Quiet quitting's war on hustle culture is online, in print, on TV and all over social media. While the country debates very loudly over what quiet quitting is, what it means to the workplace and whether quiet quitters deserve their jobs, you might be quietly considering how to put it into action.
Quiet Quitting in Practice
Some grumble that quiet quitting is a performance-related issue of employees doing the bare minimum at their jobs. Others believe it's about employees becoming disengaged and cynical due to a dying "hustle culture." The plainest definition of quiet quitting is performing one's work strictly according to a job description. That means doing nothing above or beyond.
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But by that same logic, quiet quitting also means doing nothing less than you were hired to do.
Somewhere between "too much" and "too little" is that sweet spot of "just right." Therein lies the way to incorporate quiet quitting into your work-life balance.
Know Your Worth – and Show It
Topping the American Management Association's list of ways to show your value at work is by focusing your time and skills on the activities that tie back to the company's mission and bottom line. By maximizing your efforts to have a visible impact, you are not showboating; you are doing what you were hired to do and making sure no one misses it.
Get a solid understanding of what you bring to the table – whether in a conference room or via your home office. Gather evidence of your solid work history – performance reviews, successful projects, training certifications – and create a portfolio. Then make a list of what needs to change in the workplace to help you exercise your strengths, advance the organization and feel good about the work you do.
Knowing your strengths and impact on the workplace sets a background for designing goals, gives you the confidence to set healthy boundaries and presents a place to start the conversation.
Having clear goals and an action plan isn't for suckers buying into hustle culture; it's the first step in helping you define limits.
Set Boundaries and Goals
According to Gallup, strength-based goal setting leads to the best outcomes. SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) shouldn't be something you throw together at evaluation time to please senior management; use them for yourself.
Tying your personal work goals to those of your organization ensures that your time and effort works toward visible, measurable outcomes. This helps you feel engaged and shows your team that you are tuned in. Next, set boundaries that help you stay engaged at work and happy at home.
Having clear goals and an action plan isn't for suckers buying into hustle culture; it's the first step in helping you define limits. When the workday is clearly productive, there is no reason for calls or emails outside of work hours and no reason to work late. If you consistently knock out quality work from home, your argument to maintain remote work is inherently stronger.
In the spirit of quiet quitting, know what is off-limits by first laying out what you intend to get done, as well as how, where and when.
Compromise and Communicate
You can still lay down the law regarding what you will and will not do without cloaking it in stealth and silence. This may sound like it goes against the idea of quiet quitting, but doing it out in the open only clashes with what has turned out to be a confusing label.
There is no actual quitting happening. And who says it has to be quiet? If quiet quitting is doing what you are paid to do and getting paid for everything you do, the better way to accomplish this may be through advocating for yourself.
If you're among the 50 percent of workers that Gallup reports as being "psychologically detached" from their jobs, getting things out in the open may help more than backing away.
Harvard Business Review published an employee engagement checklist that includes flexibility, autonomy and rewarding workers with additional pay and time off. Gallup defined 12 employee needs for workplace engagement: simple things like clear expectations, opportunity to do one's best, recognition and encouragement. Just about everything on these lists requires communication of some sort.
Express your expectations, goals and boundaries. Talk about what you need to achieve an environment, workload and pay structure that work for both sides.
While the TikTok affirmations that "Work is not your life" and "Your worth is not defined by your productive output" remain true, no one has yet confirmed that quiet quitting alone will make you feel better or get to the root of the problem.
- Gallup: Is Quiet Quitting Real?
- Harvard Business Review: A Guide to Setting Better Boundaries
- Bloomberg: Quiet Quitting Comes at a Cost for Women and People of Color
- NPR: Quiet Quitting, Real Quitting, Unionizing - What Else Are American Workers Up To?
- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): Employment Situation Summary
- NCET – Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology: Hustle Culture Is Dead