Are You or Your Team Members Part of the Silent Resistance? 2040’s Ideas and Innovations Newsletter, Issue 73

Quiet Quitting

Issue 73, Sept 15, 2022

We’ve all become seduced by the power of digital media to shift the cultural conversation in real time. Case in point: A cascade of reports about Quiet Quitting hit our inboxes after it was socialized on TikTok in July. It soon became the darling of cultural observers and journalists … and the bane of HR teams. So, what’s the fuss? Ambivalent employment has been around for ages; quiet quitting has gained traction as the corollary to The Great Resignation. Just as a reminder, The Great Resignation “saw an average of nearly 4 million employees leave their jobs each month in 2021 amid clashes over flexibility and a widespread reevaluation of how work should fit into their lives. And it’s also gaining steam now at a moment of peak tension between managers and employees, as many companies prepare for another push to bring workers back to offices,” according to The Washington Post.

Quitting Quietly

Quiet quitters have seemingly become the Silent Resistance. Technically, quiet quitting is doing the least amount of work possible. It doesn’t necessarily mean employees have checked out, but they are definitely setting boundaries and controlling their engagement levels. With a workforce doing the bare minimum based on their ethos that they work to live, not live to work, the resounding choruses of needing life/work balance have shattered traditionalists’ definition and opinion of “work.”

In deconstructing the quiet-quitting phenomenon, a CNBC report quotes Michael Timmes, a senior HR specialist at Insperity, “There have always been employees who react to burnout by doing the bare minimum. Today, this is being driven by Gen Z, however, it is evident across all generations.” Propelled by the disillusion of many younger workers as being perceived as cogs in a wheel, it’s a passive-aggressive way to make a statement. Often without any consequences. There’s a practical aspect to it: not all employees can quit — there may be nowhere to go. Quiet quitting buys some time and as long as workers are doing the minimum without criticism from management, they pull it off. To the chagrin of older colleagues, quiet quitters are demonstrating minimal emotional investment in work and/or are seeking to define their concept of a career outside the context of a traditional organizational ladder. The attitude is also a manifestation of anti-ambition, another millennial/Gen Z touchstone.

Let’s take a broader view and consider what The Guardian recently reported “What is happening is that tired, overworked, burnt-out working-class people are taking back their agency and refusing jobs and working conditions that are unsuitable for them. The latest of these acts of resistance is quiet quitting: the newly coined term for when workers only do the job that they’re being paid to do, without taking on any extra duties, or participating in extracurriculars at work.”

How did we get here? Continue to the full article to learn more>

And check out our new book, The Truth About Transformation, for a comprehensive playbook on the risks and rewards of managing a modern business in a disruptive marketplace.

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Kevin Novak

4X webby winner, CEO and Chief Strategy Officer @2040 Digital (www.2040digital.com), IADAS Member, Speaker, Author, Science Nut