Workplace's new 'quiet quitting' trend — and the pitfalls for today's employees

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Workplace ideologies continue to shift and evolve for the American workforce — and now there’s a trending new philosophy that's connected to a desire, at least among some, for better mental health.

The emerging mindset is called quiet quitting — and it's about modifying the all-out commitment to one’s career.

"Quiet quitting refers to the personal decision to quit putting in too much effort at work," explained Amy Morin, a psychotherapist in the Florida Keys, to FOX Business.

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She's also an author and host of "The Verywell Mind Podcast."  

"A quiet quitter will decide to put in the bare minimum at work."

Why is the quiet quitting trend catching on?

Some people are doing this because they recognize that despite their effort, working long hours or overachieving doesn’t do them any good, Morin explained. 

Workers “may start to think more about what they’re missing out on rather than what they’re gaining,” said one psychotherapist — but for those who put in the bare minimum, there are warnings for their careers.

"They may start to think more about what they’re missing out on rather than what they’re gaining by going above and beyond," she said.

Often, quiet quitting occurs when people feel burned out by their jobs. 

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"They might grow concerned about the impact their work is having on their mental health and decide to scale back," she said. 

Other workers may consider themselves quiet quitters, said Morin, because they no longer want to respond to messages in the evenings, or they no longer want to work late nights or weekends to get their work done.  

Employees must know that “quiet quitting usually isn’t so quiet to your boss,” one productivity expert told FOX Business. (iStock / iStock)

They yearn for clearer boundaries and a better work-life balance.

"They might simply become happy being average employees who set healthy boundaries — like saying no to extra things outside their role or telling the boss that in order to meet a certain deadline, they’re going to have to give something else up," Morin added.

Did the remote work model contribute to this?

Quiet quitting is a response to the hustle culture that was magnified by the pandemic, said Morin.

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As more people began working remotely, the line between work and home blurred, she said — often resulting in people putting in way more hours than in years past. 

Young man working late in bed on a laptop (iStock / iStock)

"So the quiet quitting culture might be the rebound response that people put forward as they’re struggling to manage burnout."

Can quiet quitting hamper career success?

If employees decide to do the bare minimum, might there be negative outcomes due to this shift?

There could be consequences, experts cautioned.

"Quiet quitting usually isn't so quiet to your boss — and in unsure economic times when RIFs (reduction in force) are on the table — management likes to look at the impact you are making and how you are helping the company initiatives," said Tanya Dalton, a productivity expert in Asheville, N.C.

“If you simply give up and decide to ‘quiet quit,’ you miss the opportunity to flourish and thrive in your existing job.”

She's also the author of "On Purpose: The Busy Woman’s Guide to an Extraordinary Life of Meaning & Success." 

Workers might be able to have better balance and boundaries, yet still perform at an achievable level for career success.  

"If you simply give up and decide to ‘quiet quit,’ you miss the opportunity to flourish and thrive in your existing job," said Dalton.

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"You are resigning yourself to the fact that work isn't enjoyable or doesn't have purpose," she added.  

"Burnout isn't caused by overwork; it's caused by not finding meaning in your work."

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She also said, "Taking the time to redefine roles and expectations can allow you to not just succeed but to thrive in your current role."

"Rather than passively setting boundaries through quiet quitting, I would recommend a more proactive approach to your career."

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