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Quiet quitting - what it means and what it should make you think

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

It's literally the LAST time I'll talk about it. But I want to talk about quiet quitting.

I know! I know! You can't open your social media for it to be THE buzzword. And you're sick to the back teeth of hearing about it. I hear you.

But hear me out.

I think the whole discussion about quiet quitting is not new (we used to call it employee engagement). It's also not exclusive to Gen Z or millennials.

Quiet quitting - for those of you who have managed to completely miss the discussion - is when employees decide to no longer put in the long hours. When they mentally check out, even if they've not yet decided what's next. They quit. Whilst still in the job. See what I mean?

You see, what I think it boils down to is respect and boundaries. And loyalty.

And this is where a number of conversations I've had over the last few weeks converge. Conversations about exactly those topics.

So, let's start with employee loyalty.

What IS it, first of all? Other than you working for an employer, for a set number of hours, in exchange for money?

A quick google taught me that it is about you wanting to contribute to the success of your employer. And you believing that it is better to stay than to go.

Also, it's about your employer's respect for you as a person and their commitment to your success as an employee.

So, what's the problem?


Everyone has seen the headlines. Company bosses urging staff back to the office. Without any good reason given (and no, the watercooler-leading-to-lots-of-innovation excuse doesn't wash with me. Not without proper evidence).

When Covid hit, everyone adjusted and started working from home. Just like that.

But now that everyone has adjusted their lives and is PERFECTLY CAPABLE and actually MORE PRODUCTIVE when working from home everyone is ordered back?

Working from home, or in a hybrid way, or working remotely, from anywhere, was long overdue and has proven to be possible. The genie is well and truly out of the box.

Not listening to people. Ordering people. Disrespecting the circumstances of each individual. Not giving people CHOICES.

Instead of mutually doing your best to work out a way in which work - well - WORKS for everyone.

I think it is one of the key reasons why people turn off.


I think we can agree that:

  • If you're happy somewhere,

  • if you're able to contribute to something you believe in,

  • If you're being paid properly

  • If people engage you, care about you and respect you and

  • if you can be successful and progress

you're more likely to put the (extra) hours in when needed.

Voluntarily. Willingly. Without feeling that people have trampled all over your boundaries.

Quiet quitting is just the latest phrase to say:

  • if any of these things are not in place,

  • if companies' loyalty is as long as your notice period (and sometimes even less)

  • if the future is uncertain.

Quiet quitting, or the lack of engagement, and the staunch defence of your boundaries is a very logical, very human reaction.

And secretly? I also think it's an opportunity.

Which is why I'm asking:

  • If YOU are that quiet quitter, how will you use the hours you no longer spend working?

  • And what are you going to do to plan YOUR next steps?

And that's the last time you'll hear me say ANYTHING about it! I promise.


Tineke Tammes is an ICF credentialed Career Coach, who supports professional women in making successful transitions to careers of Freedom, Flexibility and Fulfilment! Besides that she is also a lifelong feminist, part-time portrait artist, never-only-read-one-book-at-any-time reader, and obsessive doodler. Oh, and she knows a bit about change management too.

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