What's Quiet Quitting? Everything You Need to Know About This New 'Trend'

By Tatenda

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Last Updated: September 20, 2022

When I first came across the term 'quiet quitting', I thought people are now quitting their jobs quietly. I was shocked that people are simply not showing up for work without formally resigning.

This obviously sent me down a rabbit hole to figure out exactly what quiet quitting is and why all of a sudden it is so popular.

According to Gallup, at least 50% of employees in the U.S are quiet quitters. That is a large percentage, enough to awaken the researcher in me and make me more curious about why so many people are quiet quitting and what that is doing to the workforce.

More importantly, I wanted to know what it is doing to the employees as individuals.  

Honestly, what I found about the term surprised me even more. The different opinions that people have on the trend stirred mixed feelings that are worth sharing.

But the main question I had after my research was, is quiet quitting real? 

 

 

What is Quiet Quitting?

Earlier I mentioned what I thought quiet quitting was, I was wrong.

Quiet quitting refers to being at work during the time you are expected to be there and doing only the work that you were hired to do without going above and beyond. 

Unlike what I thought, people are not outright quitting their jobs, but they are moving away from the culture of overworking.

Quiet quitting might look like:

  • Not responding to emails outside work hours.
  • Arriving at work on time and leaving on time.
  • Saying 'No' to tasks outside one’s traditional job description (eg. planning office parties)

For some, this means not being psychologically and mentally attached to their work as well.

This common definition of quiet quitting has raised some concerns. People are wondering why we need a term to define people doing exactly what they are paid to do. 

This confirms how common it is for employees to overwork and take on tasks that are above their pay grade such that when they stop taking additional work, they are referred to as quiet quitters. In my opinion, a term that seemingly has negative connotations. The quiet quitters are simply…doing their jobs. 

 

 

Why are People Quiet Quitting?

The Covid pandemic shook things a lot in various circles of life, work culture being no different.

People realized that there is more to life than just work. Work/life balance became more popular, and most people started to actively work towards reducing overworking and burnout

Some noticed that despite going the extra mile at work, their efforts were never acknowledged, and they never received a ‘Thank you’. The pandemic also made people more aware of how they are easily replaceable at work, but not at home. 

This wake-up call pushed people toward doing the best they can to spend time with their loved ones. 

Quiet quitting became more popular as people see the need to have firm boundaries, especially in the workspace, creating more time for them to do things they enjoy with the people they love. 

 

 

The Impact of Quiet Quitting

I guess the advantages of quiet quitting have made the trend popular.

When people are not spending all their time working and having their whole personality defined by their career, they have more time for other things. 

The freedom of not going home with work and not having to cancel personal events for work is unmatched, especially when you are unappreciated. 

Honestly, some people only go to work just so that they can afford to pay their bills. There is nothing wrong with that as long as they actually do their work. When such people quiet quit, they have time to do the things they enjoy, even when they don’t pay bills. 

However, in fields where people work as a team, if some quit while others do not, there is a high chance that others might feel like their team members are not carrying their weight by doing the bare minimum. 

Some aspects of work, such as volunteering in charity organizations that are heavily dependent on people doing more than what is in their contract, can suffer when people quiet quit. 

In addition, the line between quiet quitting and being disengaged is very thin. It is believed that about 15% of U.S employees are disengaged. These employees lose drive and find it difficult to do their work. Consequently, this takes the whole company a step back. 

Therefore, when quiet quitting, employees should remember always to do what is expected of them. 

 

 

Why Isn’t Everyone Quiet Quitting?

While a lot of people are quiet quitting, some are opting for the polar opposite, widely known as FatFIRE (Fat Financial Independence and Retirement Early). 

When FatFIRING, one works way harder than they are expected to. They take on as many side hustles as they possibly can get, lead a modest life and build their savings. The idea is to then retire early because life is too short to spend it all working.

Want to know more about FIRE? Read this next: What is the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) Movement and Is it a Good Idea?

Each of these two opposite ways of handling work seems to have its own fair share of pros and cons. The main difference being one guarantees comfort in the long run, while another one grants that now.

With so much on social media and media in general about work culture, it might be confusing to figure out exactly what works for you.

I hope this article provided you with all the basic information needed to decide if quiet quitting is for you. 

Photo by fauxels

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8 comments on “What's Quiet Quitting? Everything You Need to Know About This New 'Trend'”

  1. I have found that I to have "quiet quit" but for different reasons. I have worked through the ENTIRE pandemic because I have an Old School boss that feels that we are getting paid to be here, no matter what. Which, I do agree with him and came in everyday. While everyone else stayed home "working", I was doing the things that they could not do at home. Now that CoVid is long gone, nobody has bothered to come back to work full time so.......I have now been stuck doing all the things that I did while they were "working" from home. Which now everyone just expects of me. I am very bitter of the whole situation and therefore, I do not go out of way for anything anymore, which is very unlike me. It is to the point that I have actually thought about leaving a great job that I have been at for over 11 years and that I love. I am tired of being stuck in the office daily and doing all the other peoples work and no one notices. Also, all these people are doing their errands, Dr. appts., schooling, house cleaning, hair cuts, nails and day trips while "working remotely" while I have to use my annual time to take care of these things and spend my weekends taking care of my home. I know that I can not be the only one in this situation.

    1. We're sorry to hear this Angie, and you certainly aren't alone. Meredith's answer is spot on - you need to bring this up to your employer. I have learned from my past few jobs that most competent and hardworking people will be given more work if they a) don't say they can't do it and b) always get it done. It's easy to get bitter because you see things so clearly, but you have to remember that unfortunately, no one will look out for you except you. That doesn't mean they don't care about you, but consider this: if you keep doing all of these things and don't speak up, why would anything change? You probably present yourself as someone who 'has it all together,' right? "Give it to Angie, she'll get it done." Sound familiar? I used to work in HR, so here's my suggestion: Write down all the things you do in a day, week, month. Like a job description. Make a point to compare your pre-COVID job description to what you are doing now. Add all the things you mention in your message here. Then go talk to your boss. You don't have to barge in and let it all out. Present what's going on clearly and be honest. It's very possible no one else thinks anything is wrong and you are just very dedicated. If you love your job and you have been there a long time, you need to get better at setting boundaries, it will make your life 1000% easier, trust me. Wishing you luck!

  2. Hello Angie, Your situation sounds unfair to you. I wonder if you would consider saying a version of what you have written here to your boss? You sound like a hard-working and generous person, and I imagine that your workplace would be very sorry to lose you! It seems very likely that you could renegotiate your workplace responsibilities so you are not carrying an unfairly heavy load. I wish you the best moving forward!

    1. Great advice Meredith! If we don't ask for what we need, how will we get it? Of course we're happy to pitch in when someone needs help, or when things get crazy - COVID turned a lot of things on their heads - but then we need to remind others of the status quo when things 'go back to normal'.

  3. Quiet Quitting isn’t new. Take a good and clear look at working as a Union Member. Work as directed. Be well paid. Enjoy benefits from Medical to Overtime. Finally, enjoy the dignity and success of working under a Union Contract and raise the quality of your life and, your community’s. Be Wise. Organize.

  4. "Therefore, when quiet quitting, employees should remember always to do what is expected of them." That one sentence guts the entire essay.

    If employees "do what is expected of them" in the majority of jobs, they will come in early, work late, take work home with them, work weekends - all with no monetary compensation for their time, work and dedication - and even without a thank you.

    They will put off vacations, or take a supposed "vacation" and work the entire time, destroying any benefit of a vacation for the individual and their family members. They will put off the needs of their family members in the interest of "being a good employee" or out of fear of being demoted or fired if they refuse to do so.

    Many companies have come to view their employees as property, to be at the company's beck and call 24/7/365. Companies and supervisors have come to the place of feeling entitled to such a tyrannical, abusive and dehumanizing arrangement. They are entitled to no such thing.

    1. Thanks for weighing in Allan. "Do what's expected of you" can be a tricky statement, to be sure. Generally, you are responsible for doing what's in your job description, which is supposed to be part of your decision to accept a position. People don't always follow those, or even have them a lot of the time. And you're right, even if you are doing your job, there can be more unspoken expectations. I found in working in HR that setting clear boundaries as much as possible, and as soon as possible can help with this. Many employers get away with asking too much of their employees by not having things written down. What are your actual responsibilities? What markers do you need to hit to achieve success/high performance? Good or even excellent performance doesn't have to mean you have to give your whole life to your job. You should also be very aware of your rights as an employee, even if your employer doesn't seem to.

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