For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Reimagining Quiet Quitting"

by Richardson, Sydney D (2023)


Quiet quitting is a term that arose on social media during the Coronavirus pandemic and quickly gained traction. As employees, often younger generations, explained their reasons for quiet quitting, the term took on a life of its own. Older generations saw it as laziness among young workers. Employers saw it as a work problem and often misused it as meaning that one was not doing his or her job. Younger Millennials and those of Generation Z explained quiet quitting as not doing more work than they were contractually obligated to do. While this term gained support as well as opposition, many people ignored what quiet quitting really was: an enhanced way of dealing with job stress, disengagement, and burnout. In this chapter, I explain the ways in which quiet quitting became an enhanced view of handling burnout and work-life balance. Unlike the younger generations, the participants of the study (mainly Generation X) could leave their jobs if they wanted to because, financially, they were able to do so. However, instead of quitting their jobs, they chose to launch their own businesses. This allowed them to quietly quit (with a more detailed definition) and pivot part of their passion elsewhere.

Key Passage

Starting businesses, along with reflecting on their work treatment over the pandemic, allowed the participants to consider better ways to work. In order to grow a business, work effectively at the primary job, and stillhave time for family, the entre-employees realized that their schedules and expectations needed to change. This led to them reimagining quiet quitting. While still managing to perform their job duties, which includedleadership duties, the participants rescheduled their workdays so that they would have time to develop their businesses in the evenings and on weekends, without sacrificing their well-being. They also asked for clearer and well-documented job expectations, which served as a needed challenge to the workplace culture. While leadership duties could not be scheduled, scheduling the rest of their job duties allowed them to make betteruse of their time as leaders (i.e. caring for direct reports, advocating for employees, managing projects, etc.). (p.114)


Quiet Quitting, Great Resignation, Loud Quitting, Worker Disengagement, Employment, Gen Z, Job Stress, Burnout, Work Life Balance


Quiet Quitting

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