I Tried Quiet Quitting and Here’s What I Learned

I tried quiet quitting years ago, but quickly discovered it wasn’t the answer to my workplace challenges. Here’s what I learned to do instead.

When I started hearing about employees ‘quiet quitting’ at work, I confess my first reaction to this terrible term was something along the lines of “lazy workers lacking a work ethic.”

Yet after learning more about it and recalling that I too was once a quiet quitter (though it was better known as being a ‘slacker’ for Gen Xers like me), I’ve changed my tune.

Quiet quitting isn’t about being lazy. But I still don’t think it’s the way to go.

Reasons for Quiet Quitting

While there’s many different definitions out there around quiet quitting, most explain it as employees who are doing their job but choosing not to go above and beyond at work. Think disengagement.

There can be many reasons why employees are quiet quitting, like dialing it back to avoid burnout. According to Fast Company, the quiet quitter’s mindset is a symptom of a work environment where people feel cornered or stuck.

For me, there were two times I recall myself quiet quitting during my career, and both were in response to workplace frustrations.

1) The first time was when I felt stuck in my job. When it seemed like no matter what I did or how hard I worked, I still wouldn’t get promoted.

2) The second time was when I felt overwhelmed by my job. When it seemed impossible to succeed given the ever-expanding list of “top strategies” deemed as “top priority” for the business.

They were both short-lived episodes, as I quickly discovered ‘quiet quitting’ wasn’t the answer.

Quiet Quitting Isn’t the Answer

Quiet quitting didn’t make my work challenges go away. Quiet quitting didn’t help me achieve my goal of getting ahead at work, and it certainly didn’t make my exploding workload go away.

Staying at a job where I didn’t feel appreciated, even when I could get by without giving my best effort, wasn’t good for me. In fact, after a short time, quiet quitting just made me feel worse—like I was failing by not living up to my potential.

Quiet quitting was a temporary way for me to cope with a bad work environment. But it wasn’t a long-term solution to my challenges. Instead of coping with my situation, I learned the better approach was to change my situation.

Change the Situation

As much as I would like to share how I worked with my manager to address my challenges, and as a result all my career dreams came true—that’s not how it went down. Conversations did take place, but solutions didn’t happen.

Here’s the thing. When you reach a point where you’re quiet quitting and disengaged in your job, it’s likely time to move on. Similarly, you don’t want quiet quitting to turn into feelings of bitterness and resentment.

Sometimes the best answer is to switch roles and work for someone else or someplace else.

I changed my situation by changing my job. I went from quiet quitting to quitting for real. And it was the best move I could have made.

By taking on a new role, not only was I re-inspired to work harder and achieve more, but I eventually reached my own career goals in the process.

Reconsider Your Approach

So, if you’re quiet quitting in response to workplace frustrations, you might want to reconsider your approach.

When you refuse to go ‘above and beyond’ at work, you can miss out on new experiences to grow and develop. And in turn, limit your progression and earning potential in the future. If you aspire to advance your career, quiet quitting can make a bad situation worse.

Quiet quitting may provide some short-term relief, but it’s not a long-term solution. Rather than try to cope with a bad situation, work to change it—even if that means it’s time to quit for real and move on.

What do you think?