Life Hack Or Red Flag?

If you’ve been on the internet recently, you’ve likely encountered the phenomenon of “quiet quitting.” This is the practice of going to work for the obligatory hours, doing exactly what is contractually required and nothing more. The method is now widely utilized by many, with overall employee engagement steadily declining since 2020.

What does quiet quitting really mean? You might have noticed I haven’t mentioned actually quitting your work. Quiet quitting is a misleading nomenclature because this phenomenon is not about quitting your job at all. It’s about doing exactly what your position requires. This practice establishes distinct boundaries between work and personal life, but some employers aren’t loving the trend.

This quote from TikTok user @zaidleppelin sums this movement up. They say, “You’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond [at work]. You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life. The reality is﹘ it’s not, and your worth as a person is not defined by your labor.”

What’s driving this shift? One unexpected gift that the pandemic gave many of us was time at home to reflect on how our professions were affecting our lives as a whole. The consensus among many was that their jobs were negatively impacting their lives, and they simply did not want to settle for that reality any longer.

Quiet quitting your job, also referred to as “acting your wage,” ensures that your professional life stays within the bounds of working hours and assigned duties. It gives the power back to the individual when it comes to their lives outside of work. Many found this priority shift absolutely necessary after evaluating existing work-life balance before and during the pandemic.

What are the benefits? Employees who have started “acting their wage” are quick to turn down extra work if it’s not a part of their job description. Over time, this helps to keep workloads reasonable and safeguards against taking on more than you can handle. For employees who are already experiencing massive amounts of burnout, quiet quitting can help them to reconnect with what is fulfilling outside of their professional life.

Quiet quitters are no longer bending over backwards for their employers while readily sacrificing their mental and physical health. Those who draw these boundaries are prioritizing themselves and their relationships rather than succumbing to the stresses of the office even while off the clock. Across the board, that’s a win for work-life balance.

Who’s this not good for? Quiet quitting might sound like a dream up until this point! But there are some who might not be doing themselves any favors with this way of working. If you are in a commission-based position, putting in far less effort may indeed result in significantly less pay when all is said and done. In addition, it’s ill-advised for fresh entrepreneurs to try this tactic. Afterall, when you’re first starting out, whether it’s working for yourself or breaking into a new career, extra effort is required to establish yourself.

So, what can employers learn from quiet quitting? As you might’ve already guessed, the widespread benefits of quiet quitting don’t extend to employers. A person who is going to go above and beyond definitely seems more valuable to a company than someone who is coasting at work. On the other hand, an employee who is constantly given more work as a result of their proven track record will likely become burnt out and eventually look for employment elsewhere.

This trend of widespread disengagement is the workforce speaking out, and employers would be wise to listen. In many cases, communication regarding expectations of employees needs to be clearer. Or maybe it’s time for companies to reevaluate their management tactics, company culture, or compensation packages.

Quiet quitting is a direct result of employees feeling “un-” in their positions𑁋 unappreciated, unsupported, under-compensated, unmotivated, or unimportant. Without active, prolonged efforts to improve, employee engagement will undoubtedly continue to lag. After all, if you want to see more effort from your workforce, you must put in the effort to address their concerns. Morale isn’t something that is conjured by force alone.