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Quiet Quitting, in Perspective

 

Those who are waking up to the term Quiet Quitting and are feeling as lost as I was feeling a week back may refer to this definition as provided by Neil Hare in his Forbes article “The latest buzz phrase coming out of social media is the concept of “quiet quitting,” whereby burned-out or unsatisfied employees put forth the least amount of effort possible to keep their paychecks.”

One interesting thing about “Quiet Quitting” is that this is nothing new. This concept exists in the industry for ages, just that it gets repackaged and gets a new buzzword every few decades later to create a hot workplace discussion topic. I have seen this concept being exercised by different colleagues over time in different styles, but this time it has come as a phenomenon at a different scale. So much so that, even Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai had to highlight the by-product this trend is creating, which is dipping productivity in the industry in general.

Many news articles are terming this as a second wave of The Great resignation, which I feel may be only partly true, but the reasons explained by those articles, don’t cover the real reasons why this trend is gaining popularity.

The Great Resignation, and its aftershock

As we all saw in 2021 The Great Resignation came I, where people felt that they were on the verge of getting burnout and the forced “Work from Home” routines in 2020, mentally drained people a lot and many took a step back and look at their priorities objectively and chose a less stressful life than the Hussle culture of corporate life.

There is another reality to The Great Resignation, fuelled by massive Golden Cage paycheck offers to those from the technology sector, and a sudden war to retain the talent got triggered. The pandemic pushed the whole world towards virtual systems, be it banking, retail, education, or any other sector everyone is racing to get a digitized service offering. This has created a surging demand for tech talent and that has pushed the desired salary packages by good tech talent into the stratosphere.

Many who left their firms in 2021 or early 2022, were able to demand exorbitant expected salaries and also got them as the market was adjusting to the changed market state. This got translated into a massive attrition problem for many companies, and those employees who remained back with their employers had to absorb the additional workload created by this sudden attrition. This also means people stretching during this time, were hoping to either get a similar opportunity so they can leave too or be taken care of by their firms for doing all that extra work at the time of crisis. Sadly, none of the two options materialized, and this group became prime adopters for Quiet Quitting.

Sentiments behind Quiet Quitting

Corporate life is exhausting. Over the past couple of decades, the mantra was to give it all in the early stage of your career so you can retire early, but COVID lockdowns changed a lot of such perspectives within a year. People have seen young, able, and fit people losing their lives to COVID and that made everyone step back and take a stalk of their life plans. Also, the ongoing challenges of feeling burnout after slogging at your job for consecutive years became a concern for people.

I strongly believe there is a very underrated point that many CEOs or senior management are not realizing is that, as governments are now working hard to promote a start-up culture, and many countries try to do better in ease of doing business standards, there is a side effect this effort brings to the job market. People used to toil through the toxic work cultures of corporates because the barrier to starting their venture was too high. Now with those barriers lowered, ambitious people looking to make their mark by starting their own companies and bringing their vision to people directly, rather than limiting their vision to their teams and a small sphere of influence within a corporate.

Conclusion

With the current trend of Quiet Quitting and last year’s Great Resignation, there is a big challenge for corporates to bring up the productivity standards and also an ongoing war to grab or retain the talent in the market. I firmly believe companies are not just competing with other companies to retain the talent, but also with the recent disillusionment of people from the current toxic work culture and go their way through a start-up too.

 

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Comments: (2)

Sushama Divekar
Sushama Divekar - Not Applicable - Mumbai 05 September, 2022, 07:35Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Organisations need a re-think on their operating models and work policies. The pandemic forces a change, and its a wake up call to organisations to intiate this change - in their model, operations, employee policies and demands.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 06 September, 2022, 17:05Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I've heard of Quiet Quitting. As a matter of fact, you've handily given a definition of this term. 

Your post, including title, has several mentions of Quite Quitting. I've never heard this term. What does it mean?

Shailendra Malik

Shailendra Malik

SVP - Tech Delivery (Data Platform)

DBS Bank

Member since

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Location

Singapore

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