The Anti Work Movement: A Growing Trend

In the United States and some other countries, many people have quit their jobs because they consider that they impoverish their lives, even if they enrich their pockets. It's called the anti work movement.
The Anti Work Movement: A Growing Trend

Last update: 29 April, 2022

The crisis that broke out in 2020 continues to have various consequences. One of the most striking is the emergence of a trend generically known as the anti-work movement. As the name indicates, these are people who’ve started to analyze the labor system from a more critical perspective.

With the pandemic, overnight, many workers were forced to telecommute. This, far from being a simple change of form, ended up becoming an encounter with a new perspective on life. Mothers and fathers had the opportunity to share more time with their children and partners. Others discovered new ways of managing their time.

Therefore, many began to think that, perhaps dedicating so much time to work isn’t the best way to make the most of life. These kinds of sentiments ended up converging in the anti-work movement, an important group of people who intend to reshuffle the cards and place their work commitments in a more secondary place.

When we come into contact with life-threatening events, we tend to reflect on death and consider whether we are happy with our lives or whether we would like to make changes to them.”

-Anthony Klotz-

The anti-work movement

Woman thinking about adults who have never had a partner
Members of the anti-work movement are against working under limiting conditions.

The anti-work movement isn’t a political group. In fact, they’re not even a movement as such. Rather, it’s a group of people with a certain aim in common: the rejection of the kinds of commitments that a typical job implies and of labor hierarchies.

Although the anti-work movement hasn’t made a declaration of principles as such, based on their declarations and actions, it could be said that their principles are as follows:

  • Don’t do more than is necessary. They debunk the idea that you should always give more of yourself if it means extending your workday or sacrificing valuable personal time.
  • Say no to eight-hour days. They object to a person having to stick to a strict schedule and remain at work, even though they’ve finished their daily tasks.
  • Working is important. The anti-work movement isn’t against working, but against doing so under limiting conditions and exclusively to favor powerful groups.
  • Balance. They think there should be a balance between the time for work and personal life. They believe that all-absorbing jobs aren’t a path to success but contribute to the impoverishment of existence.

The great resignation

Man collecting his things from the office
In the last year, many people have left their jobs because they don’t consider them to be worthwhile.

The anti-work movement has moved from words to deeds. In fact, many members are behind the phenomenon known as ‘the great resignation’ in the United States and other countries. In short, the crisis led many of them to make the decision to leave their jobs.

A survey conducted by Flexjobs in September 2021 claimed that only 2 percent of people wanted to return to their normal jobs after the crisis of 2020. Furthermore, 58 percent considered the possibility of quitting their job in the short term while 65 percent wanted to continue working remotely in the future.

The anti-work movement has carried out actions such as the boycott of the famous Black Friday. Indeed, they know that excessive work and excessive consumption go hand in hand. They also sent hundreds of fake resumes to Kellogg’s to prevent the company from replacing a group of striking workers.

A changing world

There can be little doubt that, after the events of the year 2020, the world will never be the same again. The crisis produced changes in the habits of the majority, but also in our way of seeing the world. The anti-work movement is an expression of this new reality that gradually is taking shape and that calls into question the prevailing system.

As a matter of fact, the crisis has led to massive resignations in the United States and in other countries, in accordance with the sentiments of the anti-work movement. These are people who question a way of life that’s based on an obsessive dedication to work. They believe in a greater role for the other dimensions of existence.

This is a movement that’s had a significant impact on economic activity. In fact, some of the current problems are an effect of the refusal of many workers to continue in the same way as before. For this reason, it’s extremely likely that the movement, which was born as a simple trend, will continue to have a tremendous influence on the evolution of the labor market.

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  • Tcherneva, P. R. (2020). En favor del trabajo garantizado. Lola books.