I wrote a few days ago about this post pandemic phenomenon of quiet quitting and quiet firing. Workers doing the bare minimum at their jobs. Employers not actually firing, but making life so unpleasant that they quit.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story about just how pervasive quiet quitting has become. It comes from Gallup polling and research.

“Quiet quitters make up at least 50% of the U.S. workforce, probably more.” 50 percent! That stuns me.

Gallup goes on. “The trend toward quiet quitting, the idea spreading virally on social media that millions of people are not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description, could get worse. This is a problem because most jobs today require some level of extra effort to collaborate with coworkers and customer needs.”

What’s going on here? Why this disengagement among workers?

Gallup says it’s related to clarity of expectations, opportunities to learn and grow, feeling cared about, and a connection to the organization’s mission or purpose. That, says Gallup, signals a growing disconnect between employees and their employers.

These quiet quitters are already looking for another job, the survey finds. And yes, it’s the younger employees who feel the most disengaged.

Okay, how to fix this? Gallup says it’s a symptom of poor management. Address manager engagement. Find ways to reduce employee disengagement and burnout.

Axios has an interesting perspective on this. Workers appear unwilling to weather a potential downturn in the same way they did in the last one in 2020… by clicking in at all hours to get the job done.

A couple of thoughts here. I have worked with a lot of quiet quitters along the way. We used to call them lazy.

Back then, nobody would admit to it. Today, workers are answering polls about it.

I was in a store yesterday. Needed some help. Once I found someone and asked my question, I got a shrug. That was it. I left. Found what I needed on Amazon.

So, this is where we are. Quiet quitting and quiet firing.

4 thoughts on “Quiet quitting. Quiet firing. Part 2.”
  1. Russell, you have the beginning outline here for at least a one-hour TV news special. Why are so many employees disengaged? In addition to what you have listed, there is the problem of salaries and employer benefits (medical, pension, vacation) no longer keeping up with inflation. A Gen-Y and Gen-Z who prefer not to put down roots but instead rent homes and rent cars so as to be able to pick up and move whenever the whim to do so hits them. This generation is so indoctrinated into a new lifestyle (neither good nor bad) that excludes human contact (education online, shopping online, dating online, entertainment online, medical consultation online, and working online – all exasperated and reinforced by a two year pandemic panic) – that they do not have the social/interpersonal skills nor the desire to interact face-to-face with their employers or co-workers or clients. I hope you continue to investigate this. Great blog posting!

  2. So do we (society) still think “they” are lazy, or do more of us now get the struggle? My answer is that I get it. The thing about poor managers is the same thing I think about political parties: get us to fight with each other to distract us from what they’re doing — or not doing, in many cases. However, many managers are under pressure from their own bosses who often aren’t even in the same state. I guess empathy should always be the default, and go from there.

    1. Great point. I sometimes feel managers are not prepared to manage. These days, you need a degree in HR on top of your chosen field. Everyone is scared to do anything for fear of ending up in an office.

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