Can Quitters Prosper?

A new trend within the workforce has been deemed “quiet quitting,” the act that employees clock into work and actively strive to do the bare minimum regarding their task/performance. According to Gallup, after polling various organizations, half of US workers routinely bail on exceeding expectations by setting boundaries and committing to not working at specified times, they see fit. The trend has created a paradox within the workforce. Employees are not leaving the organization; however, they are staying and actively disengaging in certain areas of their work.

September 2022

Dejannae Lang

I/O Practitioner

Due to increased stress at work, the percentage of disengaged workers increased from 14% in 2020 to 18% in 2022. Participation in quiet quitting has soared as employees take to social media platforms such as Tik Tok to express their disdain in the workplace.

But, is quiet quitting conducive to organizations and employees? This answer may depend on whom you ask. Some employees express that the practice helps them improve their work-life balance and boundary setting. Various psychologists and psychotherapists have come out supporting the practice, calling it a coping mechanism to avoid burnout and toxic environments. Some point to leadership, as it’s their responsibility to set clear expectations and pay employees fairly for the level of productivity a position demands.

Experts in other areas are pushing back and expressing its negative implications on one’s career advancement and relationships with colleagues. The trend is now seeing negative expansions, as bosses participate in quiet firing. Instead of receiving honest feedback, training, and development, bosses ignore the calls for promotions or pay increases.

Regardless of whether it’s within your organization or a personal relationship, “quiet” can be of adverse concern; the practice has the potential to create rifts or burn bridges in relationships. At the same time, this can leave a lasting effect on your career goals by tarnishing your reputation within your organization.

“You might find temporary enjoyment in neglecting your work and enjoying hobbies or having fun, but it won’t be the type of pleasure that wells up from the bottom of your heart. There is no greater pleasure in life than that which comes from working hard and earnestly, overcoming hardship and suffering, and building something.” – Kazuo Inamori

There must be healthy solutions for employees and organizations. One beneficial tip for leadership is to be straightforward and clearly define responsibilities and expectations. Passive-aggressive actions are less likely than direct dialogue to result in positive change. Another recommendation is to stay upbeat and focus on maintaining a growth mindset. Instead of talking about what you aren’t doing, focus on what your boundaries are. Lean into the essential duties where you know you can add value and make sure to emphasize them if there are elements of your job that you want to “leave.” Put your attention on the results rather than the input, prioritize your tasks, and look for ways to make the most of your time. Lastly and most importantly, develop relationships at work, mutual support, and comradery.

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