On July 25th, a man posted a video of himself on TikTok lazily slumped in a subway station, masked, as he began to speak on "quiet quitting," an old-is-new excuse to rationalize accomplishing the bare minimum at a person's place of employment. It's catching on with Gen Zers and it's also contributing to inflation and layoffs.
With a voice reflecting his flaccid posture, TikTok user zaidleppelin said, "I recently learned about this term called 'quiet quitting' where you're not outright quitting your job but you're quitting the idea of going above and beyond. You're still performing your duties but you're no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life."
According to a Resume Builder survey, 21 percent of Americans are 'quiet quitting.'
NPR reports that media consultant and Substack writer Ed Zitron believes the term has been born into reality because American companies exploit their employees' labor.
Zitron said, "The term 'quiet quitting' is so offensive, because it suggests that people that do their work have somehow quit their job, framing workers as some sort of villain in an equation where they're doing exactly what they were told."
Examples of quiet quitters include Daniella Flores, a former IT worker at a financial company. According to CNBC, Flores goes by "they/them" pronouns and "quiet quit" in June of 2021, only to then outright quit to pursue blogging more and to find unspecific creative endeavors.
In the original TikTik, quiet quitter zaidleppelin spent his newly gained leisure time trying to touch bubbles made from a children's bubble toy.
Yahoo News reports on a quiet quitter, TikTok user millenialmsfrizz, who said she has no intention of taking on any "extra responsibility without extra compensation." She's a teacher.
Zitron said, "If you want people to go 'above and beyond,' compensate them for it. Give them $200. Pay them for the extra work," without specifying the metric for the $200. Depending on if an employee is salaried, hourly, or freelance, an unspecified $200 bonus could warrant scrutiny from a newly engorged IRS.
USA Today reports that the epidemic of quiet quitting is significantly impacting productivity, and that comes as the Federal Reserve is trying to rein in prices. The result is that the practice is contributing to inflation and companies are turning to job cuts and layoffs.
Other reports of quiet quitting reinforce a standard of simply articulating boundaries and communicating clearly to bosses about output and expectations.
Mother and project manager Kristin Zawatski told NPR, "Knowing that life could be short, I didn't want to waste it anymore all the time just worrying about what kind of employee I was, because my kids don't care what kind of employee I am."
To Zawatski, quiet quitting simply meant relinquishing hang ups about being away from work so she could spend time with her kids.
In the original TikTok, zaidleppelin ended his thought with, "The reality is, it's not, and your worth as a person is not defined by your labor."
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