In the fast-paced world we are living in, professionals are continually striving to meet the ever-evolving demands of their industry. With cutting-edge technology, long working hours, and intense competition, the IT sector for example can be a high-pressure environment. However, beneath the surface, there is a phenomenon that often goes unnoticed but can have a profound impact. The trendy word for this would be Quiet Quitting. I think this term has been around for a very long time, it was just given a different name back then. The origin of this new term is probably a TikTok video by the creator Zaid Leppelin. I'm not going to link to the TikTok platform, but anyone who is interested can quickly find the original video by searching for the keywords "zaidleppelin quiet quitting tiktok".
What is Quiet Quitting?
Quiet Quitting is a silent departure from one's role, where an employee disengages from their work without openly expressing their dissatisfaction. It's like a quiet rebellion, a subtle protest, or a response to unresolved issues. Instead of confronting problems head-on, IT professionals may gradually lose interest and motivation in their work. However, the word itself is somewhat misleading, because it actually refers to doing the minimum requirements of one’s job without putting in more time, enthusiasm, or effort but the worker doesn’t actually leave their position and continues to collect a salary. Typical symptoms can be the following:
Note: The following points are not a psychological assessment. These are just what I have personally noticed in my own working environments.
In many places, the burnout culture is celebrated and lived. As a result, there are countless cases of people burning out every year and often you don't realize it until it's too late. This can have countless causes. Therefore Quiet Quitting feels like a kind of silent protest against this burnout culture in favour of a better work-life balance.
Unaddressed conflicts within the workplace can lead to Quiet Quitting. If employees feel their concerns are not being taken seriously, they may choose silence over confrontation.
Lack of Recognition
IT professionals often seek recognition for their hard work and achievements. When this recognition is absent, Quiet Quitting can be the result.
If IT experts feel their career is at a standstill, they may become disengaged and uninterested in their work.
From Enthusiasm to Apathy
I think Quiet Quitting has a life cycle. You first go through various stages until you finally end up at the last one. At some point, everyone with a passion for their job starts out highly motivated and passionate about the tasks in their field of work, but over time, they become disheartened and disengaged.
I would describe the first stage as "Disillusionment". In the beginning, you feel dissatisfied with your work. You may also question the meaningfulness of your own work.
Then you start to distance yourself emotionally from your work and your role. Work is often only perceived as an annoying accessory or a duty that you have to fulfill rather than a source of fulfillment. I would call this stage "Detachment" if I have to.
In the final stage, employees disengage from their work. They perform the bare minimum to get by, and their productivity declines significantly. I would call this stage "Disengagement" and this is also the stage where companies simply make a significant loss in their revenue I think. Not to mention all the emotional damage caused to the people at this stage.
Finding Fulfillment and Breaking Free
Of course, there are also some things you can do as an employee or employer. The world is not all black and white and it will certainly vary from case to case as to what the actual problem is, but here are a few things that could help to get to the root of the problem.
You read this term everywhere. You may have already got it through something, but as part of Generation Z, I come into contact with these terms very often because people in this generation have often wanted a better work-life balance for a long time instead of excessive material consumption or more and more salary in their jobs. This is not to say that the goal of climbing the career ladder is not there, but just not at all costs in the way it has perhaps been lived for a long time and still is. So as soon as you have the first thoughts of Quiet Quitting, you should treat the root causes directly and not wait for a longer period of time.
Seek Professional Growth
Invest in your professional development and seek new challenges within the organization. This can reignite your passion for your work.
One of the worst feelings can be that you never know if you are doing your job right or if you should improve something. So offer constructive feedback or ask for it yourself in order to recognize and improve your performance and find your areas for improvement.
While the term "quiet quitting" is not universally accepted as a definitive trend or recent phenomenon, it does underscore a seemingly pervasive sense of employee disengagement among workers especially in the fields of IT that employers should take seriously.