The term “quiet quitting” while not a new concept, has recently gained popularity on social media, particularly TikTok, as employees reject hustle culture and set job boundaries. It is the latest workplace buzzword. Although it sounds like it refers to someone resigning from their position, it describes a rebellion against the hustle culture of going above and beyond what a job requires.
They wish to do the bare minimum to get the job done and set clear boundaries to improve work-life balance. Meanwhile these employees are still fulfilling their job duties but not subscribing to ‘work is life’ culture to guide their career and stand out to their superiors. They stick to what is in their job description and when they go home, they leave work behind them and focus on non-work duties and activities.
However, quiet quitting could be a sign that an employee is not happy in their position or is experiencing burnout. Quiet quitting is a way the employee deals with burnout to help alleviate stress. It may also mean they are ready to change positions or may be currently looking for another job.
Quiet quitting may be a popular term, but this practice isn’t new. Workers have quietly quit their jobs for years to look for something new, whether it was because of poor pay, unmanageable workload, burnout or lack of growth opportunities.
The pandemic brought quiet quitting into the spotlight as it flipped work culture upside down. More people had time to think about and question their careers and seeking more work-life balance, according to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2022 report. Now, people are taking to social media to promote their discontent. A TikTok clip described that work does not have to be life, and people should start to reconsider their work-life needs.
Working from home has also changed the dynamics of the workplace because employees and managers are communicating in different ways through online meetings on platforms such as Zoom or Teams. These interactions may feel more formal than the chat sessions that happen in an office because they need to be scheduled instead being impromptu. Limited meetings can cause a disconnect between employees and management. Regular support and praise that make employees feel valued and connected can get lost.
Just like quiet quitting, quieting firing is something that has been going on for years and addresses the other side of the employer-employee relationship. Quiet firing refers to managers making a job miserable or treating an employee badly. This way the person quits instead of being fired. Examples of how an employer may treat an employee during quiet firing include:
- no raises or small raises;
- limited time off;
- increase in workload but no increase in pay;
- demand for employee to work after hours;
- reduced hours;
- not involving or leaving the employee out of the loop;
- failure to meet with the employee;
- lack of respect; and
- low pay.
The manager may also want to get rid of an employee they don’t care for, so they may give the employee the worst tasks and criticize everything they do, including overreacting to minor mistakes. Quiet firing may be a response to not wanting to fire an employee because of the legalities and possible lawsuits over discrimination. Firing requires documentation leading up to the termination, so some managers take this approach to have the person leave on their own.