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Virality of “quiet quitting” reflects shifting workplace attitudes

By Isaac Ang October 13, 2022


Uprooting traditional norms of work, the pandemic has led more people to “quiet quit,” or subtly protest overwhelming demands at work with actions such as refusing to work overtime or completing tasks by doing the bare minimum. While some employees claim that quiet quitting benefits their mental health by giving them more free time, employers and other workers counter that quiet quitting displays a lack of commitment to a job and could potentially harm company productivity.


Lifestyle Tiktoker @zaidleppelin, who popularized the term, defines quiet quitting as “not outright quitting your job,” but rather “quitting the idea of going above and beyond at work.” Quiet quitting could also be seen as a rebellion against hustle culture, which advocates working long hours to achieve an optimal financial outcome—often at the expense of one’s mental health, CNBC reports. Aspects of quiet quitting are mirrored in

Daniel Choi

China’s now censored “lying flat” movement, where workers—tired of the burnout and pressure exacerbated by the country’s shrinking labor market—reject the relentless work culture by resigning from their jobs and living a low-desire, minimalist lifestyle.


Some choose to quiet quit because they feel that their compensation does not match their effort, a trend known as “acting your wage.” Another factor is a hostile workplace environment; employers often exploit and overwork their employees, punishing their workers for not going above and beyond in completing their assignments. Facing long hours, people are eager to leave some time for themselves at the end of the day, with no demands or responsibilities.


“I left my job as a crew member for Baskin Robbins because the compensation was low. I wanted to prioritize academic success and the boss demanded too much of my presence every week,” Senior Jerry Zhang said.

However, other employees choose not to engage in quiet quitting, asserting that it communicates a lack of dedication to their work, prevents employees from receiving promotions or results in being fired. Similarly, some people aim to derive fulfillment from their work, and quiet quitting contradicts their personal goals.


“I enjoy my job as a martial arts instructor regardless of the salary and I often help out on off days. However, I understand why people choose to quiet quit—as an employee, it can feel like you have an obligation to constantly put forth your best effort,” Senior Marcin Witanis said.

Past quiet quitters and others have reported mixed responses to quiet quitting. After engaging in quiet quitting, actor and screenwriter Clayton Farris found that he was less stressed at work and capable of maintaining the same level of productivity, the Wall Street Journal states. According to the BBC, marketer Georgia Gadsby March began quiet quitting after her employer failed to give her the pay raise they had promised—even though she was working 60 hours a week. March felt that the move gave her back a sense of personal power, but she did eventually leave her job. On the other hand, career coach and podcast host Joanne Mallon has questioned her clients’ desire to quiet quit. She views it as a sign to move on rather than give up on one’s professional life entirely.


Quiet quitting has been embraced by some as a solution to burnout and rejected by others as a demonstration of a lack of enjoyment in one’s work; its viability is likely dependent on an individual’s unique circumstances. Nonetheless, the term’s recent virality reflects a shifting work landscape and a redefining of priorities and attitudes towards career, professional ambition and personal life.




 

About the Contributors


Isaac Ang

Investigative Report and Last Word Editor

Isaac Ang is a senior at Leland High School and is the Investigative Report and Last Word Page Editor. During his free time, Isaac enjoys rock climbing, coding, and reading/watching Lord of the Rings.







Daniel Choi

Artist

Daniel Choi is a sophomore at Leland High School and an artist for The Charger Account. During his free time, he enjoys to watch shows, do art, and play video games

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