The Quiet Exit: A Revolution in the Way We Work or the End of Hard Work?

Employees leave when job dissatisfaction rises

Employees leave when job dissatisfaction rises


There’s a new term for working and doing the bare minimum at work: “quietly quit.” The phrase is making its way across job sites like LinkedIn, where some coaches and managers are warning against the practice, and on TikTok, where employees are going viral explaining why they’re jumping on the quiet layoff bandwagon.

Everyone can agree that this term does not mean that the employee has resigned, but rather that he sets boundaries at work and refuses to go further in the performance of his duties.

Experts say that the phenomenon of silent smoking cessation is not a coincidence. This is partly a byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic, where millions of workers lost their jobs as the disease brought the economy to a standstill. While most have found new jobs or been rehired, the nation’s labor force remains smaller than it was before the health crisis. This puts more pressure on existing employees, who are often asked to do more for the same pay.

“People see ‘quiet’ and ‘quitting’ and think it’s about quitting, but really a quiet quit means someone who has decided, ‘I want to prioritize my overall well-being and things outside of work,” Elise Friedman, senior client partner at consulting firm Korn Ferry, told CBS MoneyWatch.

But, she added, “that’s different from being disconnected.” Instead, it’s about doing what’s required of them without taking on an ambitious project, agreeing to work nights and weekends, and putting in extra effort in ways Americans are traditionally encouraged to demonstrate their value to an employer.

It is also no coincidence that the movement follows the so-called Great Resignation, when a record number of Americans quit or changed jobs. As employers struggle to recruit new employees, for the first time in years employees have more opportunities to find higher-paying roles, demand higher pay and even unite in trade unions seek improvement of working conditions and benefits.

But with signs of a slowing economy and inflation at a 40-year high, many workers may not feel safe enough to leave their jobs and are finding other ways to cope, said Syracuse University psychology professor Kevin Antschel.

“Thus, we have a ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances driving the current ‘quiet exit’ trend,” he said in an email.

A new paradigm?

To some extent, the quiet layoffs may represent an evolution of the Great Resignation, as Americans reject employers’ gleeful expectations that they will dutifully work longer hours each week without additional compensation. Whether this trend grows from a spark into a raging fire that will change cultural attitudes toward work and work practices as a whole may depend on whether workers maintain the upper hand over employers.

At the same time, labor productivity has been volatile since the pandemic, some economists say offering that the stress hit the production workers.

Still, there is some irony in calling the trend “attrition” when workers are still showing up to work and doing their jobs.

“It just means you do the work required of you during regular business hours, and then you work and live your life,” wrote one LinkedIn observer. “So we’ve become so obsessed with the culture of work and hustle that doing your regular job is now called OUT?! It’s crazy.”

Other experts express caution about moving toward this trend, especially for workers who traditionally face barriers to career advancement, such as people of color and women. First, people of color generally benefit from being visible to their bosses, which provides opportunities to learn new skills and get promoted, while imposing tighter job restrictions won’t necessarily work, said corporate mentoring expert Jeannie Carter. , owner of HRQueen, whose popular TikTok video on this issue, he warned the minorities to leave quietly.

“It was a controversial post,” Carter told CBS MoneyWatch. “Studies show that [people of color] do not have the same resources as their white counterparts. Because of that, it’s important for us to keep going — it puts us in front of the people we need to talk to.”

Generational differences

The trend also appears to be driven by a generational shift, with Gen Z and millennial workers increasingly questioning the hustle and bustle culture ingrained in corporate America amid the pandemic.

Across all age groups, about 25% of workers said they did the least amount of work in August. survey 1,000 employees by But around 30% of 25- to 34-year-olds said they were meeting the minimum required – compared with just 8% for workers over 54, the study found.

Meanwhile, some conservatives and older workers have criticized the idea of ​​quiet layoffs, deriding it as “lazy,” condescending and unprofessionalism.

Despite these differences, experts say the debate could ultimately benefit both employees and employers by revealing how communication between workers and managers must change in today’s workplace.

“When someone is burned out and says, ‘I’m going to mail it in,’ that’s an opportunity for a real employer-employee conversation,” noted Matt Spielman, director of productivity and head coach at Career Coaching. firm Inflection Point Partners. “Quiet throwing is a manifestation of the fact that people do not have honest, mature conversations.”

A quiet layoff could also signal that a growing number of employees are disengaged from their jobs and employers, which benefits neither party, Spielman said. This can lead to businesses not being able to get the best out of their employees, while workers are putting in long hours at jobs they feel are unfulfilling.

“Free work for a careless boss”

Indeed, it seems that the pandemic has caused changes in the way employees feel about their jobs, according to Gallup find that 34% of workers said they were engaged in their work in 2021, down from 36% in 2020 — the first such decline in a decade.

Workers who are attracted to the idea of ​​a quiet layoff should first question their motives and goals, Spielman said. “I hope they ask themselves, ‘Is this how I want to spend this huge chunk of my time?’

Instead, employees could review their days, figure out what types of tasks make them tick, and start a discussion with their managers, he recommended.

But some experts believe that the quiet dismissals indicate that more and more workers are simply questioning the employment contract and whether their bosses are complying with the terms. Some employees admit that their supervisors have not gone “above and beyond” during the pandemic, noted Ed Citron, CEO of public relations firm EZPR, in blog post.

In short, more and more workers are wondering why they should put in 120% if their employers aren’t making the same effort to meet their needs.

“What’s more, it’s becoming alarmingly clear to most workers that meritocracy doesn’t exist—working hard doesn’t get you far, and going above and beyond rarely, if ever, yields anything other than free work for an uncaring boss,” Citron wrote .

Some people say that the quiet tossing has been around for years, albeit without a catchy name, triggered by life demands such as caring for children or aging parents. Former teacher Maggie Perkins, 30, of Athens, Ga., said she started doing it in 2018 after having her daughter.

“I had to leave immediately when my contract was up so I could get her to kindergarten without a penalty and also spend a few precious hours with her before she went to bed early as a child,” said Perkins, now a counselor. executive power, which is located about trending on TikTok.

She added: “In a toxic working environment, [quiet quitting] frustrated my employers that I could not be overwhelmed or emotionally manipulated.”

Cons: Promotions and payment

Of course, quitting quietly can have downsides, career experts say.

Job security, for example. Some economists believe that the US could go into recession amid high inflation and rising interest rates. Such downturns are usually associated with rising unemployment as businesses cut jobs to cope with slowing demand.

“Those who do the minimum will be the first,” Spielman noted.

When bosses are considering who to promote, they may look to workers who go above and beyond the demands of their jobs, Friedman noted. “With this choice [of quiet quitting]there will be slower promotions, less visibility and possibly fewer awards,” she added.

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And other experts caution that certain groups of workers who have historically faced barriers to advancement, such as people of color and women, should think twice before embracing the idea of ​​a quiet layoff. HRQueen’s Carter said such groups still face unconscious biases and need to be mindful of that.

She added that people should advocate for themselves first — talking to their bosses about getting a raise or a raise — before they quit.

“I don’t believe you should give eight hours a day to a bad manager who won’t give you a raise — I’m not saying you’re trading your time for that,” she said. “But you have to remember what’s going on in America and play that game.”

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