What is quiet quitting? And should you do it?
Quiet quitting: the concept that you’re not necessarily quitting your job, but that you’re finished with going above and beyond to meet the demands of a rigorous work schedule. While the concept is anything but new, the term certainly is, with “quiet quitting” being coined on TikTok by influencers like Zaiad Khan and Clayton Farris and going viral shortly after.
“Workers are taking back their extra time and their mental space to allow for more than just work in their lives,” Farris says, talking into a front-facing camera in a video titled, ‘Are You Ready To Quiet Quit?’ The video goes on to explain how backlash against quiet quitting has ramped up among employers, with many of them calling Millennials and Gen Z-ers lazy, low achievers who don’t want to climb the corporate ladder.
Who’s right? And who’s wrong? Will this phenomenon continue, or will quiet quitting be a passing trend that stays relevant only until the end of the next news cycle?
Perhaps most importantly: is quiet quitting right for you?
What is quiet quitting? Is the term accurate?
A lot of workers feel confused by the concept of quiet quitting. Many are wondering why there needs to be a term about something as simple as going to work and doing your job without accepting additional responsibilities. After all, people have been doing this for decades, right?
At the same time, there’s a cohort of workers who’re envious about the idea of checking out at work, because their situations won’t allow them to drop the ball. Some workers cite that doing the bare minimum simply isn’t possible because of their race, class or socioeconomic status. And still others, like doctors and teachers, don’t really have the option of doing subpar work.
But whether or not workers are able to engage in quiet quitting, the term has reopened a conversation about what work should look like in the 21st century.
In essence, quiet quitting is the antithesis of hustle culture: it’s the idea that you don’t necessarily need to “rise and grind” to get what you want in life. Quiet quitting means you’re still able to find peace, happiness and joy in life without working yourself to the bone. It’s about setting a boundary for yourself and sticking to it.
But is quiet quitting the best way to set that boundary?
Why some Millennials and Gen Z-ers are rejecting quiet quitting
In many ways, quiet quitting sounds like the perfect way to live a healthier, freer life. But some workers believe it’s simply a way of avoiding having important conversations with employers about unfair working conditions.
After all, many people choose to quiet quit because of burnout, stress or other work-related issues. Quiet quitting, in essence, stops employees and employers from talking about what makes a job as stressful as it is. By talking about how to improve work conditions so that employees don’t have to quietly quit, some Millennials and Gen Z-ers are happier knowing they can still work a job they love — without exhausting themselves doing it.
Others say quiet quitting is a wrongheaded way to get revenge on a company. Used passive aggressively, quiet quitting keeps an angry employee from discussing their frustrations with not only their employer but their entire department, leading to miscommunication and undue stress.
But perhaps the strongest objection to quiet quitting comes from those who say it stops people from finding jobs they love. Matt Spielman, a career coach in New York City, was recently interviewed by The New York Times to discuss the problems with quiet quitting:
“You work four, five, six, sometimes seven days a week,” he told the news source. “There is no sadder thing to waste all this time in your life trying not to enjoy and be engaged and being excited in the work you are doing.”
Should I engage in quiet quitting?
While it’s clear that quiet quitting might not be a perfect solution to the problem of being overworked and underpaid, it’s certainly one tactic for restoring your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Ultimately, the choice of whether or not you should quietly quit comes down to you.
Do you work in a job where doing the status quo is enough? Are you able to do the minimum without throwing colleagues under the bus? Most of all, would you be happier and more fulfilled having more time to focus on your life outside of work? If the answers to those questions are all yes, then quiet quitting might be right for you — and you really shouldn’t feel guilty about doing it.
Conversely, if you like what you do and simply wish your job conditions were better, quiet quitting might not be right for you. Instead, it’s probably worth having a conversation with your boss about how you can be fairly compensated for being a high-performing employee while also avoiding the stress, burnout and exhaustion that comes with a demanding job.
Want to know more about quiet quitting? The Journal That Talks Back can help. We’re coaches dedicated to helping you navigate your biggest career problems, from quiet quitting to burnout to changing your career track entirely. Give us a shoutout and we’ll talk.