SOUND OFF: What does ‘quiet quitting’ mean to you?

File image of an exhausted businesswoman lying on her desk (Canva/KPRC 2)

“Quiet quitting.” It’s the concept that launched a thousand think pieces, and a great many TikTok videos.

But what the heck is it? For starters, the term itself is a bit of a misnomer. “Quiet quitters” aren’t actually quitting, per se.

So, what are they doing? Fair question. The concept has been defined, redefined, misinterpreted and misrepresented ten times over in the preceding months.

Some criticize the concept as an excuse to slack off, a nefarious result of “coasting culture,” a sick way to drain the system and cheat well-meaning employers.

Canadian businessman Kevin O’Leary of ABC’s “Shark Tank” fame called “quiet quitting” “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”

“Some ideas are bad ideas and some ideas are stupid ideas but very rarely can you combine both, and that’s what we have here,” O’Leary said.

But quiet quitting isn’t about doing the bare minimum to avoid the chopping block. More so, it’s about setting boundaries.

Some who ascribe to the concept consider it a renunciation of hustle culture.

“You’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond at work,” said Zaiad Khan, a TikTok user with over 13,000 followers. “You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentally that work has to be our life. The reality is it’s not and your worth as a person is not defined by your labor.”

Likewise, for others, it’s a framework for self-preservation in an era of extraordinary stress.

In a video about the trend, Clayton Farris, a TikTok user with 57,500 followers, said “quiet quitting” is a mindset, it’s about distancing yourself mentally from the stresses of work.

“It’s quietly quitting the stress and the worry and the hustle,” Farris said. “And the most interesting part about it is nothing’s changed. I still work just as hard. I still get just as much accomplished. I just don’t stress and internally rip myself to shreds.”

Some see “quiet quitting” simply as a synonym for work-life balance.

“It’s really just another way to talk about healthy work-life balance,” Forbes contributor Mark C. Perna said in an essay titled, “Every person on my team is a quiet quitter. Here’s why we’re thriving.”

“I’m perplexed as to why many business leaders are viewing quiet quitting as something negative that they need to argue against,” Perna wrote. “Don’t they want their people to lead full, healthy, enjoyable lives? Don’t they realize that happy employees are the ones who contribute most to the organization’s success? Don’t they care that an unspoken demand for more work than they’re paying for is, quite simply, unethical?”

Regardless of disagreement over the efficacy of “quiet quitting,” the concept has struck a nerve and encouraged renewed conversation about workplace culture.

We want to know what “quiet quitting” means to you. Have you “quietly quit” a job? Why? We’d like to hear your experience.

Fill out the form below to share your story with us.

MORE: What ‘quiet quitting’ means for employees and employers

About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.