Is Quiet Quitting A Real Trend? Learn More About The New Corporate Phenomenon 

by Job & Career 14 August 2023

Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting refers to a phenomenon where an employee does the bare minimum of their job and does not put in any more effort, time, or enthusiasm than what is just the bare minimum.

Quiet quitting is mostly considered a misnomer since the employee does not really leave their position, works the bare minimum, and yet continues to receive a salary. Also, quiet quitting emerged as a pretty popularized trend in the United States and other places back in the early 2020s.

However, many analysts have actually claimed how old this trend actually is, and if at all, can it be considered new?

Key Points

✔ Quiet quitting is a term that refers to employees that do not put any more effort into their jobs than what is absolutely necessary.

✔ A 2022 survey by Gallup reported that more than half the workforce in the United States consists of quiet quitters.

✔ Analysts, however, have questioned these digits and rather questioned if the trend is actually new or if it is just another new name given to worker dissatisfaction.

How Does Quiet Quitting Work?

A Harvard Business Article from September 2022 aimed to explain the phenomenon of quiet quitting to anxious executives.

“Quiet quitters continue to fulfill their primary responsibilities, but they’re less willing to engage in activities known as citizenship behaviors: no more staying late, showing up early, or attending non-mandatory meetings.”

  • Prof. Anthony C. Klotz and Prof. Mark C. Bolino, Harvard Business School.

However, there have been mixed emotions from managers regarding this phenomenon.

While some have been quite tolerant of this phenomenon due to the tight labor market of recent years, where firing quiet quitters and hiring new employees is a tough job, some haven’t been quite as tolerant. Some organizations haven’t been so quiet about firing the employees that they claimed were slacking off.

Contradicting quiet quitting, the term quiet firing has been the talk of the corporate town where employers make a job so unrewarding that employees will be compelled to resign.

Beyond the corporate town, the term quite quitting has now been applied to multiple non-work scenarios like relationships and marriages.

Origin Of Quiet Quitting

Based on the Los Angeles Times, the term quiet quitting was first used by Bryan Creely, a corporate employer turned career coach based in Nashville, who cited it in a video posted on YouTube and TikTok on 4th March 2022.

Meanwhile, Wikipedia has claimed that the term originated way back in 2009 by an individual that it calls “economist Mark Boldger” – an attribution that surely has spread to multiple other websites.

Other writers, however, have traced the concept, not the term, to China, where a very similar corporate phenomenon known as “lying flat” seems to have originated almost a year earlier.

Is Quiet Quitting A Real Trend?

According to research done by Gallup in June 2022, employees above the age of 18 and above confirmed that 50% of the total workforce in the United States is made up of quiet quitters.

The percentage is particularly high among employees that are under the age of 35, according to Gallup.

Gallup arrived at the conclusion after using a series of questions regarding worker engagement, which was defined as “the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace.”

In the survey, just 32% of the employees were referred to as engaged, while the other 18% were not engaged, which meant they were not secretive about their dissatisfaction with their jobs.

However, the remaining 50%, as theorized by Gallup, can be classified as quiet quitters, which are the individuals who are not as engaged in their jobs but did not disclose the fact as such.

If these numbers are to be considered correct, then a remarkable 68% of the total job holders in America are dissatisfied with the job that they are currently working.

Is Quiet Quitting Really A Brand New Phenomenon?

Although the coined term itself and its digital nature may be quite new, analysts suggest that the concept is anything but new.

A Gallup poll of employee engagement has shown that engagement of employees towards their jobs has relatively been quite stable between 2000 to 2022; in fact, rising a little high during that period.

However, there has been a visible decrease in the count between 2020 to 2022, though it is not as major, and it clashes with the outbreak and development of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Is Quiet Quitting Good Or Bad?

On one side, quiet quitting has been referred to as a process where employees can maintain healthy boundaries and an efficient work-life balance by only doing what they are paid for while keeping their mental health and personal life as their top priority.

But on the other hand, it has been termed by the opponents as “checking out” while performing the bare minimum just to collect paychecks.

So, whether quiet quitting is good or bad is only a matter of perspective.

Quiet quitting has been mostly negatively spoken about by the media, and employers are quite against the concept after it is more profitable for a company to generate more work from their employees than what it pays to them.

As far as the employees are concerned, quiet quitting has certain pros and cons.

If an employee considers themself to be a business, quiet quitting simply conveys not giving up the product for free, which can be called good business, especially if the demand for that product is high.

Considering the other side of the coin, employees that have been actively looking forward to fetching a promotion or pay raise will consider quiet quitting to be quite an ineffective method to achieve those ends, as overperforming without an increase in pay is considered to be one of the best ways to certify for new roles; however, they are not guaranteed.

The Bottom Line

Quiet quitting may necessarily be a bona fide or a new phenomenon. But it has put light on the massive number of dissatisfied workers in the American workforce, which is something that needs great attention from employers.

Hoping I was able to help you out with the insights that I have provided in the article. If there is anything that you feel confused about or feel like there is something that I may have missed out on, feel free to comment down, and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

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Upasana is a budding journalist who has a keen interest in writing. She considers writing as therapeutic and is most confident when she writes. She is passionate about music, movies and fashion. She writes in a way that connects with the audience in a personal level. She is optimistic, fun loving and opinionated.

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