Everybody's Talking About 'Quiet Quitting'

To avoid burnout, workers are doing the bare minimum
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2022 8:15 PM CDT
Updated Aug 20, 2022 4:30 PM CDT
'Quiet Quitting' Is This Year's Workplace Trend
Staying late in the office to impress the boss is not the way of the quiet quitter.   (Getty Images/Jaymast)

(Newser) – "Quiet quitting" is a workplace trend that's suddenly getting a lot of press—and it doesn't involve sneaking out of work and heading for the hills. Instead, advocates, including many TikTokers, describe it as doing the minimum their jobs require and refusing to work extra hours or take on extra assignments, while focusing on out-of-work activities. They say it's about having an identity outside the workplace and refusing to let work rule their lives. Critics—including, presumably, some of their bosses—say some of it sounds a lot like old-fashioned slacking. More:

  • Gallup calls it "not engaged." Jim Harter, chief scientist for Gallup’s workplace and well-being research center, says survey data shows workers are less engaged and quiet quitting sounds like what he refers to as "not engaged," a group that includes 54% of survey respondents born after 1989, the Wall Street Journal reports. But while engagement is lowest among Gen Zers and younger millennials, it's been dropping across all age groups in recent years.

  • "They're doing what they're getting paid for." Advocates say quiet quitting is all about maintaining a healthy work-life balance. "People aren’t going above and beyond—they’re not bending over backwards for their employers anymore and sacrificing their mental and physical health," career coach Alison Peck tells Today. "They're doing what they’re getting paid for." She says she wishes the trend had a different name "because you're not quitting. You're taking care of yourself. You're coasting. You're, like, carefully coasting."
  • No more "hustle culture." "You’re still performing your duties but you're no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life," TikTok user @zkchillin says in a viral video that has had more than 3 million views, per Fortune. "The reality is, it's not."

  • A link to the pandemic. Maria Kordowicz, director of the University of Nottingham's center for interprofessional education and learning, tells the Guardian that the pandemic changed the way many people view their work. "There was a sense of our own mortality during the pandemic, something quite existential around people thinking, ‘What should work mean for me? How can I do a role that’s more aligned to my value?" she says. Kordowicz adds: "We could juxtapose ‘quiet quitting’ with ‘the great resignation.’ Do we stay put but switch off? Or do we move towards something?"
  • Time to talk to the manager? ABC business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis says quiet quitting could work for you if your "objective is work-life balance over income and maybe even job security and you're not looking for big raises and promotions." But she warns that while the jobs market is currently red-hot, less engaged workers could be first to go in a downturn. She says workers who are struggling should talk to their manager "about the fact that you're feeling burned out," though some quiet quitting advocates say it's all about avoiding burnout.
(Read more workplace stories.)

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