Maggie Perkins said it startedquiet quit smokingin his teaching job in 2018, even before it became a TikTok trend.
“There was no reason for me to rush because, as a teacher, there are no promotion opportunities. If you are the person who wins the teacher of the year award, [you’ll] make the same salary as someone who isn’t,” the 30-year-old mother told CNBC.
To be clear, there is no single definition of the term quiet quitting. For some, it means setting boundaries and not taking on extra work; for others, it simply means going no further. However, most agree that it doesn’t mean you’ll quit your job.
Four years later, after quietly quitting started making waves on TikTok, Perkins also made a video on how to do that as a teacher. It includes doing your job only during contract hours, not taking on extra work because that’s how you get burned or taken advantage of, he said in his video.
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“I didn’t volunteer for committees. I didn’t stay up late and do something extra. I just taught my classes and was a good teacher,” she said. CNBC do it in a virtual interview.
What workers are looking for
While the term calm quitting may be new, the concept is not.
Michael Timmes, a senior human resources specialist at Insperity, said there have always been employees who react to burnout by “doing the bare minimum.”
“Today, this is being driven by Gen Z, even though it’s evident across all generations. It’s taken hold through social media platforms,” he added.
What used to be a passive-aggressive work-life balance challenge is now becoming a very direct request. It is no longer a request. It is a demand.
Managing Director for Singapore and Malaysia, Randstad
For Jaya Dass, managing director of Randstad for Singapore and Malaysia, quietly quitting is a “residual impact” of COVID-19 Y the great resignationwhere the employees felt empowered to take control of their work and personal lives.
“What used to be a passive-aggressive work-life balance challenge is now becoming a very direct request,” he said.
“It’s no longer a request. It’s a demand.”
Kelsey Wat, a career coach, agreed, saying quitting quietly is now a way for workers to “stick” to companies that see them “as another cog in the machine.”
The problem with the Great Renunciation is that it assumes everyone has somewhere else to go, Dass added. But for people who feel they don’t have alternative jobs to go to and need to stay employed, quitting quietly has become the next available option.
“If no one is asking you to leave, why not do less by default and get away with it? You’re buying time where you are,” Jass added.
“It could come from this general sense of hopelessness … with what’s going on with inflation or cost of living, a lot of things that people haven’t recovered from.”
Is quiet quitting beneficial and what do hiring managers think about quiet quitters?
When Quitting Smoking Quietly Backfires
However, quitting quietly in theory and in practice may look different for each individual.
Experts said the concept is concerning because it may go beyond achieving a better work-life balance.
“Quitting quietly removes any emotional investment you may have from your job, which is sad given the fact that most of us spend a lot of our time at work,” Wat said.
“Most of us want to be proud of the work we do and the contributions we make. We want to see our impact and feel good about it. Resigning quietly doesn’t allow that.”
He added that it is possible to maintain healthy boundaries and stay emotionally involved at work.
Timmes agreed, saying there’s a difference between a better work-life balance and “being totally unplugged.”
From an office perspective, quietly resigning can cause conflict among employees, as some will feel that others are not bearing their weight.
Senior Human Resources Specialist, Insperity
“An employee who shows up every day, goes through the motions, turns down certain projects due to lack of interest, and has no desire to advance their current career or develop skills is very different than a case of work-life balance.”
He added that quitting smoking quietly could be a positive trend if workers focused on maximizing their office hours. “The only problem: The trend doesn’t reflect this mindset right now,” Timmes said.
Bad qualities can also be adopted by quitting quietly, such as lack of motivation, underdevelopment of skills, lack of flexibility, and inability to work in a team.
“From an office perspective, resigning quietly can cause conflict among employees, as some will feel that others are not bearing their weight,” he added.
“Overall, this can backfire on the employee and can also create a wave of inadequate and underdeveloped employees.”
Kevin O’Leary, an investor and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” also said quietly quitting is “a very bad idea.”
“The people who go above and beyond to try to solve the problems of the organization, their teams, their managers, their bosses, those are the ones who make it in life,” O’Leary said.
However, Perkins insisted that quitting quietly does not mean slacking off at work, although he acknowledged that some people can.
“I value my work and put in the hours, but I just want to be respectful of my time and energy,” she added.
Perkins has since left teaching and is now a full-time academic consultant and tutor. She says now that she is willing to go beyond her current position.
“That is because it is a company that has shown me that they value me and I receive very respectful comments from my boss, it is a healthy work environment,” he explained.
“If my boss had been really negative with me in the past, I would have just said no.”
Perkins said he used to quit “out of necessity.”
I had my first daughter [in 2018] … If I was late to pick her up from daycare, I was fined a dollar a minute, and so if I didn’t get off work as soon as my students left the building, I would have to pay a fee.”
Why Quitting Smoking Quietly Can Work
Quitting quietly can be beneficial in terms of providing more time for employees to pursue exciting projects, Timmes noted.
“The employee can think more outside the box, feel more refreshed and be more efficient in the hours they work.”
Wat added that quitting quietly can give employees short-term relief from a work environment that is “too focused on results.”
At the end of the day, quitting quietly is about…combating the ingrained belief that the only way to get ahead professionally is to work well beyond your limits and adopt a ‘yeah man’ mentality.
“I can see how quitting quietly for a while can help them refocus on their needs outside of work and hopefully lead them to bounce back from their burnout and clarify their needs and boundaries within the workplace in the future,” he added.
“At the end of the day, quitting quietly is about…combating the ingrained belief that the only way to get ahead professionally is to work beyond your limits and adopt a ‘yeah man’ mindset.”
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