The term “quiet quitting” is everywhere these days. On TikTok, more than 90 million videos are currently tagged #QuietQuitting. However, while the term “quiet quitting” is new, the concept really isn’t.
Definitions of “quiet quitting” vary, but the basics are the same: showing up when expected, doing assigned tasks, leaving on time, and not taking on work outside regular hours. In other words, it’s not about slacking off on the job as much as setting boundaries and preventing burnout.
Is Quiet Quitting Just Slacking?
For many, the idea of “quiet quitting” may sound too good to be true. Workers often feel pressure to go above and beyond to stand out from the crowd. However, it’s important to remember: you can’t pour from an empty cup.
There will be times when it’s necessary to put in extra effort at work. Unexpected tasks come up that need to be dealt with right away, or an important project requires some extra hours, or you’re up against a deadline. However, if you’re constantly working overtime — and especially if you’re not being adequately compensated for it — eventually, you’ll reach a breaking point. At that point, you’re likely to experience feelings of resentment, frustration and even burnout.
How Companies Cause Quiet Quitting
Companies cause quiet quitting when they don’t treat staff with respect. For example, the workplace bait-and-switch: you’re promised one thing and get something entirely different (and usually worse). For example, you might be promised a job with flexible hours but find out that it really means you’re expected to work nights and weekends. Or, you’re promised opportunities for advancement but soon discover a stagnant corporate culture where people stay in their positions indefinitely.
Another bait-and-switch situation is when an organization downsizes its workforce; the remaining staff are suddenly expected to take on more work. This can be especially tough for salaried employees, who may not see a corresponding increase in income.
There are some things that employees can do to protect themselves from these situations. First, be aware of the warning signs. If your company is downsizing or experiencing financial difficulties, don’t be surprised if you’re expected to take on more work. If you are concerned about this possibility, it might be time to have a conversation with your boss or HR representative to see if they’re willing to provide you with more information about the company’s plans and how they may affect you.
Additionally, staying up to date on your rights as an employee is essential. Familiarize yourself with provincial or state employment laws and your company’s overtime and workload allocation policy. This way, you will be better prepared to protect yourself if you find yourself in a difficult situation.
Setting Workplace Boundaries
While it’s important to be a team player at work, it’s also important to set boundaries to protect your well-being. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload, talk to your supervisor about ways to lighten your load. And if you’re regularly putting in extra hours without being compensated for it, consider quietly quitting that habit. Your employer will still benefit from your hard work, but you’ll be able to maintain a better and more sustainable work/life balance – and that’s something we should all feel good about.
Why Quiet Quitting Is Good for Employers, Too
Regardless of how you define it, I would argue that quiet quitting can be beneficial to both you AND your employer. Boundaries are good. They are critical for a healthy, fulfilling and joyful existence. It allows you to focus your energy on the most important tasks and doing them exceptionally well. It can reduce your stress levels and can even improve your overall job satisfaction. I believe quiet quitting can be a positive development if workers are focused on maximizing their output during their hours at the office (or wherever they work) and if employers recognize and facilitate that kind of environment.
Taking Control of Your Career
It’s important to remember that your career is just that: yours. No one else can control it but you. So, if you find yourself in a situation where you feel like you’re being asked to do more than you signed up for, it’s essential to take a step back and assess the situation.
Ask yourself if this is a temporary problem that will eventually sort itself out or if this is a long-term problem that needs to be addressed. If it’s the latter, it may be time to start looking for a new job. But even if it’s the former, it’s still important to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself both mentally and physically.
Most importantly, you don’t let yourself get bogged down by someone else’s problems. You’re in control of your career, so make sure you’re making the best decisions for yourself.
More than career coaching, it’s career psychology®.
I/O Advisory Services Inc. – Building Resilient Careers and Organizations TM.