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Quiet Quitting: What Are the Risks of Doing the ‘Bare Minimum’ at Work?

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With almost seven million views on TikTok and counting, the ‘quiet quitting’ trend has recently taken social media by storm. Young employees, still dealing with the ongoing effects of the pandemic, are focusing on prioritising their work-life balance over impressing their employers.

‘Quiet quitting’ doesn’t refer to an employee leaving a role but rather quitting the idea of going above and beyond in a job and rethinking the general approach to a career and the mentality that your life needs to revolve around work

But is this new trend at risk of potentially putting workers’ employment or financial and emotional well-being at risk in the current economy?

Brean Horne, the personal finance expert at NerdWallet, highlights some key points for those tempted by the notion of ‘quiet quitting’. Here’s what you should consider and some behaviours to avoid. 

Prepare for a reaction from managers and seniors 

Any dramatic shifts in your ways of working are likely to attract your manager’s attention. So be prepared to explain why your performance has changed if those conversations arise. 

Depending on your role, your manager may decide to reevaluate your responsibilities. Especially if you’re trying to achieve a more sustainable work-life balance

Acknowledge that ‘quiet quitting’ could lead to a lack of progression or pay rises  

While the shift towards ‘quiet quitting’ might make the most sense in terms of your well-being and happiness, there are likely to be others within your workplace who see your decision to step back from certain duties as an opportunity to further their careers. 

Do not be surprised if some of your colleagues see this as an opportunity to pick up duties that you decided to leave behind and use that opportunity to get ahead when a new promotion is advertised or when it’s time for a pay rise which you might not get. 

Consider if you want to continue in your role

Before committing to the notion of ‘quiet quitting’, it’s important to evaluate why you’re doing so. Ask yourself if you’d be making the same changes in any other job role or whether it might be because you are simply no longer happy, motivated or fulfilled in your current role or organisation. 

Do you feel undervalued by those in your organisation? Do you feel underpaid for the job and tasks you are expected to deliver? Or, are you feeling that you’ve outgrown your current role and that any efforts to achieve your next progression steps are being ignored or taken for granted? 

Avoid confusing ‘quiet quitting’ with laziness

As with any trend that gains momentum via social media platforms, there are many opinions online regarding what ‘quiet quitting’ means. It’s, therefore, very important to be aware of the context ahead of potentially putting your job and financial security at risk, especially amid a looming recession, rising inflation, and the cost of living crisis. 

You will need to be sure of what is expected of you within the role you are currently employed in, and ensure that these are all being carried out. It’s also wise to consider if you are still in any probationary period or if you’ve been employed by your current employer for less than two years, as this could make it much easier for a company to ‘let you go’ if the business has to restructure and streamline the number of employees.

Don’t ignore the signs of burnout

Finally, and arguably most importantly, avoid using ‘quiet quitting’ as a reason to ignore or mask signs of burnout

It’s important to get the help you need to resolve the root cause of burnout. While the concept of ‘quiet quitting’ may offer some relief, it’s unlikely to help you manage your well-being in the long term.

So don’t suffer in silence. Seek advice from your GP or a registered mental health professional to help identity what may be causing your burnout. If work happens to be a factor, it’s worth speaking to your line manager or HR representative to share your concerns and find the best next steps to help you find a sustainable balance.

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