You’ve probably seen so many hot takes on this buzzword by this point (we even did a LinkedIn poll about it). But just in case we’ll start at the beginning. Quiet Quitting, like most trends these days, started on TikTok with a discussion around giving up hustle culture in an effort to set up better boundaries at work. As the Wall Street Journal put it, Quiet Quitting is simply not taking your job too seriously. To this respect, Quiet Quitting isn’t new—it’s just a new term for something all burned-out employees do, which is: ease up, back off, chill out until either newfound interest in your job comes around or a better job comes along.
The backlash against Quiet Quitting
The Quiet Quitting term has been taken on by a larger group of new workers (many in their early 20s) who graduated during the pandemic but didn’t have a sense of corporate culture from pre-pandemic times. Older workers who do remember the hustle culture, the banter around water coolers, and taking coffee “breaks” that were really brainstorm sessions are all used to going beyond what was asked—because it was the only way to get ahead. Now that the new generation is saying they won’t tolerate it, many of those older workers are of the “suck it up or find a new job” mentality. And then there are those in another camp who simply don’t have the option of checking out due to, say, their social marginalization or life-at-stake job demands. The general sentiment is: Some people either can’t simply “do less” and not expect to be fired (doctors, teachers) and there are still others who take pride in their work and believe it gives them a sense of accomplishment—both totally valid reasons for ignoring this trend.
What does it really look like in practice?
Quiet Quitting is really just having better boundaries, which, as we’ve covered, can look slightly different depending on the person and the job at hand. But generally, Quiet Quitting involves no more working after hours. No more taking on work that’s beyond your scope or job description. No more feeling like you “have” to go to that happy hour just because the boss expects the team to express camaraderie. In short: Quiet Quitting is doing your job only during the hours you’re on the clock.
Who might want to hold off on Quiet Quitting?
Well, of course, everyone can and should do what they want. But if you’re a new employee, chances are you’re not going to be Quietly Quitting on the daily. In fact, if you’ve started a new job, this is when you should be setting better boundaries and expectations from the jump. If your boundary is to not answer calls and emails after-hours, express that. If you’re not the type to want to hang out with your coworkers after hours, then don’t (and you don’t need an explanation for why). Before long “Quiet Quitting” won’t be a necessary thing for you to consider—because you have healthy boundaries that everyone knows not to mess with. We’re not talking about being an outright jerk to those on your team who need you. But your boundaries may have your team members rethink how they are spending their time, too. Discussing boundaries can have a positive ripple effect for all involved. It might even have your company offering better benefits to help employees.
No, Quiet Quitting doesn’t look the same for everyone, nor does everyone agree with the notion. But if there’s one good thing that’s come out of this discussion, it’s that your time and mental health are precious. Do not forget to pay attention to both of them. And if your work does not respect your boundaries, then maybe it’s not the right place for you. Bottom line, Quiet Quitting is just a new name for an old healthy trend of taking care of yourself when no one else will.
…and if you’re looking for a new job, we can help!