Long reads

Quiet firing and quiet quitting: TikTok trends hurting your career

We are burned out, or so the experts say. Although we are not sure we need an impartial expert to tell us that the stress of the last two years coupled with rising inflation costs, ongoing political upheaval, and changing workplace norms has taken its toll. We lived through it.

Experts, and counting psychologists, economists, and career coaches among the ranks, are concerned that TikTok trends rooted in our personal lives are seeping into our more professional spheres, and as a result are doing us more harm than good.

We have all heard of ghosting – when a romantic partner simply disappears – but did you know that ghosting has transitioned to the corporate world? The Great Resignation, when combined with the current tight labour market, has given job seekers a sense of entitlement, while hiring managers are more accustomed to almost an attitude of “there’s plenty more talent in the sea”.

This perspective manifests in hiring managers ghosting candidates after interviews, and new hires ghosting companies when a better offer comes along. Psychologists say this trend has its roots in dating apps which made romantic partners more plentiful and easily replaced, and it is now being replicated in the labour market. Don’t like this contract? We can easily find another.

Ghosting isn’t the only TikTok trend seeping into your professional life. There is also the phenomena of quiet firing, quiet quitting, and public quitting, which although seemingly harmless and fun, are ultimately hurting your career. Discover more about each below.

Quiet Quitting

For Millennials, the idea of quiet quitting is brand new. For the Gen X and Baby Boomers among us, it is similar to the idea of a “go slow”. Essentially, it is doing the bare minimum at your job. Doing just enough to remain on payroll, but letting others pick up the slack, suggest improvements, and help out during busy periods.

While proponents of this craze argue that it is their right to just do their job and go home, spending those saved hours on personal projects and family time, experts say that it’s going to hurt your career in the long term, and not just at your current company.

Think about it. All industries are small if you work in them long enough, and, whether you think it is fair or not, your reputation will precede you. Sure, Mike and Claire are your colleagues now, but in five years when they have moved on, progressed their career and are hiring for a new team do you really want to be known as the person who wasn’t a team player and didn’t really care about the bigger picture?

Quiet Firing 

With its roots in the dating world, quiet firing is the professional equivalent of the relationship “long fade”. Personally, the long fade is when you keep in contact but pull back a little more each time until eventually the other person gets the message.

Professionally, quiet firing is when your boss turns down your requests for salary increases, promotions, non-financial benefits, and even prevents you from accessing professional development opportunities. This is done until the employee has no choice but to find an opportunity with another company.

Psychologists put the rise in quiet firing down to our changing workplaces and the slow but steady move towards hybrid working. Virtually refusing an employee’s request is a much easier task than doing it face-to-face, especially when you can end the meeting and not see their disappointment and upset. Which is probably why 39% of employees admitted finding their boss much more aggressive in a virtual setting than a real life one.

Public Quitting 

A much more Gen Z trend that is gaining traction is public quitting, which involves recording a video of the moment you quit your job, ensuring you get the reaction from your boss. Potentially funny for your friends, probably embarrassing for your boss and, absolutely damaging to your career.

Yes, you may get a few hundred, or thousand, likes and comments on your social media accounts, but showing yourself as being this unprofessional, having poor judgement, and capable of being so indiscreet will damage your ability to find a new role. Keep in mind, employment offers can be rescinded. You have a new job offer now, post a video like this and you may not have it for very long.

Ultimately, all three trends are fuelled by a lack of communication – be it an unwillingness to have the difficult conversations or an inability to admit to yourself how unhappy you are in a role and address the root cause.

Whatever the cause, the fact remains that if you feel adopting an attitude of quiet quitting is the only way to be happy with your current company or you see colleagues being quietly fired, then we are here to tell you it is time to move on.

Rather than add that level of daily stress to your life, find a new role with a company which values you and your skill set. 

The Finextra Job Board is filled with companies hiring across all sectors and all levels – meaning there’s something for you there.

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