What is "quiet quitting" (and should you join the trend)
A recent trend among workers known as “quiet quitting” has gained global popularity, resonating with the younger workforce.
Here we take a closer look at this phenomenon to help you determine if this is the right work mentality for you.
Table of Contents
What is quiet quitting?
Contrary to the mainstream media narrative, quiet quitting a job doesn’t mean you are doing the bare minimum so as not to get fired.
It means that you are doing your job as per your job description, but no more.
The quiet quitting phenomenon is essentially the opposite mentality of “Hustle Culture” where one's career comes first, and everything else, including health, family, and friends, is an afterthought.
What are some quiet quitting examples?
There are a few quiet quitting principles that any worker can follow.
- Not working while being sick
- Not working past your scheduled shift
- Not working on weekends and holidays
- Ignoring work calls/emails during your free time
- Refusing duties/responsibilities you are not being paid for
- Not being too emotionally invested in your work
- Not ignoring your family and personal life because of work
The main idea is to NOT be a “yes-man” to your boss and coworkers, who is fully dedicated to their job, only to be “rewarded” with more work.
The philosophy entails that life and time on Earth are too precious to be “wasted” through an excessive focus on one’s work.
Where did quiet quitting come from?
The quiet quitting philosophy actually comes from China. Originally called tang ping (lying flat), the movement began in 2021 when the younger workforce decided to fight back against the existing notion of long work hours.
The movement gained such momentum that the Chinese government took notice of it and had to launch its own countermeasures.
Why did the quiet quitting philosophy suddenly become so popular?
It all began with a viral TikTok video that attracted around 4 million views in the span of just a few days.
In 2021, the US had another buzzword for it, the Great Resignation, where workers outright quit their jobs in favor of personal well-being and mental health.
In mid-2022, a smarter and upgraded version of the Great Resignation emerged where it’s not necessary to quit your job but to just do what you are paid for, nothing more, nothing less.
The quiet quitting philosophy resonates with the younger workforce, which consists of Millenials and Gen Z who value their time above everything else.
This is the emergence of a “mindset” that is the polar opposite of “hustle culture” – the pursuit of professional success by any means necessary.
Should you "quiet quit" your job?
You can try quiet quitting your job for a while to see how you’d feel and what effects it would have on your work and personal wellbeing.
If you’ve been experiencing the symptoms of occupational burnout lately, then perhaps the quiet quitting mindset would help you to restore your work-life balance.
However, quiet quitting is not a permanent solution. Sooner or later, your boss will notice and will start asking questions.
It’s always best to address the burnout or job dissatisfaction symptoms as soon as they appear through clear communication.
More often than not, going the extra mile is noticed and rewarded by employers via promotions and pay raises. And normally, this is how you progress in your career.
But it all comes down to how you are currently feeling in relation to your job. If you are sacrificing your health and personal life because of work, then perhaps it is time to have an honest conversation with yourself and your employer to figure out exactly what your priorities are.
How does quiet quitting affect productivity?
There are no scientific studies on the effects of quiet quitting on one’s productivity at work yet. But the general notion is that employees are already working beyond what is expected of them.
By practicing quiet quitting, workers are simply returning to normal levels of work output.
What you can do instead of quiet quitting
If you find the idea of quiet quitting too extreme and not practical in your case, there are other ways to achieve a work-life balance. Here are some examples:
- Develop a daily routine centered around productivity
- Take on diverse work projects
- Disengage from work whenever possible
- Set clear boundaries with your boss
- Take plenty of mini breaks at work
- Take a vacation and paid time off from work
- Eliminatе work rumination
- Turn off work notifications on your personal phone
- Properly unwind after work
What can companies and employers do to prevent quiet quitting?
The mainstream media is demonizing quiet quitting, calling it “unjust” and “shameful” while employers are becoming more and more concerned that they will be stuck with “lazy, unconcerned” workers.
In reality, quiet quitting is a natural response to the contemporary work environment that “rewards” going the extra mile for one’s work.
But the simple truth is that there is only so much “extra” that one can do until one reaches a breaking point.
The negative effects of occupational burnout are well-documented. According to this Finnish study, occupational burnout is related to anxiety, depression, and the onset of chronic illnesses.
While some companies are highly exploitative, other more progressive employers are concerned with workplace well-being.
Here are simple measures that any employer can take to create a modern workplace that is centered around work-life balance.
- Giving workers clearly defined work responsibilities
- Providing ideal working conditions and fair salaries
- Development of worker wellness programs
- Employee benefits (paid time off, incentives, etc.)
- Mental health council
What is my take on this?
I am an office worker, and just like you, I have a day job apart from running this blog. Every once in a while, I have “quietly quit” my job before the term was coined.
So I developed the following strategy, which I’ve been sticking to for the past 5 years or so. It’s very simple:
- Your default work output should be around 70%. This is more than enough to complete any target given by your manager or boss.
- In urgent situations, you can tune your productivity up to 100% until the task has been completed.
- On the more quiet days at work, feel free to tone down your efforts to 50% or even 40%.
Fine-tune these percentages to your liking and see if this tactic will work for you.
I'm nearly 60 yrs old in a few months and I can tell you I am not good working with unnecessary toxicity in a workplace which is why I leave jobs every 3 or 4 years. I'm also a turbulent introvert. Definitely affects my mental health and sense of worth. I wish I knew of this acceptable response years ago. I have an opportunity to work from home now and have 3 days to decide to go with a busy "safer" career or remote work and spend less money. Hope I make the right decision.