Lady boss in stylish outfit points out to clock, talking about late of her subordinate. Portrait of woman sitting in light office

Quiet Quitting

There is a new trend emerging in the office worker community: they call it “quiet quitting.” It isn’t really about quitting; it started as a movement of people trying to draw more concrete work-life boundaries. Like most trends, there are advocates and there are critics. As you might expect, the critics tend to be career coaches, business leaders and HR professionals and others. On the other hand, some young professionals praise the idea.

Time reports on Maggie Perkins who had been working as a teacher for almost five years when she decided to “quiet quit” her job. In her opinion, she wasn’t quitting, she was merely limiting her work to her contracted hours. Nothing more, nothing less. Time says that “Perkins joins a larger online community of workers who have been sharing their experiences on TikTok, taking a ‘quiet quitting’ mentality—the concept of no longer going above and beyond, and instead doing what their job description requires of them and only that.”

“Quiet quitting isn’t just about quitting on a job, it’s a step toward quitting on life,” writes Arianna Huffington in a LinkedIn post. And Kevin O’Leary (of Shark tank fame) calls it a “horrible approach to building a career.” Others say quiet quitting mind-set fosters laziness and hurts performance, even if baseline job expectations are being met. Some say it fosters a demoralizing workplace.

As I learn about this new trend, several things come to mind. The first and foremost is from the worker’s perspective. It’s something I’ve preached for as long as I can remember: if you are not happy in your job, leave it. If your job feels like work you are not doing anyone, including yourself, any favors. Go out and find a job that excites you. This is less about a work-life balance and more about personal fulfillment. Yes, our families are important. I made the hard decision to leave a great job to spend more time with my family. I am thankful I did!

From an employer’s perspective, we have an obligation to provide clarity of expectation and to foster a collaborative environment, if the work would benefit from collaboration. We have an obligation to screen our potential employees for a culture fit, too. I work for a place that values the work-life balance, but I love what I do and could not imaging “turning it off” after some threshold is met. The work never stops, and we need to be able to focus on what is important at that time.

But if my coworkers need me, or if I am on a meeting that runs past 5:00, I will not leave that meeting just because the clock says it is “quitting time.” If I have a “hard stop,” that is one thing, but I have seen and heard many stories of people who stop when the clock says to. I know for personal experience how frustrating that is when that happens to you.

Let me know what you think of this new trend and if you are seeing it in your practice! Do you think Quiet Quitting is a healthy trend?

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