Quiet Quitting: A Positive or Negative for Employees?

Written by Steven Marwick
Author

Many people will have heard the term “quiet quitting” and may not be sure of the meaning. It actually has very little to do with quitting your job at all. It is a phrase that means only doing the things that you are contractually obliged to do, and not taking on any extra things that are outside your remit. It also means stopping when you should and not doing anything work-related outside your working hours that you are remunerated appropriately to do. 

It has been a staple view in most working environments for the past few decades that employees should show willingness and do extra work in order to increase their chances of advancement and promotion. 

Quiet quitting challenges this idea and many people, particularly younger people, are embracing this way of working and living. It is a way to ensure a better work-life balance and this has to be a positive aspect for the people in their lives. We look at some of the positive and negative aspects of this new trend to understand the benefits and the negatives attached to it.

Positives of Quiet Quitting for Employees

Better Work-Life Balance

It is important to have a balance between work and a life outside of work and this is something that people can sometimes find difficult to get the balance right, particularly since the advent of remote work and work-from-home jobs. Many people have now returned to the office and this can bring its own challenges in terms of managing to figure out how to make the different routines work. There may also be an added commute to juggle and factor into the equation and very few happy staff around, as there are now skills gaps appearing, where people have left.  

The Setting of Healthy Boundaries

One of the worst things about working is when you end up with an employer who believes that employees should be available whenever they wish. Quiet quitting acknowledges that there need to be boundaries between work and private life and sometimes the people involved will spell these out if their wishes are not immediately being heard.

Self-Confidence Boost

There is definitely something to be said for having the wherewithal to talk to your boss honestly and frankly and letting them know that you are not doing more than you are contracted to. If you have done this well and it has been received in the spirit in which it was intended, it can be a great boost to the employee’s self-confidence and how they see themselves. 

Negatives of Quiet Quitting for Employees

Hurting Chances of Promotion

Quiet quitting is often seen as a way of damaging your own career prospects at a company and this may be true. It is too early to tell whether this phenomenon will lead to long-term damage to careers or whether employers will ultimately come to respect people who stood their ground, in a difficult situation. 

Some would argue that it isn’t something new at all and that people have been getting away with this for decades, just doing the bare minimum necessary to get paid and go about their daily lives.  

Potential Friction with Management

Management often doesn’t like being told “No”, in no uncertain terms by employees, or that their requests are in any way unreasonable and they may not take kindly to having the rule book quoted at them about the hours someone works. 

They may feel aggrieved that others aren’t prepared to do the extra work while they have had to put in the extra hours over many years to get to where they are. Management may see achieving an impressive amount of career progression and numerous pay rises along the way as a reward for the way that they worked and grafted over an extended period of time and come to resent those unwilling to do the same. 

Possibility of Losing Job

If you are prepared to take part in quiet quitting, you should be prepared to actually quit, if you need to. Particularly in non-unionised workplaces, employers may decide to give an ultimatum that you either stop quiet quitting and abide by their workplace rules or face being fired. 

This is something that you should consider very carefully as a possibility and be absolutely sure that you are able to afford to lose the job before deciding that this is something that you wish to do. 

When Does Quiet Quitting Make Most Sense?

Many people use quiet quitting as a tactic while they are in the final part of working with a company. They may have been unsuccessful when asking for a pay rise or advancement within the company and have become disillusioned with their current position and trajectory.  

It is often born out of thwarted ambitions and a feeling of being undervalued. Employers can do a lot to help with this, by offering perks such as the possibility of taking a workation or assistance with upskilling in order to improve your current skills.

If Quiet Quitting Becomes Actual Quitting

If the act of quiet quitting underlines to you that you are unhappy in your current workplace and are feeling pretty detached from the ethos of the management, it makes sense to consider pursuing your future elsewhere. 

There is no point remaining in an unhappy workplace, even if your work friends urge you not to go. At the end of the day, it has to be your own decision, taken in your own interests. If a job isn’t working for you any longer, you are entirely within your rights to find something better for yourself. 

You may want to look at our dedicated jobs board to find career change jobs. Before you do so, take a look at the hints and tips for improving your CV as these will ensure that you are still current in this area of transferable skills. You should also remember to check out the information on how to format a cover letter

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