The term “quiet quitting” has exploded onto social media, namely TikTok, and is slowly trickling upward in workplaces around the world. While many call it a misnomer, others are latching onto the hype in hopes of catalyzing workplace reform. 

No matter which camp you hitch your post to, it’s important to understand both sides so you can intelligently discuss the matter and make more informed decisions.

What is quietly quitting?

What Is Quiet Quitting? 

One definition of quiet quitting is doing the “bare minimum” for the job, whereas the “quitting” part refers to the idea of quitting going above and beyond. While this definition may seem scary, it really means having healthy boundaries at work. It means prioritizing work-life balance so employees are not overworked and can avoid burnout. The pro-employee camp is in agreement that the definition has a negative stigma but is split on why it’s negative. 

On one hand, this definition describes only doing the job you’re paid to do, which, if you think about it, is a bit insane to think that someone’s created an insulting word that describes people who do the job they’re paid to do and are unwilling to devote more of their personal time to further their career.

The other pro-employee camp thinks the phrase’s “quiet” part is what’s wrong with it. They believe that a quiet movement isn’t going to achieve the same results as actively and loudly working towards the workplace reforms they want.

What people think about quitting quietly

What People Think About Quietly Quitting

Employers and employees are obviously split on the phrase. The split isn’t only between those groups; however, as mentioned above, even employees are split among themselves. While the employers, in regards to those who have spoken out on mainstream media, have generally come to the same consensus.

Aside from the employees who believe the term is incorrect, some believe the action is unjust. One employee was quoted stating that “It isn’t always about you. You’re on a team, you’re in a department.” Her take on the matter was that everyone should be doing their part. She also states that as long as work is being done, people can do what they want.

Some employees have just learned about the term and realized that it describes them perfectly. Alex Bauer was interviewed by the New York Times and was quoted saying that it was fulfilling being able to check off tasks on a list and that they were good at their job, but mentioned that once they go home, they don’t think about the stress of work and enjoy being able to do things they like. Bauer was also quoted saying that she’s glad there’s a movement backing her views that work should stop at the end of the day and not leak into personal time. There are others who side with Bauer who are also exceptional at their job but don’t understand the constant need to burn the proverbial candle at both ends.

Employers, understandably, are not happy with the news. Entrepreneur and businessman Kevin O’Leary went on the record stating that quiet quitting is a really bad idea. He even went so far as to say that he looks to hire people who are willing to work “25 hours a day, 8 days a week.” It is entirely understandable that employers are upset with the direction employees are moving in, as the tradition of working in the office made working overtime more commonplace.

Should you be worried as an employer?

Should You Be Worried As An Employer?

Overall, this isn’t a reason to panic. If anything, it’s a good way to check in with your employee’s workloads and see if they’re overloaded with additional tasks. You might need to reassess areas that can either be automated or outsourced in order to give your staff the time to focus on more important tasks.

Another factor to consider when thinking about quiet quitting is the fact that it’s existed for much longer than the term has. The only reason it’s a big deal now is because it gained traction on TikTok, and a term was coined.

The late comedian George Carlin had a joke stating that “most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.” George passed away back in 2008, meaning there was already a longstanding stigma in the workplace that compensation wasn’t enough for anyone to truly go above and beyond. Going back even further, soviet workers had a saying, “we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.”

The cycle of history will repeat itself, and everything will go back to the normal status quo. The revolution, especially those started on social media, disappear as quickly as they appear. 

The Wrap Up

The term quiet quitting was only conceptualized recently, but the attitude has been around long before social media. The sheer amount of quotes or complaints from workers around the world attests to its longstanding presence in workplaces.

It’s a big deal now because social media makes it incredibly easy to spread an idea around and get it into the mainstream. While people have different opinions on it, and reforms should be made, the chances of longstanding change actually occurring aren’t high as history tends to repeat itself.