“Quiet quitting” is a term we’ve often been hearing these days. Essentially, the idea is employees fulfill only the basics of their job descriptions and don’t go above and beyond in any way. Others say “quiet quitting” means that employees are setting boundaries and won’t take on additional work that might require them to work on evenings and weekends.
Despite the term, not everyone who “quiet quits” is actually quitting or just biding their time until they find something better (though for some, this is what it should mean!). In other instances, quiet quitting can just mean that someone isn’t letting their job take over their life.
Often, quiet quitting can signal that you’re actively disengaged from your job. A recent Gallup survey found that just about half of workers in the United States were “quiet quitters,” with only about 32 percent of survey respondents reporting they were actively engaged at their jobs.
The other 50 percent of workers were removed from their job in some way, while 18 percent of this larger half were “actively disengaged.” Another percentage included individuals who were “loud quitters” who made their dissatisfaction known.
“The overall decline was especially related to the clarity of expectations, opportunities to learn and grow, feeling cared about, and a connection to the organization’s mission or purpose — signaling a growing disconnect between employees and their employers,” Gallup explained.
Let’s say that you have already “quiet quit” your job, whether you identify with this term or not. You’re disengaged from your coworkers and only want to do the bare minimum in your job.
Here, we’ll talk about how you can use this disengaged mentality to find a position that suits you better.
Identify which type of quiet quitter you are.
Though we hear the term “quiet quitting” regularly these days, it’s important to note that it doesn’t have a standard definition. Some say it has a positive connotation: employees are protecting their time off and not overburdening themselves with too many professional obligations. Others suggest that quiet quitting describes employees who are disengaged from work and do the bare minimum to scrape by.
“Skeptics have termed this doing the bare minimum or phoning it in. Quiet quitting proponents counter that it’s actually just doing your job and setting firmer boundaries at work,” said Katherine Cullen for Psychology Today.
So, which type of quiet quitter are you? If you’re the latter, you might have to grapple with ways not to feel guilty when saying no or turning down a project that doesn’t interest you.
If you find that you’re bored, burnt out, or unmotivated in your job, on the other hand, you want to examine this feeling. If you’ve quiet quit because you don’t like your job, now is the right time to find a different one that would suit you.
Figure out what elements of your job are causing you to disengage.
If you’re disengaged at work, your first step is figuring out precisely what isn’t working for you. Is it the company culture or your colleagues? Or does the work itself bore you?
One way to determine what you don’t like is to list all the tasks you do in a week. Be honest about how you spend your time. Then, consider which tasks drain your energy and which ones give you energy. You should be spending most of your time on energizing tasks; otherwise, you’re likely to be dissatisfied.
If you discover that you’ve quiet quit because your job is wearing you out or boring you, you could talk to your boss about how to modify your role. If they’re unwilling to change your role, then there’s no reason you can’t search for something else.
“Right now, the risk of termination is lower. And that’s also why the incentive to work harder is reduced. The consequences of being found to shirk have become much smaller. One, because companies can’t afford to fire people. And two, because there are so many alternatives out there if you do lose your job,” said Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter.
Identify what would engage you at work.
There are many reasons why you may feel a lack of interest at work that is causing you to quiet quit. Here are a few of the most common reasons for disengagement:
- You don’t feel challenged. Your tasks may seem repetitive, and perhaps you have already mastered them.
- You don’t get to use your skills. Perhaps you want to explore new capacities that you haven’t since taking this job, or maybe the job you have was a poor fit, to begin with.
- The company or organization’s mission doesn’t match your sense of purpose. So, you’re working to develop someone else’s goals, but they don’t align with the mission that matters most to you.
Contributing to a company or a mission you don’t find personally fulfilling can lead you to disengage from work. But choosing to find work that you find valuable can be scary, yet important, suggests career changer Ed Burdette.
“We know what we do but may struggle to explain why it’s important. For the person seeking engaging work, this is not good enough. We need to know the reason for our work. Without knowing the purpose, we can’t connect deeply with what we do because we’re not sure it’s that important,” he writes.
Your Reasons Behind “Quiet Quitting” Can Give You Pathways Forward
If you find that your job has caused you to disengage through quiet quitting, you can use your lack of motivation as a way to shape your path forward. Figure out what has made you lose interest in work, identify roles or fields that might suit you better, and begin searching for a new position.
Not sure what would make you excited to start work in the morning? One of Ivy Exec’s Career Coaches can help you figure out what energizes your professional life.