“Quiet Quiet” struck a chord. That means more time for friends, family and personal pursuits, not to mention part-time jobs. But there are downsides to the latest workplace trends.
TikTok and Twitter are full of explainer videos and endless explanations. Despite what the name might suggest, quietly resigning doesn’t mean you’re filing a resignation letter. Instead, it’s a stealthy retreat from the frenetic culture dominated by the pre-pop era, which abandoned everything in pursuit of ambition. Quiet Quiet is the new nickname for an essential element of job descriptions.
Should you quit your job too? Here’s why and why not:
Work-life balance: Zaid Khan, 24, who made a popular quiet resignation video on TikTok, says he started working on “job reform” and the subreddit r/AntiWork during the Covid-19 lockdown, when his job drained everything.
“I realized that no matter how much work I put in, I wouldn’t see the return I expected,” Khan, a software developer and musician, said in an interview. “Overhauls are a limited path to progress for American companies. As many of us have learned over the past few years, in many structured corporate environments, physical and mental health takes a back seat to productivity.”
During the pandemic, Khan faced record burnout and stress across industries, according to a January report from the American Psychological Association.
Quietly quitting your job in a toxic work environment can protect your physical and mental health, says organizational psychologist Ben Granger, who leads employee experience consulting services at research firm Qualtrics. But staying in a miserable job, doing only the bare minimum, means giving up the satisfaction that a good job can bring.
For his part, Khan ended up quitting a new manager who respected his work-life boundaries. “He kept telling me your health comes first,” he said. “If you need a day off, or you need to set aside some time … we do more than just work.”
Passionate about projects: Antrell Vining, 25, works as a full-time project manager in the financial industry. As an after-get off work side business, he creates social media content about the tech industry and the work life of millennials and Gen Zers. After dropping out of medical school to pursue a career in tech, he dedicated himself to helping others in similar careers change. With nearly 30,000 followers on TikTok, Vining makes money from career and resume consulting services and partnerships with companies, he said. For him, pausing quietly means setting boundaries so he has the time and energy to pursue his heart project.
In a video intended to satirize the idea of quiet quitting, he slams his laptop shut during a Zoom meeting at 5PM sharp.
Last year, approximately 5.4 million new businesses were started in the United States. According to the Census, a streak of entrepreneurship coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Interviewer Jami Vining said that people today are always starting their own businesses. Instead of working 9 to 5, they work on their own ventures outside of scheduled work hours. Jami Vining stated this in an email. After working through 5 o’clock, he takes a break and works on his own projects or spends time with loved ones. Jami stated that he creates content to inspire people to do the same.
Quitting a traditional job can be difficult. Many people choose to keep their jobs despite the benefits that they provide. This includes health care, salary and stability. For some people, it’s too risky to quit despite these benefits.
Jha’nee Carter, 38, who calls herself the HR Queen on TikTok, said that quiet quitting has added risks for marginalized groups. “Can minorities afford to do this in corporate America? In my opinion, I’m going to say no,” Carter, a business coach and content creator, said in a video.
Structural inequalities remain in many industries throughout the US: Gender and racial pay disparities, as well as a general dearth of diversity in c-suites, are well-documented.
“If you are quietly quitting and you’re not going above and beyond, unfortunately in corporate America minorities are held to a different standard,” she said. “We are looked at differently, there is unconscious bias still, and so we have to go above and beyond in order to be successful. We can’t risk being looked at as not performing, if we are not meeting those expectations, we are the first on the chopping block.”
Recession risk: With the job market highly uncertain, quiet shutdowns spread like wildfire. As the entire economy competes for talent and there are more jobs than workers, workers prevail over their bosses. But a looming recession and layoffs at big names like Apple Inc, Peloton Interactive Inc and Walmart Inc suggest the balance of power may be shifting.
A new survey by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers found that half of those surveyed in the U.S. said they were laying off staff or planning to do so. A July report from job search platform Joblist found that before economic conditions changed, 60% of job seekers felt finding a new job was more urgent now.
“Companies fire people quickly,” Carter adds in her video. “If you decide to quit quietly, I really hope you can quietly let the recruiter find you another job.”