On the “Quiet Quitting” Commotion

Man closing a laptop on a desk.
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Spawned from a TikTok that went viral, the term “quiet quitting” has been on everyone’s lips lately, causing controversy, stirring up a media frenzy, and sparking debate from all sides.

While some people are panicking over it, others see it as a complete non-issue or even a misnomer for a normal work behaviour. if you haven’t yet heard of the quiet quitting ‘trend’ yet, read on to decide for yourself.

What is the definition of “quiet quitting”?

Despite what it sounds like, the term has nothing to do with quitting one’s job.

It simply means the act of setting boundaries around work and working only to meet the bare minimum job requirements – while still getting the job done – instead of going above and beyond in a position.

It is a rejection of the “hustle culture” and involves refusing to work overtime without pay, answer bosses’ calls after hours, or risk job burnout from overworking.

Some describe it as “acting your wage”, and a sign that employees are fed up with being underpaid for their efforts.

Essentially, it describes a “work-to-live” approach to a job rather than a “live-to-work” one, the idea that work is not the be all, end all in life.

The term came from a viral TikTok and had not previously been used.

Responses to “quiet quitting”

Quiet quitting as a problem

A large part of the media sphere has been quick to jump onto quiet quitting as an issue, suggesting it shows a decline in work ethic or respect for jobs and employers. Experts on workplace motivation have rushed in with advice articles for employers to help them combat this supposed problem.

In short, quiet quitting is a decidedly negative thing upsetting the current work culture.

Those who see it as an issue are seeking ways to fix it, to get employees engaged and preventing them from becoming quiet quitters. They are also looking into why this supposed “trend” is happening, such as low employee engagement in the workplace (which is, after all, currently a problem).

Quiet quitting as a non-issue or “nonsense”

On the other side are people scoffing at this furore and at the idea that quiet quitting is a new phenomenon or “trend”.

Journalists from The Guardian and the Financial Times have called it “nonsense” and “worse than nonsense”, respectively.

They argue that quiet quitting really refers to a thing that is not even new – working to live, rather than living to work, has always been a “thing”.

What’s more, they point out that “quiet quitters” are in actual fact meeting their job requirements and doing their work, and that it is unfair to give this a name with negative connotations, when in fact it is a fairly neutral behaviour.

What’s more, some argue that the term implies that going above and beyond in a job – and working to burnout – is the expected norm for workers when it shouldn’t be.

This side of the debate sees nothing wrong with workers drawing boundaries in their jobs to maintain their wellbeing.

What do you think of the quiet quitting debate? Let us know in the comments below!

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