Are You a Quiet Quitter? 12 Mistakes To Avoid

Tired sleepy businessman working at office desk, he is bored and yawning.
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In the age of the Great Resignation, some employees are taking a more passive path. They are “quiet quitting.” 

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Now a piping hot buzzword, quiet quitting doesn’t have a strict definition, but it can best be interpreted as a worker’s silent refusal to do more than the job description entails. In other words, the worker won’t go that extra mile or stay that extra hour just to appease a manager or help meet a company goal. 

Quiet quitting isn’t a particularly dignified way to go about managing your career — but if you’re going to do it, be smart about it and avoid making these 12 mistakes.  

Putting the Cart Before the Horse

“Don’t put the cart before the horse,” said Ellen Kim, VP of creative operations at MarketerHire. “Just because you’re mentally ‘over’ a position doesn’t mean it’s the right time to step away from your responsibilities. Tread lightly as you’re looking to break away to ensure you’re not burning any bridges in the process.”

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Badmouthing Your Company 

“Nothing will get you in more trouble than bashing your company on social media or to your co-workers,” said Adina David, HR manager and career coach at JobzHut. “No matter how unsatisfied you are with your current job, refrain from making disparaging remarks about the company’s management, products or services. Not only is it unprofessional and rude, but it might also jeopardize future employment opportunities.”

Bragging to Co-Workers

“If you are actively quiet quitting, don’t brag about it to other people in the workplace,” said Jim Sullivan, CEO and founder of recruiting company JCSI. “It can be off-putting to those around you who still care about their jobs and want to progress in their careers. It can also lead to unintentionally cutting people off, which means you don’t have any co-workers who would willingly back you up or work on certain projects together. It’s important to still converse with others at work and not cut ties or make them feel as though their efforts are pointless.” 

Unintentionally Docking Your Own Pay

“Since many jobs are performance based, involving bonuses or commissions, by mentally checking out and doing the bare minimum you’re directly hurting your own pay and possibly creating a negative spiral that might be difficult to get out of,” said William Stonehouse, founder and president of Crawford Thomas Recruiting

Being Passive

“You can’t expect 125% of your current pay in the form of a raise or promotion if you’re only giving 75% effort,” Stonehouse said. “Quiet quitting is quite literally the most passive approach to managing one’s career, and success is only possible through hands-on active participation.”

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Saying ‘No’ to Everything All at Once

“Quiet quitting should be a gradual transition away from the extra work and duties outside of your job description,” said Volodymyr Shchegel, VP of engineering at cybersecurity company Clario. “When you start saying no to everything abruptly, it makes management notice. Instead, start turning down obvious extras like planning the department Christmas party or joining the firm’s softball team — unless you truly want to. Then you can add on more work related extras, like staying late or checking work emails after hours.” 

Not Asking for Feedback

“Quiet quitters tend to avoid conflict, so asking for feedback or constructive criticism can be particularly difficult,” said Kimberley Tyler-Smith, an executive at the career tech platform Resume Worded. “When you get feedback, don’t take it personally — it’s just information that can help you improve.” 

Not Communicating Your Boundaries

“If you have decided, for example, that you are turning off all communication after a certain hour, you should actually communicate that to key people,” said Jessica Sweet, a career coach and therapist. “Of course, this negates the ‘quiet’ part of quiet quitting; but, if you’re not answering emails, texts and calls in the evening, it won’t take long for people to notice. Clear communication is your best bet; and, if you can’t have that conversation but need the boundary, it might be time to consider real quitting.”

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Not Telling HR How You Feel

“Many people who quietly quit are those who are dissatisfied with their current situation but are unwilling to tell their HR about it,” said Linda Shaffer, chief people operations officer at Checkr. “If you’re feeling undervalued or unfulfilled at work, your first step should be to talk to your HR department. They may be able to help you find a position that’s better suited to your skills and interests.” 

Shifting the Burden of Quiet Quitting to Others 

“Doing less work than before could result in managers assigning more work to colleagues that aren’t quiet quitting and don’t feel comfortable saying no to extra work,” said Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, a workplace psychologist and behavioral expert and the chief workforce scientist at Achievers. “This ties back to the importance of speaking up and talking to managers about a reasonable scope of work so that no one on the team gets burnt out. This could also create a conversation about improving processes or needing to hire more people.”

Not Understanding Why You Want To Quietly Quit 

“If you have simply decided not to actively participate in the workplace but you aren’t sure why, you need to get to the bottom of it,” Sullivan said. “If not, you risk repeating this attitude and these feelings at any other place of employment if you decide to change jobs. Understanding why you feel this way and are ‘quietly quitting’ will help you to find a career that is better suited to you, and therefore will increase the chances of having a better work-life balance.”

Sticking Around

“If you’ve decided on quiet quitting and nothing else is working for you, then it is time to be looking elsewhere [for a job],” said Emma Salveson, a founder of HR and management company The Hub Events. “A job can be fulfilling and should spark some enjoyment. At the end of the day, it’s far better to update your resume and start networking than it is to suffer in silence.”

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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