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Quiet quitting

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 14 Oct 2022

Quiet quitting image engineering jobs

Over the last couple of months, you may have come across the term quiet quitting. But what exactly does this mean? Despite the contradicting name, quiet quitting doesn’t actually include quitting your job or leaving your company. There are a variety of reasons as to why yourself or another individual you work with may be quiet quitting, but after consideration, is it really a bad thing? 

Whether you have made this decision consciously or subconsciously, have you found that you have become a quiet quitter at work?

What does quiet quitting mean?

Quiet quitting has become a term for people or employees that are no longer going above and beyond at work. This means deciding to work their standard hours and not put in overtime. Employees are doing what some are calling the ‘bare minimum’ and coasting through their work lives. It doesn’t actually involve quitting or thinking about quitting your role, rather prioritising other things that aren’t related to your job.  

Ever since the pandemic hit, you may have seen or read many things regarding ‘the big resignation’. This was in relation to people quitting their roles after discovering, it just doesn’t make them happy anymore. They had realised that there could be more to their day job and went looking for something new and different. 

Quiet quitting could be seen as a similar concept, however it’s a term used to describe employees staying in their jobs, doing their work but no longer feeling pushed to go above and beyond in the workplace. 

But why is it being so widely spoken about?

Why are people quiet quitting?

When thinking about quiet quitting, is it really all that surprising that employees aren’t wanting to go above and beyond for the bare minimum? I’m not suggesting that employers expect perfect work and long hours from their employees but after you’ve been through big life events like a pandemic etc, it can be easy to put a long list of other priorities before your job. Your job may still be important to you and a big part of your life, but why would you keep working above your means, for the minimum in return?

It’s not a discussion about why people don’t want to work. People are working and they are working hard. But why should an employee or job seeker continue to put in heaps more effort than their job initially describes for nothing but a pat on the back?

It may be that the real discussion needs to address why people are quiet quitting and what employers can do to support these feelings. But it is clear that when you are working hard and still hitting your targets, quiet quitting shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. It’s all about people taking back their free time and making the most of their lives outside of work. The term quiet quitting initially sounds quite negative, but is that the reality? 

Work life balance is important

When we start a job, it’s likely that you may put in a few extra hours here and there to try and learn the ropes. You then might get used to putting in that little extra than expected but before long, those extra hours and activities might become expected of you. 

When you start a new job, your contract usually states what the daily requirements are, what needs to be done and the employer will usually discuss targets. Employers are also there to ensure we have everything we need to do our job and help us feel supported. This means having a good team to help us, equipment, training, and enough time. If the job starts to exceed the time outlined in your contract, that is a problem the employer should fix, not expect you to work more than one person’s hours. 

Typically, employees work 8 hours days. Whether that be full-time contracted hours or shifts. Usually, amounting to around 40 hours a week on average. When we start putting in an extra 30 minutes every single day, that’s 2.5 hours of work a week done for free. The idea of working for free, (especially if salaried) is never a good thought for anyone. It starts to take away an employee’s right to their own time and can ruin work-life balance for some people. Imagine what it’s like to be constantly working additional hours a week, it can get frustrating. 

When you think of it this way, it makes sense why people are quiet quitting. Wanting to work your contracted hours and no more, is not a crime. and as an employee, you shouldn’t be made to feel that way. 

What do you do if an employer brings this up?

Some employers may notice when you make a change to your work habits and decide to talk to you about it.  However, as long as you are doing your job, working your contracted hours, and still getting the desired results, you aren’t doing anything wrong. If you do feel like you have found yourself quiet quitting, it can say more about the organisation than you as an employee. 

However, it can also be good to talk to your line manager about your feelings regarding this. Sometimes it can go unnoticed that you have had to spend extra time on a project, or you’ve been working late and if you discuss the problem, they might be able to address it. It is important to know that not every employer will be intentionally making you feel this way, so if you feel like you can and are comfortable, speak up. It can help you feel a lot better about your work-life balance. 

Employers that expect you to work overtime for nothing, can make you feel like you are in a toxic work environment, and this is not okay. Quiet quitting might just be that start and at this point, it might be best to think about starting a job search.

Your mental and physical health is important 

Priorities have changed over the last couple of years and things that may have once felt important in your work life, are no longer. That’s just the way it is and if you feel like work is interrupting other important aspects of your life, then a change needs to be made. 

You need to be able to do the things you enjoy, prioritise tasks you need to do on a daily and overall, not feel guilty for doing your job and leaving work when you should. You can love your job and find yourself quiet quitting. You are entitled to a good balance. 

So, is quiet quitting nonsense?

The idea that not going above and beyond, every single day at work is a sign of you giving up, may be a toxic way to think about work. Yes, you should do your job and strive to reach your targets, but you should not be expected to go out of your way to work out of hours, have a multiple person workload and be expected to be perfect every single day of your career. 

Also, you should not be expected to work for free. I don’t think quiet quitting is a trend to be worried about. Especially if you are changing your habits to prioritise a good balance between work and life. 

If you feel like you have made cutbacks at work, started to stand your ground, minimise unpaid overtime and it has been taken negatively, you might want to try and talk to a manager or HR member of staff. Your job might still be a very important aspect of your life but the only thing that should ever be expected of you, is your attention and time during the workday. Not before, after, or late into the evening. 

Stand up for yourself and enjoy your work! You have that right and the trend of quiet quitting shouldn’t be used to make you feel guilty for prioritising other parts of life.