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Life job balance at Ericsson


The quiet quitting debate gives us an opportunity to discuss purpose and meaning. Concerning well-being, work-life balance, the future of work, job creation, and so much more. This is the first in a series of posts that will look at those topics and Ericsson as a workplace from various individuals' perspectives.

Quiet Quitting is a term that has recently gained popularity. Some claim it is a new phenomenon that has emerged in the aftermath of the pandemic. Others claim that it is nothing new.
In short, quiet quitting has recently gained popularity among employees who are only there for the paycheck and are not emotionally or intellectually engaged. It's about doing the bare minimum, and not going "above and beyond".
Some, however, are sceptical that the trend exists at all. The author of The Atlantic's article, Quiet Quitting is a Fake Trend, states, "What people are now calling 'quiet quitting' was, in previous decades, simply known as 'having a job.'"
Since the beginning of time, people have desired more meaning in their lives and a life outside of the office. So perhaps what has changed is that there is a stronger yearning from a growing number of people, resulting in the conversation spilling out into public discourse, with social media acting as a true catalyst and reaching a larger number of people.
To some, the phrase "quiet quitting" may appear cynical, implying that people don't care about their jobs and have managed to quit their jobs in their minds so they can focus on what truly matters in life. Whether it appears cynical or not, the concept has caught on, so it is important to examine what it truly means. There are some important positive lessons embedded throughout the concept, such as: • it is important to have balance in your life, • overworking does not result in the best overall performance and is not sustainable, and • your worth does not depend on your productivity at work.
The negative aspect of quiet quitting, in my opinion, is the notion that going above and beyond isn't a good thing. On the other hand, people may be expected to go above and beyond all of the time in order to be regarded as good peers or employees. Consider how everything on LinkedIn emphasises and reinforces how great and incredible people's professional accomplishments are.
So perhaps we shouldn't think of quiet quitting in terms of black and white, but rather try to incorporate a more holistic perspective. We can try to think differently, realising that taking a step back or quitting quietly can be nourishing for a meaningful life at times. However, perhaps
Exploring the purpose of work, life, well being
This is the first in a series of posts in which we will look at the concept of work, purpose in work and life, and wellbeing as seen through the eyes of different generations and individuals. And by wellbeing, we mean the well-being of individuals, businesses, and the environment.
The goal is to have a discussion about whether quiet quitting is a legitimate concern and how employers and employees can act or plan accordingly. We are also attempting to encourage and facilitate dialogue between different generations in the workplace, as well as individual perspectives on work.
Quiet quitting is one of the most important workplace conversations right now, as it touches on how people feel about things, how they approach their work and their lives outside of work, and how they respond to leaders' efforts to inspire and motivate them.
During this series, we will investigate:
What exactly is quiet quitting?
• How does it affect organisational productivity?
• Why is this topic being discussed so much right now?
• What are the implications for leaders, organisational culture, and structure?
• How can businesses prevent quiet quitting from becoming a problem?
• How can we work with meaning and purpose while maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
• What are the implications of quiet quitting in knowledge industries, and what are the stakes for knowledge-based organisations?

Is it more common in certain generations to quit quietly?
With that said, let me begin with my own personal viewpoint.
My perspective - it’s about meaning, and meaning is individual
I've been with Ericsson for over 25 years. I believe I have the best job on the planet, but I haven't always seen it that way. I've noticed how my perspectives on work have shifted over the years. For example, when I was in my 30s, I told my manager that I wanted to be the company's future CEO. You can only imagine her surprise!
I grew older and had children over time. My first child was born with several disabilities, including blindness. And I've learned over the years that we can look at work from three different perspectives:
1. as a profession (to earn a salary to be able to live a decent life)
2. as a profession (to gain power more money and influence)
3. as a profession (purpose or meaning)
I guess when I was talking to my manager at the time, I was thinking of work as a career. I'm glad that my personal growth has changed my perspective, and I now see it as a calling or purpose. Numerous scientific articles claim that by viewing things through this lens, people can live happier and more fulfilled lives.
The question then becomes, how do we discover our calling or purpose?
On purpose – something worth living for and dying for
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why,” Zen proverb/anonymous
Purpose is something that everyone nowadays likes to talk about and is considered important, both personally and professionally. I've struggled with the word "purpose" for a long time. I've had the impression that it's a little pretentious at times. Perhaps "meaning" is a better word.
As previously stated, there have been incredible moments at Ericsson when I felt I had the best job in the world. Consider that when I first joined Ericsson in 1997, only 15% of the world's population had access to telephony. And consider this: 85 percent of humanity had never heard a dial tone! I remember how we would celebrate every million new subscribers. "I am an engineer, and I serve mankind by making dreams come true," says a quote at Stanford's Engineering School. That quote stands out to me because that is exactly what we do at Ericsson.
Despite having many wonderful experiences, I never felt I had found my calling. It wasn't until a week into 2019 that I was able to clearly identify what I came to believe was my life's purpose. I had worked hard for over six months as the MWC 2019 Innovation and New Business Models driver.
Our innovation hero demo was a virtual Jenga game that demonstrated how we will be able to communicate with all of our senses in the future (for more information, see Internet of Senses).
During the week, we had many visitors, but one special visitor was a blind man who came to the demo station. Despite his blindness, he was able to play the virtual game with some assistance. He explained how important this was for him because he would be able to communicate with his hands in the future. This incident had a profound impact on me. I had to work hard not to cry, but as the father of a blind son, I knew that his hands functioned as his eyes and that this technology opens up an entirely new world of possibilities for people with visual impairments.
We are living in a period of great uncertainty. Our planet is under threat, and we are on the verge of extinction. We have accepted an unfair and unequal world for far too long. We should care more; it should enrage us that in such a developed and mature society, there are still so many in need.
But we have the power to shape an amazing future. We have the ability to preserve our planet, create incredible prosperity, and make technological and medical breakthroughs that will extend life and profoundly change how we interact with the world and each other.
My goal is clear, and the work I do is for my children and future generations. I am fortunate to work in a company that can make dreams come true while leaving no one behind, which is as true today as it was when our founder, Lars Magnus Ericsson, founded it.
I'm much more motivated now than I was in my 30s! I will never, ever quit quietly.
Purpose and meaning are the polar opposites of busyness and squandering our time.
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life”, Socrates
Let's go back to the early 2000s, when I was aspiring to be our next CEO. I was working with a conference when we gathered the top 200 executives in the company, and we thought of bringing an inspirational speaker to talk about "work and life balance".
It was a "new" concept at the time. My manager and I received a tip about a fantastic inspirational speaker. So we went to one of his speeches to hear his messages and see how well they struck a chord with us. It was an incredible speech.
I didn't notice it. My manager, on the other hand, noticed that some people in the audience were wiping away their tears. She, being older and wiser than me, decided not to hire him for this leadership conference. She could visualise the same effect in front of us. Executives, many of whom are nearing the end of their careers, were moved by the speech and how much of their lives they had sacrificed for work. Inability to attend a son's football game. Opportunities to pursue a hobby or passion outside of work were squandered. A daughter's graduation party. Ironically, the conference coincided with those graduations, and it was not "ok" to prioritise those over the conference.
Fast forward all those years to now, when I am 60 years old! I've had many times in my life when I was far too busy. There were times when I felt like a hamster running around on a wheel, working endless hours with no sense of purpose.
All of that changed when I had this special moment at MWC where I could see the potential of technology to improve people's lives so clearly. And how fortunate I am to work for a company that has the potential to make such a difference.
I believe we are witnessing a watershed moment. Western consumption-based society was once regarded as the gold standard, but it is now reaching its limits. A new model is required. I believe, or rather hope, that it will be one that combines spirituality (our inner life) with addressing the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced: climate change.

What does quiet quitting imply in the face of such a daunting challenge?
We can clearly see in the world that there is an increase in mental health issues, depression, and drug addiction rates, as well as less trust in institutions. So, I understand quiet quitting from the standpoint of avoiding burnout and establishing boundaries. But I am concerned when I see people who are overworked and stressed from back-to-back meetings, who feel trapped and see quiet quitting as a possible solution. I'm especially concerned when I see it in younger generations, because I remember feeling the same way when I was younger.

This is a crucial subject. Finally, it comes down to life and the future of work and meaning. And it is unique. This was just my opinion.

To summarize, I believe that quitting quietly is not an option. It's like giving up on life!

Quitting quietly means passing up opportunities for learning and growth. But I believe we need to stop being so busy. We should stop having back-to-back meetings. We need to think about what is truly important in a more refined way. Aside from job titles. We can and should live lives that make a difference in the world. I heard on the radio today that we will be dead for much longer than we will be alive. Consider that! And how time is of the essence.

As previously stated, I am more motivated than I have ever been. And I work even more than I did in my thirties. There is, in my opinion, a distinction between being busy and living a life well lived. Between being able to distinguish between what is truly important and what is not. According to Eisenhower, the important is never urgent, and the urgent is rarely important. When I see people stuck on the hamster wheel, it makes me nervous.

I believe Ericsson provides us with a formidable playground for a well-lived, purposeful life. According to our vision, with such an amazing and positive impact on improving lives, redefining business, and pioneering a sustainable future. And it's an incredible company where we can talk about such personal and difficult issues, share perspectives, and help each other grow.

Ericsson here!

You will hear from many others about their experiences working at Ericsson. Stay tuned and participate in the discussions!

To learn more about what it's like to work at Ericsson click here.