Quiet Quitting – A New Phenomenon?

Quiet quitting seems to be trending quite a bit lately. If you’re like me, then you might have wondered what quiet quitting is all about. It refers to the position employees take which limits work within defined work hours (i.e. 8 AM – 5 PM), only engaging in work related activities within those hours, and limiting their output only to work they believe they are paid to do.

It’s not about actually quitting a job. It’s about only doing exactly what the job specifies. You may have heard it called “acting your wage.”

When I first heard of quiet quitting, I thought it was ridiculous. Upon reflection, I realized there was a time in my career when I quietly quit.

Here was my scenario.

I was a new underwriter trying to make a name for myself. A coworker went on maternity leave so I agreed to handle her territory in addition to my own. In other words, I voluntarily doubled my workload.

I began to notice others weren’t doing much (sometimes anything) to pitch in. I was the type of employee who was in early and stayed late. My upbringing taught me that you finish what you start. Because I was willing to do extra work, and to do it well, my boss continued to come back to me with more assignments.

After a while I felt like a black hole. I began to notice, rather than work with other employees to develop them, or simply ask them to take on additional work, it was easier for the manager to go back to someone who’d already said yes.

As you might imagine, after a while I burned out – not a new phenomenon. I found myself not taking on any extra work or offering to cover for other people. In other words, I quietly quit. I was only doing what was required of me.

The experience made me realize quiet quitting is nothing new. It’s only more recognizable now because people openly talk about it on social media. When you think about it, there’s nothing quiet about it because so many people are openly broadcasting it.

I believe another factor at this time is the imbalance between employers and employees. Presently there are not enough workers for all the jobs that need to be filled. That means workers have the upper hand in terms of negotiating better salaries and work conditions. This also gives leverage when it comes to denying extra work being foisted upon them.

A Change of Heart

Things won’t always stay this way. Housing markets go up and down based on demand as do many other markets, including the labor market. There will come a time when the tables will turn and getting good paying jobs won’t be as easy as it is at this time. In other words, employers will have the upper hand. When that happens, competition will increase, and I think we’ll see fewer posts about quiet quitting. The people who will have better jobs, get raises, and earn promotions will be the ones who are willing to go above and beyond.

Regarding my quiet quitting, it didn’t last long. When I began to work for a different boss, someone who really understood how to manage teams, there wasn’t an unnecessary burden put on any individual. And because of how he led and treated us, I found myself working just as much as I had when I was covering for the coworker on maternity leave. The difference was, I enjoyed it. I believed in the leader, the work, and the company. It was easy to pour myself into it because I knew what we did made a difference and I was compensated well and saw career advancement.


When it comes to quiet quitting, or dissatisfaction with an employer or boss, be careful what you post online. Remember, what goes on the Internet is permanent and could cause regret in the future it it means missed opportunities. And know this;  the employer – employee tide will turn at some point because it always does.

Brian Ahearn

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world!

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