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 | By Patricia Mish

I’m in a rut at work

Work has lost its luster, and I feel like I’m “quietly quitting.” How can I get my spark back?

Asking the question is a positive first step! Kudos for recognizing your lack of engagement and seeking a way to break out.

The stakes are high, and not just for your employer: The average person spends a great deal of time working, second only to time spent sleeping.

What is quiet quitting? The term, coined in the wake of the pandemic, refers to showing up at work but doing “the absolute bare minimum to get by.” In other words, you’re there in body but not in spirit. Underlying the phenomenon is a widespread lack of engagement at work.

Surprisingly, levels of engagement have less to do with workplace trends such as flexibility and more to do with what we do at work than how or where we work.

Why does engagement matter? And how do you get your spark back?

As Catholics, we have a vast catalogue of social teaching that reminds us of the inherent dignity of work. In other words, our job can and should be more than a paycheck. According to the social teaching, “Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation.”

That sounds lofty, but it can seem pretty far-removed from the cubicle or shop floor where you may find yourself right now. What are some creative ways to re-engage with work?

Talk to your manager.

It’s in your company’s best interest to have an engaged workforce. If you can pinpoint reasons for your disengagement, bring them to the attention of a trusted supervisor. Even small changes might help: Tweaking your job description to better match your skills, making meetings shorter or going off-site for some professional development.

Note what you still enjoy about your workday.

Change your routine.

Mondays got you down? Plan something fun to start your week. Flip that TGIF script and treat yourself to a nice cup of coffee or share treats with your co-workers to start the week on a positive note.


Habits–bad, good or just plain boring–can be hard to break. Talk to a career counselor or someone you know who thrives at work. Ask for practical tips on how to rediscover a sense of meaning and purpose at work.

Give it to God.

As Catholics, we have many resources that can help us discern God’s will for our lives. Open your spiritual toolbox and try something new, such as eucharistic adoration, a retreat or the Spiritual Exercises from St. Ignatius of Loyola.

It’s not uncommon to fall into a rut from time to time; when we do, we can turn to St. Paul for advice on how to get back on track: “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others.” (Col 3:23)