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Carreer Junction by Michele Majul-IbarraQuiet quitting

by Michele Majul-Ibarra, BA, IPMA-ACP


Last year, the Great Resignation dominated business trends and LinkedIn feeds. The second half of 2022 on the other hand brought in a new trend called “quiet quitting,” which gained quite a momentum at a time when organizations around the globe were experiencing a high turnover rate.

When I Googled “quiet quitting” to get a clear description for this article, I found out that Zaid Khan, an engineer from New York, made up this trend with his viral Tiktok video in July.

“You’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond. “You are still performing your duties, but you are no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentally that work has to be our life,” Khan says in his video. “The reality is, it’s not, and your worth as a person is not defined by your labour.”

The catchy phrase “quiet quitting” suggests a workforce trend involving employees who are choosing to not go above and beyond their jobs in ways that may perhaps include working in excess of their regular work hours, refusing to respond to e-mails outside of work hours or pushing back on extra projects that fall outside their job duties.

According to an article published by Gallup on September 6, 2022, “Quiet quitters make up at least 50 per cent of the U.S. workforce – probably more, Gallup finds. The trend toward quiet quitting – the idea spreading virally on social media that millions of people are not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description – could get worse. This is a problem because most jobs today require some level of extra effort to collaborate with co-workers and to meet customer needs.”

In my previous article about the Great Resignation, it was mentioned that employee departures had been occurring at greater intensity since 2021 and that employee retention also continued to be a challenge for many Canadian employers. The numbers conveyed by Statistic Canada in March 2022 further speaks to this challenge with 915,500 job vacancies reported in the last quarter of 2021.

According to the Conference Board, labour productivity also deteriorated in 2021, largely triggered by the impact of the conflict in Ukraine and partly due to the residual impact of the pandemic. In addition to this, there is a significant increase in job dissatisfaction in the United States, according to a report by Gallup. It reported that unsatisfied and disengaged employees cost the world economy a whopping $7.8 trillion dollars!

Although the term “quiet quitting” is fairly new, the concept has been around for a very long time. Employers just cannot expect to retain all their workforce forever. Every single person in the workforce has pursued new challenges at various points in their careers. There is a difference between not feeling connected to your job (i.e. disengaged and dissatisfied) and rejecting the notion that your job should take over your life and require you to be constantly connected. Current trends are just showing that more and more people are creating boundaries around how much they want their work to be part of their life.

This article is intended for information purposes only and not to be considered as professional advice.

Michele Majul-Ibarra, IPMA-ACP holds an Advanced Certified HR Professional Designation with the International Personnel Management Association


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