Anyone with any access to social media accounts has surely become familiar with posting regarding the phenomenon known as “quiet quitting.” Wikipedia defines quiet quitting as” an application of work-to-rule, in which employees work within defined work hours and engage solely in activities within those hours. Despite the name, the philosophy of quiet quitting is not necessarily connected to quitting a job outright but rather doing precisely what the job requires. Proponents of quiet quitting also refer to it as acting your wage.” If being a “go-getter” at work means going above and beyond in service to your employer in the name of getting that job done well, then quiet quitting is simply the refusal to do anything beyond the specific parameters of the job you were hired to do. Even more recently, “quiet firing” has been popping up with its coverage—some would argue as a response to the quiet quitting movement.
The practice of “quiet firing” involves leaders or managers that penalize or ignore employees hoping they will quit of their own accord. While quiet quitting may not have anything to do with leaving a job, instead establishing boundaries where an employee protects their work-life balance, either practice ultimately indicates a failure to communicate between management and employees. That someone would have to spell out that they will not be attending work meetings while on vacation or during family emergencies means that infringement on private time has already occurred. If a supervisor would instead demean or ignore an employee rather than simply firing them or attempting to work with their boundaries, the failure ultimately is with the supervisor.
According to a Forbes article published on September 22, 2022, quiet quitting can be considered the “canary in the coal mine within toxic work environments that are led by low-conscious leaders.” The assertion is that people who go that extra mile often do the same work as those forced to establish boundaries. The difference is they are more vocal about staying late or working on weekends to get jobs done, thereby creating an expectation that everyone else does the same. The comparison is that if Joe remains until 8 pm on a Tuesday, why is Lisa leaving at 5 pm? This creates an unnecessarily toxic environment, and studies show employees tend to check out emotionally when managers tolerate that.
In a perfect world, an unhappy worker would go to their boss and discuss and explain that they are at capacity and expect that the response would focus on creating a solution that allows for a balance of work and personal life. In doing so, fostering a workplace of mutual respect, open dialogue and ultimately more productivity. As the world we live in is far from perfect, if an employer is asking more than you can give or if they are trying to “quite fire” you, start looking for a new job rather than begin your own policy of “quiet quitting,” no matter how justifiable you may consider that action. You deserve to work where you feel respected and your time is valued without having to spell out the boundaries of consideration