Everyone Seems To Be Talking About "Quiet Quitting" Right Now — But Here's Why There's More To It Than You Might Think

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of conversation about a workplace trend called "quiet quitting," where people are leaning away from overwork in search of a more balanced life.

man carrying his whole office setup on his back illustrating the feeling of overwork
We Are / Getty Images

Here's what's going on:

The trend started on TikTok and gathered steam after a video from @zaidleppelin was viewed on the platform over 3 million times. In the video, he says, "I recently learned about this term called 'quiet quitting' where you're not outright quitting your job but you're quitting the idea of going above and beyond."

quiet quitting quitting the idea of going above and beyond at work

"You're still performing your duties, but you're no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life. The reality is it's not, and your worth as a person is not defined by your labor."

work is not your life

So what does this mean IRL? Maybe you stop staying late for unpaid overtime and start heading home at 5 instead. Or perhaps it means actually taking your lunch break instead of shoveling food into your face at your desk, or not checking emails at night or over the weekend. Your work still gets done, but you're more focused on taking care of yourself and having a life outside of your job.

There's a lot of conversation about "quiet quitting" on LinkedIn, where some people are feeling pretty critical about the trend. Words like "bare minimum," "lazy," and "slacking" come up a lot.

post about quiet quitting

Some people feel that quiet quitting is bad for employees and companies.

people who quiet quit are cheating themselves and their employer

And others think it's a generational issue, and possibly poor planning if a recession is on the way.

doesn't seem to be a very good recession-proof strategy

But over on Twitter, people tend see "quiet quitting" as a misnomer. It's not about goofing off or completely checking out. Instead, it's as simple as not doing more work than you get paid for. After all, wage growth has been pretty flat for literal decades even as productivity has boomed and the cost of living has gone up. People who are "quiet quitting" are just no longer willing to do extra work for free.

Many people are calling for new names for this phenomenon, like "having boundaries" or "doing your job during work hours."

And some people are actively encouraging it.

Throughout the pandemic, workplace burnout has been a big issue. Workers are feeling tired, our cash isn't going as far as it used to, and on an individual level, people have experienced a lot of loss and trauma. With that context, it totally makes sense that people are feeling the need to pull back from the 24/7 hustle culture that permeates work in America.

NBC / Via giphy.com

I also think that a lot of articles about this trend are missing the fact that many of us go through phases in our careers. Pulling back for a bit is not the same as burning down your office and quitting forever. We can go through periods of focusing on our lives outside of work and times when work matters more to us, and that's okay. We're not machines.

woman stretching on her break
Oscar Wong / Getty Images

And I'd argue that people working long hours and going above and beyond isn't always great for companies either. Studies have found that people working longer hours actually tend to have lower productivity because they're tired, and are more prone to make mistakes or get injured. I'm willing to bet that there are quiet quitters out there right now doing better work than their over-working counterparts.

MTV / Via giphy.com

Ultimately, whether quiet quitting (aka maintaining boundaries) is right for you depends on what's going on at your specific job, how you're feeling, and what your goals are. And if employers really want more from workers than what's in their job descriptions, that should be a sign for them to look at hiring more people or to pay their people more for the extra work.

woman having coffee at her desk
Delmaine Donson / Getty Images

Now I'm curious: What do you think about this trend? Let me know in the comments!