Why is quiet quitting returning to today’s job market?
Updated: Oct 19, 2022
‘Quiet quit’ a job is a move linked to a trend that first went viral on TikTok, started by user @zkchillin in a July 2022 video that now has 3.5 million views, spawning an online phenomenon.
This is what he said:
“ 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; the reality is it's not, and your worth as a person is not defined by your labour.”
Employees can feel overworked and underpaid in the wake of the pandemic and amid the rising cost of living is not helping the situation they are facing.
Discontented workers have always found ways to disengage from their job and still collect the pay cheque but this phenomenon is now getting a lot of attention, also from the media.
Why so? And what can it say about the future of the job market?
This trend has been studied for decades but under different names: disengagement, neglect, withdrawal. So, now we just have a new form of an old problem.
Anthony Klotz, associate professor at University of College London’s School of Management said that not all people can change their job for various reasons and the economy can also play a role in keeping unhappy workers in their jobs (influencing the job market).
Always going above and beyond the call of duty consumes mental resources and causes stress, and there’s little reward for doing so if someone perceives they’re stuck at a company.
So, quiet quitting speaks to anyone who has ever felt stuck in a job but has little reason to resign.” He also believes that the idea of quiet quitting is particularly resonating at the moment because of the pandemic, and the increased conversations around mental health.
To avoid burnout they’re dedicating time and energy to other elements of their lives that are more meaningful, leading to improved wellbeing.
Working through the pandemic may also have caused a spike in employee disengagement, fuelling the quiet-quitting phenomenon. Following Covid-19, the new employees have a higher bar than older generations when it comes to working for an organisation with purpose.
Also, the sense of a deepening disconnect between employees and managers can worsen the situation.
While pulling back at work is not a new concept, Klotz believes the current quiet-quitting phenomenon taps into a wider shift in how employees are approaching their careers following the pandemic.
Employees reject long workdays, unpaid overtime and always-on presenteeism in service of an organisation and instead, they are seeking to redefine the lines between their working and personal lives to benefit themselves.
They want rich, healthy lives outside of work, too.
So, quiet quitting is a way of self-protection. It is important that managers and HR understand that new generations need to believe in the place they work, they want free time and they want to get appreciated and rewarded for the work they do!
They are probably right!