are a bunch of pointy-haired bosses who are certain that their remote workers aren't grinding it hard enough, so fire up the Wurlitzer.