How to Tell If You're Quiet Quitting (and What to Do If You Are)
by iPEC TeamApr 07, 2023 | 3 minutes read
If you’ve been experiencing a heightened sense of disengagement in your career, you’re not alone!
In 2022, "quiet quitting" emerged as a widespread workplace trend in the U.S. as well as many other parts of our world. And while the term itself may have only made its way into the mainstream within the last year, the concepts it’s rooted in—disengagement, a lack of belonging, an absence of advancement opportunity, and so on—have been around for decades.
Still, the sudden rise of the term has shone an entirely new light on its causes and widespread presence (as well as some hidden opportunities, but more on that in a minute 😉). According to a 2022 Gallup study, quiet quitters make up at least 50% of the U.S. workforce, with that percentage being highest among those under the age of 35.
So what’s causing this lack of engagement among younger workers? And what can you do when you begin to notice you might also be quietly quitting your job?
Here’s a look at what quiet quitting is (and isn't!), the main reasons it’s becoming increasingly prevalent, and some opportunities that might be available to you if you notice yourself quietly quitting.
What is Quiet Quitting?
Quietly quitting a job refers to only fulfilling the minimum requirements of one’s job on a day-to-day basis, refraining from putting in any more time, effort, or enthusiasm than is absolutely required to retain employment.
To clarify, when quiet quitting you don't actually leave your position, but rather stop going the extra mile in any capacity.
Quiet Quitting vs. Workplace Boundaries
This is not to be confused with the act of setting healthy workplace boundaries (i.e., not making yourself available during non-business hours, not saying "yes" to every task that is presented, etc.). Many employees around the world are learning to honor what's important to them in their everyday life while also prioritizing their mental health and emotional well-being alongside their career—and this is something to be celebrated!
In many cases, what may be perceived as quiet quitting by the outside observer (or even by the employee themselves) is actually just a healthy commitment to boundaries. This can be especially true in today's nonstop corporate work environment where the separation between business and non-business hours has become more blurred than ever.
It's important to understand which side of the fence you're on, as this can help determine which steps (if any) you can take to advance your career in the right direction. If you're unsure, that's absolutely understandable. If it feels helpful, consider how you'd rate the level of engagement you feel in your professional role on a typical day on a scale from 1 to 10. Assigning an actual number to your level of engagement and fulfillment at work can provide powerful awareness that can then be used to navigate your next steps.
The ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is now 1.8 to 1—the lowest in almost a decade—which has certainly impacted the rise of the quiet quitting phenomenon. But where has this disengagement stemmed from?
Why Do People Quietly Quit Their Jobs?
There are a number of reasons you might find yourself shifting into a quiet-quitting mindset with your employer, all generally stemming from a lack of engagement or belonging, as well as a lack of investment on the part of the organization.
Primary reasons for quiet quitting include:
- Unclear expectations
- A lack of opportunity for growth or advancement
- A lack of feeling cared about as a person or a professional
- A disconnect between yourself and the organization’s mission or purpose
Since the pandemic, younger workers especially have experienced a decline in how much they feel cared about, as well as in the opportunities they have to grow their career. Many feel no one at the company cares about or encourages them, and remote or hybrid employees especially might not even know what’s expected of them in the first place.
And while much of the response to quiet quitting has centered on what employers and managers should to do combat it, not nearly enough has been focused on what the employees themselves can do to overcome these challenges. The fact is that in many cases, quiet quitting is simply the byproduct of being in the wrong career, with the wrong organization, or simply needing a change.
What to Do If You Find Yourself Quietly Quitting Your Job
If you notice that you've begun quietly quitting your job, there are a number of things you can do to overcome it and to put yourself in a favorable career position—rather than simply passing the time in an unfulfilling role.
For many quiet quitters, the root cause may simply be the career itself. Many of us had visions of what we wanted to become when we were in high school and college, but sometimes, you reach a certain point in your career where the vision just doesn’t seem appealing anymore. (This is actually a sign of tremendous personal growth!)
If neither your current position nor your outlook for the next 2-3 years light you up, it may be time to consider a new direction that's more aligned with who you are today instead of a past version of yourself.
Start a Business
For those with an abundance of passion and ambition toward a certain discipline, starting your own business may be a great solution. This can provide you with an opportunity to put the future of your career in your own hands, and can also open exciting doors while stepping into the freedom and flexibility you desire.
Become a Coach
Earning a coaching certification is a great way to combine the best of both worlds—building on your pre-existing passions while also opening the door to new experiences and opportunities in the process. Whether you're interested in life coaching, executive coaching, or another area of specialization, there are countless options today for developing professionals to carve out a niche for the future.