The Anti-Work Movement Is An Indicator That Something is Rotten in the Workplace

Only 4.3 million Americans left their jobs in August, and the rate of quitting rose to 2.9%, data reveals.

There is clearly dissatisfaction. The so-called anti-work movement has been gaining popularity on Reddit, and is pursuing the phenomenon known as the “Great Resignation”. It laments the status quo and considers how a life without work might be possible.

The r/antiwork Subreddit has attracted over 864,000 “idlers”, who are interested in “unemployment for all, and not just the wealthy!” This group is for people who are interested in ending work or those who wish to learn more about the anti-work movement and support with work-related problems.

It is a fascinating and sometimes shocking read. Stories, anecdotes, and screengrabs of the exchanges between unscrupulous bosses, overworked employees, and their unscrupulous bosses are shared. They expose poor treatment, toxic, or threatening behavior.

The result is a backlash against bullying, long hours, low pay, and a loss of quality of life. There is a feeling that there must be more to life.

However, the term “anti-work” is misleading. The group isn’t against making money. The group’s FAQs state that the goal is to “start a conversation, problematize work as it is today,”

Anti-work conversations are a sign of a society that has been focusing on the wrong priorities for a long time. We have made hard work and business success the pinnacle of our society. We laud those who are committed to their jobs and to the accumulation of wealth, but not those who are passionate about their families or pursuits of happiness.

“Change-work” would be a more fitting moniker. It has been difficult to find the right term to describe how we organize and motivate ourselves to work. The five-day workweek was adopted almost arbitrarily in 1900s. It has only recently been questioned by a growing support for remote and flexible working and large-scale trials to allow for a shorter workweek.

We all have to work. To provide a roof over our heads and food on the tables. However, life should always come first. Work should only be an enabler.

Although the anti-work movement can mean many things to different peoples, this new interest (the subreddit r/antiwork was launched in 2013 and is seeing a huge boost in followers) is likely to be a response to burnout and a stressful few years.

People who worked to the bone during the pandemic are now looking for a new lifestyle and a happier, healthier way of earning a living.

People who quit their job are not looking to be unemployed or lazy. They are just looking for better support and a better work/life balance.

We should ask ourselves these questions: How can we make work more enjoyable? How can lawmakers make it harder for employers to exploit workers for financial gain? These are legitimate questions.

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