Quiet Quitting: Why the new generation thinks it’s fine

Research has shown that the number of people sitting at home with a burnout has increased by 66 percent between 2018 and 2021. Various healthcare authorities speak of worrying figures and see that the main reasons are related to work. One of the latest trends to combat these complaints is the phenomenon of quiet quitting. In America, the hashtag #quietquitting already has a large number of followers, but will this trend also spread to our little country? We looked into it for you.

What is quiet quitting

Simply put, quiet quitting is stopping work on tasks that they feel are not part of their business duties or that they are not being compensated for. This social media phenomenon is currently very popular on Tiktok and Instagram. Under the hashtag #quietquitting, people share ways they quietly quit their jobs. They choose to close their laptop at 5 p.m. sharp, to prefer their private life to their work and to be more concerned with mental health.

The term quiet quitting is somewhat misleading, as it gives the impression that employees stop working quietly. It is not the intention to be fired, but employees no longer go the extra mile for their boss and only do what is really necessary, or what is in their job description.

The term probably spread from China to the US a few years ago . On Chinese social media, the (now censored) hashtag #TangPing went viral. Freely translated, this means lying still and the use was a silent demonstration against the unhealthy work culture.

In any case, the working cultures in both countries are a lot more extreme than in the Netherlands. A 60-hour week, micromanagers, minimal appreciation and underpayment are ‘normal’ there. Quiet quitting is therefore not new, but the corona pandemic has made the term known worldwide.

Why do people do it

Few companies were prepared for the pandemic and subsequent layoffs. As a result, companies have placed many additional tasks and responsibilities with the employees who are still present. The pressure was increased internally.

At the same time, there was a lot of confusion and frustration during and after the pandemic regarding rules about working from home and coming back to the office. This caused a lot of uncertainty and burnout complaints. Many people felt burnt out and burnout complaints doubled.

Many employees of companies have also experienced a new piece of freedom due to the corona pandemic. Instead of cramming household and social obligations into evenings and weekends, we learned how to better balance our lives with the introduction of working from home. Instead of exercising in the evening, we exercised during our lunch break. And instead of pushing tasks through office hours, we chose to complete tasks when we were most productive.

This newfound freedom also created more room for the importance of mental health. Corona taught us that we are all mere mortals and we only have one life. Why then are we forced by the ‘corporates’ to spend this life largely in an office without inspiration.

To top it all off, there is inflation. Many people see an inflation rate of 8 to 9 percent, which leads to high energy prices, expensive groceries and simply less purchasing power. Subsequently, you will receive an extra 2 to 3 percent in the event of a wage increase. As a result, everyday life has not necessarily become easier and more and more people are wondering what they are working so hard for.
The sum of all these factors is quiet quitting. It is an amalgamation of new insights, new norms and values ​​and high frustrations.

Who do it

Quiet quitting is currently especially popular among young professionals. These are people who belong to the so-called Millennial generation (1980-1994) and Generation Z (1995-2010).

Millennials are naturally focused on a good work-life balance and find it important to be able to develop their careers. With the arrival of the pandemic, there was more balance between work and private life, there was room for remote working and much more flexibility in working hours. These are all aspects that are of interest to a Millennial. Due to a natural optimism, they see in quiet quitting an opportunity to organize their lives more according to their own insight, instead of letting life be determined by work.

Gen Z is the youngest working generation. Their vision of work is different from that of Millennials. For example, they find equality and diversity in the workplace very important, but they also attach great importance to job security and salary increases. They prefer their own workplace to working with colleagues together and their instinctive knowledge of digital technology means they can work anywhere. In addition, they often have an entrepreneurial mindset. As a result, they see opportunities to get started themselves, instead of for a boss.

What does it mean for companies

Whether quiet quitting really becomes/is a thing in the Netherlands remains to be seen. The Netherlands is number 1 in the statistics as the country with the most part-time employees and is internationally known as a country with good employment conditions. Where in America and China it is almost a crime to close your laptop around 5:00 pm, we in the Netherlands have been running en masse to the exit at 5:01 pm for years.

Still, from a companies point of view it is good to look at the needs of the employees. It is the responsibility of managers and supervisors to know what is going on with employees and what they need to perform optimally. They must focus on connecting with the employees by having regular conversations and working on sustainable relationships.

When you as a manager understand the intrinsic motivations, personal interests and priorities of your employees, you also better understand how these factors influence their careers. Curious how to do that? Read our article here about how you can lead even better .

What can you do to counter it

Many experts agree that quiet quitting is not a long-term solution. “Quietly quitting is often a sign that it’s time for a new challenge,” said Jill Cotton, career trends expert at Glassdoor. “If you are only minimally committed to your position, there is a good chance that your heart is no longer with the job or the company. The lack of enthusiasm and motivation is often difficult to hide and will cause frustration among colleagues and managers.”

It can be used as a kind of transition period. When you put in the minimum effort in your current position, more time and space will probably be freed up to think about the next step in your career. Especially in these times and with the current tightness on the labor market, there is no reason to stay in a position that will not make you happy in the long term.

  • Share this post

Leave a Comment