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Are You “Quiet Quitting” Your Job?

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Table Of Contents

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are that you’ve probably heard the phrase ‘quiet quitting’ everywhere on social media. 

What started as a simple Tiktok trend has sparked significant controversy and heated discussions in workplaces around the globe. But what does it really mean? And what does it actually entail? We’re here to break it all down for you.

What exactly is quiet quitting, anyway?

Have you ever found yourself at the office, “working” on your computer but not getting much done and simply waiting for 5 pm to strike? If so, then there’s a good chance that you are quiet quitting your job.

The meaning of quiet quitting is… quite difficult to pin down. Ask five people, and you’ll get five different answers — there’s no single textbook definition for it. 

Some people think quiet quitting is when you spend more time daydreaming than you do actually getting work done. Others say it’s when you don’t bust your butt to win the corporate rat race. Some folks may even say that quiet quitting is a way of working that lets you live life on your terms — rather than just working to pay the bills. 

But quiet quitting, ultimately, is the idea of doing what’s asked of you at work, and nothing more. It’s kind of just like “acting your wage.” In day-to-day life, that might look like:

  • finishing work on time every day
  • not staying at the office outside of your designated hours
  • taking your lunch breaks without being told to
  • never saying ‘yes’ to projects that aren’t in your job description
  • and much more

As you can tell, it’s all about the little things. And although it might seem like a small change, those little changes can make a huge difference in your work-life balance. However, if you are considering quiet quitting, consider weighing its pros and cons first. 

The pros

According to psychologist and well-being consultant Lee Chambers, quiet quitting is often a coping mechanism used to address the likelihood of burnout and chronic overworking.

Quiet quitting can help you save your sanity, while still achieving your goals. More importantly, it serves as a way for employees to concretely establish a proper work-life balance and prevent burnout. There is clear research to support the fact that boundary setting is an effective way to boost the well-being of employees. And being a quiet quitter helps you do just that.

Furthermore, while it may sound ironic, quiet quitting in some instances might actually help improve your productivity too. Ensuring that you have the breaks you need when you are working can improve productivity and boost your motivation. As far as mental health is concerned, quiet quitting is also what keeps our home and work lives separate. Additionally, it can help us create a balance between the two, while still holding on to who we are. What’s not to love about that?

The cons

While quiet quitting may help you dodge the ill effects of stress and burnout, it also comes with its own set of risks. After all, quiet quitting might keep you out of the firing line. But is it really worth it in the end? 

Being a quiet quitter means you could leave yourself vulnerable not only to performance reviews and appraisals but also to redundancy. 

Moreover, you could end up being seen as a less committed employee, which may harm your career prospects or even the salary you earn. There’s a chance that your bosses or co-workers may notice that you’re no longer putting the effort in, which would put your position in jeopardy, see you to lose out on development opportunities, and so on. 

Getting feedback on your performance and career progress gives you an opportunity to grow, move into more responsible positions, and earn more money. And all this is put on the back burner when you make doing the bare minimum a priority at work.

Doing so also lowers our sense of employee engagement, purpose, and satisfaction, which are critical factors in our mental and physical well-being. In other words, quiet quitting might backfire and cause you to feel like your role is meaningless, pointless, and boring.

Does quiet quitting mean quitting your job?

Long story short: no. Quiet quitting, despite its name, does not involve quitting a job, but rather doing only what the job requires you to do. So instead of resigning, it means sticking to just your job description along with binge-watching The Office during your working hours.

It’s important to note that no matter what your definition of quiet quitting is, it doesn’t mean you will actually end up quitting your job. While the term may contain the word “quitting,” it does not necessarily mean that you have any intentions of leaving your company. 

The primary objective of quiet quitting is to set boundaries between work and play. This is to ensure that you’re not burnt out in the long run. Setting adequate work-life boundaries isn’t a trend — it’s a movement that’s here to stay.

What the numbers say

Quiet quitters account for at least 50% of the U.S. workforce — maybe even more, according to research by Gallup. In nearly a decade, the ratio between engaged and disengaged employees has decreased from 1.8 to 1.

“It’s clear that quiet quitting is a symptom of poor management,” Gallup mentions in the report.

The same study found a decline in engagement and satisfaction among remote Gen Z employees and younger millennials, particularly in those below age 35. Compared to pre-pandemic years, this is a significant change. In the post-pandemic era, younger workers have felt less cared for and had fewer opportunities to develop their skills — primarily from their managers. This is why managers are essential in the fight to combat it at the workplace.

The flip side: quiet firing

In response to quiet quitting, another concept has been gaining traction online — and it goes by the term ‘quiet firing.’ Think of it as the flip side of quiet quitting.

One Tiktok user described quiet firing as a workplace that fails to reward an employee for their contributions to an organization, forcing them to leave their jobs. Quiet firing, or conductive dismissal, is the practice of making employees’ work conditions intolerable with little or no recourse and essentially forcing them out. It’s sort of like someone who wants to break up with you but doesn’t have the courage to do it themselves. So, they drive you to do it.

For example, sometimes it means giving not employees raises or promotions despite good performance or giving them projects that will be useless in the future. According to a recent LinkedIn News poll, over 80% of respondents said they had seen or experienced quiet firing. It works great for companies because eventually, employees feel incompetent, isolated, and unappreciated to the point where they find new jobs, and the company never has to deal with severance or development plans.

Snigdha Gupta
Snigdha Gupta

An avid writer and aspiring marketer, Snigdha is a student at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.

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