More People Are ‘Quiet Quitting’ Their Jobs. Should You?

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Colleagues with beards laugh together while sitting at desks in an office.

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It’s a decision you’ll need to consider carefully.


Key points

  • People who are dissatisfied with their jobs commonly seek work elsewhere.
  • There’s another option you can consider that doesn’t result in a job change.
  • Maintain your boundaries in the workplace, but don’t let your job performance suffer so much that you end up getting fired.

In 2020, unemployment levels reached a record high as companies laid off workers left and right in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. But by 2021, the labor market situation was very different, so much so that employers found themselves desperate to hire.

Meanwhile, today’s job market is still going strong. If you’re unhappy with your job, whether due to a low salary, a stressful environment, or another reason, you may be inclined to quit and find yourself a new one.

But lately, workers who are unhappy at their jobs have been going a different route. Rather than tender their resignations, they’ve been “quiet quitting” instead. And it’s an option you may be considering as well.

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting is a recently coined term that refers to people who don’t leave their jobs, but also decide they’re no longer pushing themselves to be the best at what they do. For some people, quiet quitting could mean setting boundaries and refusing to work after-hours. For others, it could mean doing just enough work to avoid getting fired, but not as much work as an employer might want or as much as they previously did.

What’s the benefit of quiet quitting?

If you’re unhappy with your job, you may not see the value in quiet quitting. After all, why not just go out and find a new job? But quiet quitting could work to your benefit.

Let’s say you currently earn a nice salary — enough to pay your bills easily and still have money left over for your savings at the end of the month. If you’re convinced you’ll struggle to find a comparable salary at another company and you don’t want to take a pay cut, then you may decide to just quiet quit instead.

What’s more, there’s something to be said about the evil you know versus the evil you don’t. You may work for a demanding boss, or you may be on a team of lazy colleagues who are difficult to work with. But what if you get a new job where your boss hounds you even more, and your colleagues are downright toxic and abusive? That’s far from a better situation to land in. And so you may decide to just stay where you are but do less to achieve a more ideal work-life balance.

Is quiet quitting a smart move?

To some degree, it can be. But you’ll need to do it carefully.

Setting boundaries at work is a very good idea. It can help you avoid burnout and also, avoid a situation where your employer is taking advantage of you.

But if you pledge to work less or only do the bare minimum, you could end up on the chopping block if your performance suffers. And if you blatantly ignore deadlines, you could similarly wind up out of work.

Therefore, if you’re going to quiet quit your job, tread carefully. It’s fine to decide that you won’t answer work emails over the weekend when the items in question can wait (even if your boss would prefer a quick response). But don’t go so far as to not do your work, and don’t mouth off to your boss when you’re asked to do things that are clearly part of your job description.

Of course, if your goal in quiet quitting is to really just set better boundaries, you don’t necessarily need to be quiet about it. Instead, you can sit down with your manager and explain that you feel you’re being asked to do too much, and that you need to strike a better balance.

Having that conversation could help your boss realize they’ve been overstepping, and looping them in could make your job situation much better. So before you quit your job inside your head, make an effort to push for improvements.

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