If you thought the labor shortage around the Gallatin Valley was bad, it may get a lot worse due to 'quiet quitting'. 

It's no secret that cities across Montana have been in a real crunch when it comes to staffing issues. Several reasons have contributed to the problem: new residents with lots of money, fewer young adults holding down full-time jobs, COVID-19 residual fears, etc. Lots of people who were working from home during the pandemic figured out a way to continue doing it.

So what is 'quiet quitting'? According to Wikipedia, "Quiet quitting is a term and a trend that emerged in mid-2022 from a viral TikTok video. The philosophy of quiet quitting is not abruptly leaving a job but doing exactly what the job requires, no more no less."

Recently, various online forums have had heated and very blunt threads of Bozeman area employees fed up with their jobs. They're working in the businesses that are already experiencing staffing shortages...so THEIR jobs are twice as demanding since they are doing the jobs of 2 or 3 people. They're really tired of it, and rightfully so.

To add insult to injury, employees who have been in the same job for several years did not necessarily reap the benefits of the increased 'Bozeman base wage'. You know, all the signs that are offering at least $20/hour for a job that used to pay $12/hour just a couple of years ago.

Tim Mossholder - Unsplash
Tim Mossholder - Unsplash

These people (and there are a LOT of them) are working WAY harder for less money. Loyalty is diminishing quickly as they're not being paid or otherwise rewarded for any of this extra work. This brings us back to the quiet quitting. Instead of just quitting their current job, many people commented that they're just going to do what they were hired to do...and no more. Enough is enough. The comments did not mince words.

"Doing the job of seriously eight people at a grocery store. We never have enough checkers if we have any at all. Customers get pissed when the only option is self check out. It's not my f****** fault." (I found that comment STRIKINGLY familiar as I had written about that exact problem earlier this summer.)

photo - Michelle Wolfe
photo - Michelle Wolfe

"This town is f*****. We never have enough servers on the floor. It's not my job to bartend but I make drinks all the f******* time. Today I didn't make any drinks and my manager had the nerve to give me s*** about it. I actually started laughing a little but I'm done making drinks. Hire someone. What is she going to do? Fire me?"

"Now I step foot in the store 2 minutes before my shift and punch out on the exact minute my shift ends. I'm going home. MY shift is done."

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"I'm 100% done doing extra work. Hire some people. Or limit the hours. It's not my problem."

"It's not my job to clean the bathroom. I guess they don't have a janitor anymore. I did it once because I wanted some extra time. A****** thought I was going to keep doing it. No."

I suppose the moral of this story is this: Clients and customers should really tread lightly with employees whether they like it or not. Bozeman's staffing crisis is very real as we've all experienced. Some managers don't seem to be managing very well and owners are perhaps expecting too much from their overworked staff.

Job openings are plentiful at the moment. Employees should not have to tolerate no-win situations when they're just trying to earn a living. The current shortage could get much worse if managers start letting people go via 'quiet quitting'.

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