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Have you heard the new phrase quiet quitting? It signifies not taking your job too seriously and has become particularly popular with millennials. As this Wall Street Journal article reports, the phrase is “generating millions of views on TikTok as some young professionals reject the idea of going above and beyond in their careers, labeling their lesser enthusiasm a form of “quitting.” It isn’t about getting off the company payroll, these employees say. In fact, the idea is to stay on it—but focus your time on the things you do outside of the office.” 

Having balance in our lives is a good thing, it’s fundamental to our wellbeing. However, there is a ‘quiet quitting’ gradient and while some actions are focussed on creating balance, other choices may be detrimental to your career.

Why is quiet quitting on the rise?

This piece in The Guardian defines quiet quitters as “avoiding the above and beyond, the hustle culture mentality, or what psychologists call “occupational citizenship behaviours”. Essentially, workers are avoiding activities that are outside their formal job description.

The COVID-19 pandemic blurred the lines between work and home life and for many employees it has been a time of burnout. Employee stress is at a new all-time high according to the global analytics and advice firm Gallup’s 2022 workplace report. The report also (unsurprisingly) highlights that global engagement and wellbeing trends are low (but stable). Prior to the pandemic engagement and wellbeing had been rising globally for nearly a decade. 

It has also been a period of existential reckoning for many employees. Questions such as ‘does my job give me meaning and fulfillment?’, ‘is my work benefiting society?’ and ‘do my values align with those of my workplace?’ are being asked. As a result, people are seeking new opportunities or at least a better work/life balance. 

For some supporters, the quiet quitting movement is political. They are rejecting the capitalist concept that productivity trumps all because they aren’t seeing the benefits. 

At its best, the quiet quitting movement is reminding people not to work to the point of burnout. Zaid Khan, a 24-year-old engineer in New York said in his viral quit quitting TikTok video “You’re no longer subscribing to the hustle-culture mentality that work has to be your life,”.

How do you create balance (and have a job)?

Firstly, you need to ask yourself, ‘am I in the right job at the right company?’. If the answer is yes, that’s great. You most likely have an alignment with your company values and enjoy the work you do. Creating work/life balance therefore becomes more about establishing appropriate boundaries and techniques to switch off.

If you’re not in the right job or at the right company, then it’s likely that you’re working for an organisation that doesn’t look out for your wellbeing enough. More and more organisations in 2022 are focussing on the wellbeing of their workers, as Gullup’s report highlighted -employee wellbeing is the new workplace imperative. So, if you’re feeling burnt out, over worked and undervalued or all of the above! Then it might be time to find a new job, or perhaps incorporate some of the more positive quiet quitting principals into your life.