“Quiet Quitting”: What It’s About and What Can Be Done

Samantha Stein
4 min readJan 28
photo by the author

What is “Quiet Quitting?”

The term “quiet quitting” refers to employees who put no more effort into their jobs than absolutely necessary. Quiet quitters continue to fulfill their primary responsibilities, but they’re less willing to engage in activities known in the business world as “citizenship behaviors”: staying late, showing up early, or attending non-mandatory meetings.

This term is being billed as a new phenomenon by the media and business, but skeptics question whether quiet quitting is a new trend or simply a trendy new name for worker dissatisfaction. When workers are surveyed annually, they generally have had the same rate of job satisfaction over the past 20 years. Some argue that the term has taken off in part because burned-out or bored workers are simply desperate for a fresh vocabulary to describe their feelings rather than things having dramatically changed.

That said, the fact that the term is being discussed so publicly gives us an opportunity to think about and discuss work, the workplace, and the people who spend many hours there.

Response to Toxic Work Culture

There are some who feel the term–and what it implies–highlights toxic work culture. Ever since the internet has come into our lives, many jobs have expanded into our homes 27/7, and “time off” has become a thing of the past. Employers seem to expect their employees to be available far beyond their contracted work hours. Many feel it highlights the need for employees to have healthy boundaries (to take care of themselves), avoid burnout, and push back on a work life that constantly invades our evenings and weekends. They wonder: when is simply doing your job such a bad thing?

For example, “quiet quitting” could mean simply keeping work life to the times when the office is open, and postponing tasks until tomorrow that don’t urgently need to be done that day. It could mean not checking emails during the evenings or weekends and taking time off when sick or using accrued vacation time for an actual vacation. It’s about important self-care empowerment for people who have been selling themselves, not just their time, to their employer.

Samantha Stein

I’m a writer, photographer, and psychologist who (monthly) explores self, relationships, and mental health in an ever-changing world.