In many offices (not to mention on Zoom, Teams and Slack), employees and managers alike are whispering about the “great resignation”. The UK saw a sharp rise in people quitting their jobs in 2021, and one fifth of UK workers still say they plan to resign in the next year in search of greater job satisfaction and better pay.
If you’re unhappy at work, but leaving your job isn’t an option or there are no appealing alternatives, you may want to try “quiet quitting”. This trend of simply doing the bare minimum expected at work has taken off on TikTok and clearly resonated with young people.
It has also frustrated managers, with some reportedly concerned about their employees slacking off. But quiet quitting is not about avoiding work, it is about not avoiding a meaningful life outside of work.
The last 20 years have seen many people join a global culture of overwork, with unpaid labour becoming an expected part of many jobs. After multiple recessions and a global pandemic, millennials and generation z in particular often do not have the same job opportunities and financial security as their parents.
Many young people in professional jobs who expected a relatively straightforward progression in life have struggled with precarious contracts, job uncertainties and trying to get onto the housing ladder. There are those who constantly put in extra hours and go above and beyond at work to try and secure promotions and bonuses – yet still struggle.
This article is part of Quarter Life, a series about issues affecting those of us in our twenties and thirties. From the challenges of beginning a career and taking care of our mental health, to the excitement of starting a family, adopting a pet or just making friends as an adult. The articles in this series explore the questions and bring answers as we navigate this turbulent period of life.
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Perhaps in response to this disappointment, a recent study by Deloitte found young people are increasingly seeking flexibility and purpose in their work, and balance and satisfaction in their lives. Many young professionals are now rejecting the live-to-work lifestyle, by continuing to work but not allowing work to control them.
Working at minimal capacity may feel alien. But you (and your employer) shouldn’t fear quiet quitting – it could actually be good for you.