Quiet Quitting: What’s next for those who do it?

By Lyndon Docherty, above, Chief Executive, HiveMind

The phrase “Quiet Quitting” has been trending recently on TikTok, with over three million views from the hashtag alone, and for good reason. Fed up of increasing employer demands and bleak salary outlooks, it’s not surprising that many workers are moving away from ‘hustle culture’ and making the decision to “quietly quit”; a new movement brought into focus by TikToker @alifeafterlayoff.

To support this notion, a survey conducted by Indeed reported that 52% of all workers feel burned out and Gallup recently reported that “quiet quitters” make up 50% of the workforce in the U.S.

Tired, overworked, burnt-out workers are realising their employers are increasing their demands and pressures whilst ignoring pay rise and promotion requests. But workers are wising up and taking a stand against unsustainable working lifestyles that are no longer suitable, especially in a post pandemic world with new ways of flexible and remote working.

Quiet quitting is leading to workers setting up side hustles whilst still employed or entering a consultancy or freelance route. But these people often look for safety nets to make the move from “quiet quitter” to full on resignation.

This does raise an interesting question though. Is “just doing your job” really “quiet quitting”, or is it just having healthy boundaries for a desirable work-life balance?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting your job done when you’re meant to. I know we all need to do some extra when it’s needed, but that’s not supposed to be the norm.

In fact, during periods of my career where I’ve been looking to set up a business and move out of employment, I’ve mostly only achieved this by using any and all spare time to get the new venture going; not throwing all my spare capacity to my employer all of the time. Was that ‘quiet quitting’? I guess it was. So I don’t think it’s always about being demotivated or burned out.

Now that I’m running a business with many employees, a lot of my time is focused on working out how to give them what they need, so that they want to stick with us and give us their energy and ideas. So is ‘quiet quitting’ a good or a bad thing, or neither?

Whatever ‘quiet quitting’ is, it’s certainly not new and through the right lens, I can see it as a positive. For employers like me, it’s another new reminder to work on ensuring our people are motivated and enjoying work enough to want to do all they can for our business. For those currently ‘quietly quitting’, knowing that you’re not alone in a market full of others like you, just might give you some confidence to get up and do something about your situation quicker.

After all, if you’re not happy at work, no one is winning. If you’re looking for a new, more rewarding or interesting challenge, there’s never been a better time to find a new job. I’d also make the point that if you’re looking to take the plunge and start out on your own, working with a network to help you develop and market your services to build your client portfolio and increase your revenue is essential. You can only do so much alone. Building a portfolio of quality clients is hard, so you need to build or find a network that will help develop and market your services to create opportunities.

On networks, over the last eight to ten years, there’s been a proliferation of on-demand talent marketplaces. Although these aren’t networks as such, on-demand talent has changed the market and we’ve seen a rise in consultants, freelancers and micro businesses over that period as a result. A note of caution though, turning to a marketplace, or recruiters for that matter, is more often than not a poor choice for consulting work. To deliver valuable services; which is, I believe, the route to better work and not being seen as a commodity, you need to break away from titles and skills and move toward desired outcomes. It’s not easy, but it’s much easier when you’re not doing it on your own. Working as part of a team, you can better amplify your own company’s ability to win work, deepening and strengthening your client relationships and at the same time, you’ll be better able to tackle complex and larger challenges.

Not only does a quality based network amplify access to quality clients, their communities can also help you develop your own skills and competencies by working alongside like minded colleagues and often as part of a multidisciplinary team. When working through a talent marketplace or recruiters, you’ll be a skill or a title meaning often, you’ll be seen more as a commodity than a provider of valuable services.

The world of work is clearly changing and this is evident from viral clips on sites such as a Tik Tok. But whether you are a consultant or a business, employed or freelance, don’t get left behind without the right peers and colleagues in place to help on your next adventure.