‘Quiet quitting’ is a new term for a not-so-new work idea. An approach to work-life balance with healthy and established boundaries. Despite the name it doesn’t involve quitting your job, quietly or otherwise.
Confusingly, there’s no strict definition for what quiet quitting actually means. Some argue that it means doing your job exactly as it is laid out in your contract without taking on any extra work or additional responsibilities. While to others it’s a rejection of the ‘hustle culture’ that pervades social media; the staying late and the 6/7 day work week.
Brought to mainstream prominence this summer, in part by a TikTok by @zaidleppelin, it’s easy for employers to dismiss the term as a passing viral trend, soon to be forgotten. But the surging popularity of the term represents a real world shift in the attitudes of employees to their work.
As @zaidleppelin describes it in his viral TikTok, “You’re not outright quitting your job but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond. You’re still performing your duties but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life.”
Maggie Perkins began “quiet quitting” her job as a teacher in 2018, long before it became a viral sensation: “You don’t even have to just give up, but scale back on your commitment, or your presence, or your hustle… And you’re still getting the job done. You’re not shorting your company on their productivity. You’re doing what you’re expected to do.”
Quiet quitting appears to be a continuation in the large shift in workers’ attitude to work. A shift that began with the “Great Resignation” that was seen post-pandemic in the US, here in the UK, and throughout Europe. Many workers experienced burnout. Others used the opportunity to enter new industries. Meanwhile, many enjoyed the shift to remote working and were willing to leave jobs that forced returns to the office.
Maggie Perkins said that for her, the main reason was “There was no reason for me to hustle because as a teacher, there’s no promotion opportunities.” She highlights a common and classic reason for quiet quitting, and a reason that we hear from our candidates here at Herd for why they’re looking for new jobs: A lack of career progression opportunities.
Quiet quitting may seem like a way to take back control. To establish a better work-life balance. Or to simply do the bare minimum for a job that you feel isn’t rewarding your hard work. But it may not be the best thing for you.
Career coach, Kasey Wat, warns about the dangers associated with quiet quitting: “Quiet quitting removes any emotional investment you might have from your work, which is sad given the fact that most of us spend so much of our time at work.
Most of us want to be proud of the work we do and the contributions we make. We want to see our impact and feel good about it. Quiet quitting doesn’t allow for that.”
While “quiet quitting” may be a reaction to an unhospitable working environment, instead of helping to alleviate your negative feelings towards your job, it may exacerbate them.
For example, Maggie Perkins “quiet quit” her job in 2018 before actually quitting her job and career as a teacher in 2020. For her, quiet quitting didn’t solve her unhappiness with her job and wasn’t a long term solution.
Instead, speak to your manager or employer if you’re feeling burnt out, if your workload is too much, or if you’re doing too much work that is outside the scope of your responsibilities. Whatever you need to do to re-engage with your work.
But if your employer can’t or won’t provide you with the support you need, then it’s time to ask yourself “Why quiet quit, when you can quit?”. It’s a candidate driven market, with more digital marketing jobs than digital marketers to fill them. Meaning you have more option than ever when it comes to where you work.
If you’re a digital marketer thinking about quiet quitting because you’re unhappy with your job, reach out to us here for a confidential discussion about your role and your career with one of our digital recruitment experts.
Alternatively, you can look at our positions here, to make sure you’re being fairly compensated for your work.
What this trend represents is a challenge for managers: To make sure their employees are engaged with their work, with the company as a whole, and to make sure they aren’t feeling burnout. Quiet quitting isn’t always visible and can be harder to spot. It’s the responsibility of managers to notice drops in productivity or shifts in attitude to work.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide for employers on staff retention, because 99% of keeping employees happens long before the not counter offer stage. It happens by recognising the signs of employee burnout, and supporting your employees so they don’t want to quit. Quietly or otherwise.
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