The Quiet Quitting trend: leave quietly or speak up?

When you experience pressure, it is tempting to work more hours. Just work through an evening before the deadline and get rid of the mail and Slack backlog once on your day off. Until you notice that those extra hours have become structural and it remains busy or even gets busier. Then something else is needed. One is looking for support, the other is contemplating a better workflow and yet another unilaterally and tacitly determines limits to the deployment, i.e. Quiet Quitting.

Wat is Quiet Quitting?

In many organizations there is work pressure and stress. There are all sorts of reasons for that. Sometimes because there is too much work, sometimes because we like to do our work well and therefore work many hours and sometimes because we have managers who do not want to make choices. The idea of ​​Quiet Quitting is that you do not quit your job, but that you determine what you consider a normal commitment that you want to show in your work. You show that commitment and stick to it, without discussing it in a team or with your manager. For example, from 9 to 5 and no more.

You do that while more work is expected of you. At least, that’s how it feels. In many discussions about Quiet Quitting you see that people experience, that they are expected, that they do every day above and beyond and just don’t do it anymore.

Working woman


Let there be no misunderstanding that in many places there is too much work pressure and too many hours are made for what is healthy. Many executives are sending mixed signals about this. Too many managers fob off busy employees with vague advice such as ‘try to prioritize better’ or ‘project X is most important, but it’s nice if you also get around to project Y.’

Not all teams are equally attentive and take good care of each other. They sometimes even shift tasks to each other instead of working together. Let’s not forget that there are still executives who joke about whether you sometimes have a free afternoon when you go home at 5:15 PM.

In addition to the workload that can give too much work, work can also be stressful if it feels pointless. You may also have a lot of administrative tasks in addition to your real job. That can also be a reason to drop out. You can then easily feel alienated from your work and your team.

In organisation-critical books such as Occupational disease in intensive human husbandry, you can read how regulatory pressure deprives professionals of the fun in their work. How meeting KPIs becomes meeting the i. A round of disaster tourism is Graeber’s book about Bullshit-jobs, in which he describes jobs that those who have the job themselves describe as a bullshit job. These can then just as well not be done. No meaning, no impact, but therefore no personal growth or professional satisfaction. Then it is conceivable that you will minimize your effort.

For those who entered the labor market with the idea that work should suit you purpose and your passion this is a hard transition. Many hours, many meetings, mail and little impact. If you see your work as a necessary evil, your disappointment will be less, but a disappointment nonetheless.

In such a context, it’s tempting to get discouraged about the support you can expect from executives and teammates. It is tempting to guard your boundaries yourself and not share that with anyone.


What do you quiet quit then?

At Quiet Quitting you don’t ‘quit’ the employment contract, but the psychological contract. A psychological contract is an unwritten agreement between employee and employer. This contract is about the mutual expectations, responsibilities and rewards that are created during the employment relationship.

That contract influences how the employee behaves, how he performs his duties and how the employer treats his employees. For example, asking your manager on Friday at 4:30 pm to finish a big job for the weekend, while your manager knows you already have plans, affects the psychological contract.

Maurits Bruel describes a difference in how we see the psychological contract The happiness factory. He describes the difference between captivating and binding, in other words fascinated and connected employees and managers.

  • The engaged employee wants a good salary, exciting tasks, growth opportunities and is motivated as long as they are available. The fascinated manager motivates his team with incentives, growth opportunities and exciting projects.
  • The connected employee is part of the culture, feels connected to the organization and derives part of his identity from being an employee. The connected leader likes long tenures, loyalty, mixing private and professional.

A connected manager and a captivated employee will cause tensions. This is because their psychological contract with the organization differs. Where one person reasons in the long term and working together, the other wants incentives and challenges in the short term.

Employee and employer

The assumptions of what motivates you and keeps you engaged are very different. Speech confusion and friction then easily arise. The pair of concepts ‘attract’ and ‘bind’ can help you to see that you can look at work differently. It also helps to identify the differences, with respect for everyone’s point of view, and to look for a solution.

The biggest risk of a psychological contract is that we don’t discuss it with each other. When we discuss it, it immediately becomes very personal. Where one goes flat on working many hours and having a lot to do for the job, for the other it is one of the things in life that are important. Besides family or sports or friends or church. Where one likes to hang out with teammates in their free time, the other likes to keep work and private life separate. Turning down an invitation to dinner at a colleague or manager’s house quickly becomes a personal rejection.

Silently and unilaterally adjusting the psychological contract (9 to 5 and no more minutes) and ‘quitting’ expectations that are too high, prevent difficult conversations about values ​​and ‘how things should be’.

If you are applying for a ‘social due diligence‘ a good idea: how does the manager or team members view working hours, workplace, working methods, remuneration, the social side of work, what is rewarded and which values ​​are central?

Why quiet?

Quiet in Quiet Quitting means that you unilaterally and tacitly determine how you will do your work. Well, not so quiet that it can’t be on TikTok, but at least you don’t make it a topic of conversation at work. As you could read above, with something as personal as values ​​around work, this is also a difficult conversation that easily becomes personal. And like those who talk about Quiet Quitting, it doesn’t seem like the relationship with a supervisor or team members is such that the quitter feels the need to talk to them.

It seems like a Gen Z thing, that Quiet Quitting, but I think it’s timeless. I’ve seen colleagues who were frustrated after a missed promotion or when their hard work was once again not recognized and rewarded, sigh that they ‘didn’t let that fool them anymore.’ In other words, it will take my time.

We know the term absenteeism for employees who do not do their job and usually keep it to themselves. There are teams that after a merger or reorganization have seen what their managers are capable of and how poorly they communicate under pressure, leaving morale below zero. And so is the will to make an effort. You can read stories about this Anorexiastrategie. This goes ohthe consequences of remediation by Van Witteloostuijn. In short, work is not always a succession of meaningful moments for all generations.

Personal interview

Not quiet

At the same time, it is also a pity not to discuss your dissatisfaction. It helps you and perhaps others to make issues such as workload or impactless work visible and to ask for actions to be taken.

Everyone encounters setbacks, unexpected things, irritations and frustrations. No matter how positive you are, there will always come a time when you have to deal with something you wish you had avoided. The ancient Stoics recognized this. Use it as fuel instead of seeing it as a blockage, as Ryan Holiday did in The Obstacle is the Way colorfully explained.

By regularly dealing with stress, you not only become more robust and stress-resistant, but stress helps you to take the next step. Think, for example, of raising a difficult issue and also solving it. It makes you, in Taleb’s words, anti-fragile.

Maybe it’s a difficult conversation and your manager gets angry. Before a difficult conversation, ask yourself what your BAZO is. What’s Your Best Non-Deal Alternative? Suppose you don’t get a solution in the conversation, what then? If you are young and talented, you have in this war for talent nothing to fear.

Suppose you avoid an awkward conversation because you don’t want to damage the relationship you have now. My question then is “Which relationship?” If you’re busy, don’t get support and you suspect that conversation is pointless, then you don’t have a relationship and therefore nothing to lose. That relationship can only get better with a difficult conversation. Such a conversation can be the beginning of the end, but also the end of the beginning. Who knows, you might stand out by addressing a difficult issue and your feedback will be seen as a good intervention.


A good preparation for a feedback conversation in which you indicate that you are dissatisfied are the three F’s. Use the three Fs to streamline feedback so it doesn’t create unnecessary friction:


Start by describing what you saw in as objective terms as possible. The moment you do that, you prevent opinions. If you say someone is dominant, that’s a judgment. If you indicate that someone interrupts you for the third time, that is a fact. Look for judgments in the feedback you want to give and replace them with observations that are as factual as possible.

So ‘bossy’ becomes: ‘you ask me a question and immediately give the answer yourself. In the meeting I tried to speak three times and you indicated that it was not an issue.’ As long as you are full of judgments, you cannot give feedback yet. Then ask yourself what you actually see happening.


Indicate what the described behavior does to you, so that it becomes clear that the behavior is difficult for you. Think of sentences like: “you interrupt me for the third time and that makes me feel like my opinion doesn’t matter” or “every question I ask you answer with one or two words and that gives me the idea that you don’t want to think along.’ This makes it relevant why you think that the behavior should change as far as you are concerned.


What do you want the other person to do? It helps if you have a concrete idea of ​​what the other person can do that works for you, so that the conversation ends concretely and constructively. For example: ‘I would like to be able to talk things through’ or ‘I would like us to come up with several solutions together’.

Be quiet after giving feedback. You have given the other person feedback and now it is up to the other person to respond. Don’t talk about that moment and don’t let the conversation end there. It’s the other’s turn, give the other space. If someone doesn’t immediately know what to say and the silence becomes awkward, encourage them or ask an open-ended question.

Getting into the awkward conversation can also prevent Quiet Firing:

Quiet firing is the management practice in which a manager or supervisor tries to subtly encourage an employee to quit their job. This is done by assigning them undesirable work, reducing their hours or depriving them of opportunities to advance. (

In short

There are drawbacks to work such as work pressure, little support, pointless tasks and mediocre managers. Sometimes you have had enough and you may feel the urge to unilaterally guard the limits of your commitment. That’s one way to manage these issues. Another is discussing it and seeing what comes of it. That may not be fun, but remember that as a talent you are the ‘upper hand‘ have.

Computer hard work

So do you recognize Quiet Quitting in yourself or do you manage it in a different way?

Source: Frankwatching by

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