What Is ‘Quiet Quitting’ (and Should You Really Do It)?

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Photo: DimaBerlin (Shutterstock)

It turns out the Great Resignation could be more like a whisper than a bang, according to the newest trend known as quiet quitting. Instead of flipping the table at work and walking out on your job for greener pastures, quiet quitting is a much more subtle way to achieve better balance between work and life.

“Quiet quitting is doing your job at the bare minimum to achieve work/life balance,” says LinkedIn career expert Blair Heitmann. “For many, it’s a way to achieve better work-life balance, and is the latest move away from hustle culture. It could mean seeking some more appropriate boundaries at work, like leaving work on time every day, or it could mean saying no to projects outside your job description, or outright refusing to answer emails and team messages outside of working hours.”

It makes sense that people are seeking more work-life balance. According to Heitmann, a LinkedIn survey found that 40% of working Americans felt more burned out during the pandemic than before. Another study showed that 1 in 3 U.S. workers would consider a pay cut if the job offered better work-life balance (33%) or more enjoyable work (33%).

If this rings true for you, you might be wondering if you should start quiet quitting at your own job. If you’re struggling with whether to quit your job or just implement better boundaries, here’s what to consider

Should you start quiet quitting?

“If you’re quiet quitting because you need more work-life balance and are still meeting the expectations at work, this can be a healthy move,” Heitmann says. “Any changes you can make to help you focus more on your priorities—allowing you to spend more of your time on areas where you can make the most impact—will help you to be happy and fulfilled at your job.”

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But if you’re quiet quitting because you’re not motivated by your job or aren’t happy at work, and/or you’re not meeting the expectations of your role as a result, Heitmann says it might be time to find something else. If you aren’t sure what’s your best move, Heitmann recommends asking yourself these questions to figure out what you need:

  • Is there enough work-life balance? Do you have healthy boundaries?
  • Can you grow? Can you learn?
  • Are you proud of the workplace culture? Do you have influence?

“Then write down what you’re in it for. Job satisfaction is different for everyone, so take the time to do some soul-searching before you quiet quit, tender your resignation, or ask for a change in role,” she says.

Next, cross reference these two lists and ask yourself if you can work on any of these items to improve the job. Are there areas where you can add more balance or perk up your role? Then ask yourself the following questions that might help improve your current job situation:

  • Could you arrange more work-from-home days, or more flexible hours?
  • Are there on-the-job-training opportunities available to help you up-level your skills, or company-paid access to learning resources?
  • Could you transfer to another department where you can explore a new role with different opportunities.
  • Perhaps you could work for a different team or boss?

How to set better boundaries for yourself at work

If your need to quiet quit is your own lack of ability to set boundaries for yourself, Heitmann suggests evaluating if you’re spending time on the important, impactful things at work, or if you’re getting dragged into work that you could let go. “Then, have an open and honest conversation with your manager to ensure you’re focused on the right areas, and evaluate how you could flex to improve your situation.”

For those who find themselves overworking and needing to get their hours in check, Heitmann recommends blocking your calendar before or after working hours to ensure you don’t get pulled into meetings during your personal time.

And most importantly: “Turn off when you’re off! Many professionals used to have a commute to help them transition between the workday and personal time, but with so many working remotely, this transition has been lost. To help you transition from work to personal life, try to establish a new pattern—I like to go for a walk when I wrap up my workday to break it up. Another transition trick: Try to shut down your computer at a certain time so you don’t get pulled into checking your email when you walk by your desk after hours.”

How to approach your manager if you are thinking of quiet quitting

While quiet quitting might sound like a satisfying solution (if not a bandwagon you can hitch your ride to), it isn’t going to get you longterm results and doesn’t actually address the bigger issue of striking the right balance between your priorities at work and in life. Instead, Heitmann says, you’ll be better served by open and honest communication with your manager so together you can work through any issues you might be having.

If you’re struggling with how to open that dialogue, she recommends you, “first, use self-reflection, including all the questions you posed to yourself about your work priorities and pain points, to help guide a conversation with your manager. What can you ask for that might help you—shorter work days or an abridged work week, better respect for off-hours time, etc.—and ask away.”

   

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