What does ‘quiet quitting’ really mean?

The ‘quiet quitting’ phenomenon follows ‘The Great Resignation’ trend that has previously occurred earlier this year. However the way people are approaching ‘quiet quitting’ seems to differ, and not everyone is getting on board with it.

The re-emergence of 'quiet quitting'

‘Quiet quitting’ has re-emerged in popularity amongst younger generations, as workers dissatisfied with their jobs are silently protesting.

‘Quiet quitting’ involves doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm then is absolutely necessary.

Originally, this concept became popular around 2009/2010, and has re-emerged thanks to TikTok making the younger generations aware of it.

The ‘quiet quitting’ phenomenon follows ‘The Great Resignation’ trend that occurred through 2021 and into this year. Some are labelling this movement as ‘The Great Rethink’.

Who is 'quiet quitting' and why?

One of the main reasons employees are dissatisfied with their jobs is often due to a lack of career progression, the Work Institute Retention Report shows. Providing employees with the opportunity to expand their skills is likely to resort in a more engaged and motivated workforce.

‘Quiet quitting’ has since taken over the internet, as people are intensely debating whether it’s a ‘dressed up’ term for laziness, or whether it’s a push-back at companies exploiting their employees.

Some have been saying the term unfairly demonises Gen Z, whom have been tied in with the conversations happening on TikTok – an app primarily dominated by Gen Z and Millennials. Despite this, ‘quiet quitting’ was not a term originally created by Gen Z. Gen Z is perhaps more vocal about the ‘quiet quitting’ mindset on TikTok, but it’s not a new idea.

This is also not a phenomenon only associated with the UK workforce. In China, where overworking is often common, the trend ‘tang ping’ (or lying flat), was used to describe taking a break from overworking, this took off in 2021.

In America, this phrase has been going around, with many people warning others of the potential harm this could do to certain minorities. Some people have been vocal in explaining that ‘quiet quitting’ is a concept reserved not for a certain generation, but for a certain level of privilege. A consultant known as ‘The HR Queen’ posted a video on TikTok titled “Minorities should be careful quiet quitting”. In the video, she explained, “Unfortunately in corporate America minorities are held to a different standard. We are looked at differently, there’s unconscious bias still, and so we have to go above and beyond in order to be successful. We can’t risk being looked as at ‘not performing”.

Others have warned workers that ‘quiet quitting’ could lead to ‘quiet firing’, which is another new workplace trend. The phrase describes employers creating a hostile environment with the intention to push the employee to resign, rather than directly firing them. This term has risen in popularity through social media app Twitter, but this isn’t a new concept; it’s essentially another term for constructive dismissal.

The danger of 'quiet quitting'

The way people are approaching ‘quiet quitting’ seems to differ.

Some say that ‘quiet quitting’ isn’t about being lazy or doing poor work. The purpose of ‘quiet quitting’ is supposed to be about restoring a healthy balance in your career and work. Essentially this means that you’re doing exactly what you’re paid to do and establishing firm boundaries.

This doesn’t mean that you put less effort or attention into your job, but rather that you direct your effort and attention into exactly the duties that you’re supposed to be doing, during the hours you’re contracted to be working.

However, not everyone is on board with ‘quiet quitting’.

‘Quiet quitting’ means that workers are less willing to stay late, arrive early or engage in other non-mandatory activities, such as answering emails outside of work hours. But could this cause negative impacts on their career progression?

However, others believe that distancing yourself from your role and feeling resentful doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t serve the organisation you’re working for, and it doesn’t benefit you in the long run.

If you’re not developing, you’re not moving forwards, and you’re not gaining any skills that will help you step up into a job that you do want, then you’ve essentially already got one foot out of the door. If this is the case, then it could be best for everyone if you take that other step over the threshold and find a role where you will feel more fulfilled with career prospects more aligned to you.

Take your next step with T2M Resourcing

At T2M Resourcing, we recruit from trainee to senior management level, across Finance and Accountancy, HR, Technical and Engineering, and Procurement roles.

Instead of ‘quiet quitting’, take the next step in your career and discuss with us your requirements. Our team will ensure we find both candidates and businesses their ‘best fit’, contact us today for a confidential discussion about your next move!