When COVID-19 shut down the country for the better part of a year, company work and company culture dynamics changed dramatically and seemingly forever. First came a push to work from home full-time, or at least part-time. Then, there was “the great resignation” by 25 percent of the American workforce. Now comes “quiet quitting,” the latest viral work movement that has companies scratching their heads and many employees requestioning work/life balance in a whole new way.
For those unfamiliar with the term, (or for anyone not on TikTok where the movement has gained traction), “quiet quitting” is the idea of doing only what your job description requires instead of going above and beyond at work. Not surprisingly, the very mention of the phrase elicits passionate reactions both positive and negative largely depending on who’s doing the responding and in what company culture they’re working.
An Unfortunate Label.
Not since “defund the police” has the intent and impact of a phrase been less aligned than with “quiet quitting.” The word “quitting” has a negative connotation to begin with and paired with “quiet” it sounds sneaky. Neither are true in this case which is why the phrase is so unfortunate. But that hasn’t stopped it from working people up nationwide. This is how the author of a recent Wall Street Journal article put it:
“The viral term “quiet quitting” isn’t really about quitting, nor is there anything quiet about the debate it has unleashed about careers and coasting this summer.