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Years of long hours, understaffed companies and burned-out employees have all led to the latest TikTok trend: quiet quitting.
The catchphrase quiet quitting is misleading, however, making some people think it means workers doing the bare minimum at their jobs.
This is unequivocally false, said Kathy Caprino, a Connecticut-based women’s career and leadership coach and author of “The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss.”
“It’s about stopping doing work that people think is beyond what they were hired to do and not getting compensated for,” she said.
Employees still excel at their jobs, but they aren’t working overtime to do it, former engineering consultant Paige West told CNN.
“While I was in my 9-to-5 job, I was still working my 40 hours a week. I was still fulfilling my job duties. I was just taking away that feeling of stress I had,” she said.
The drastic workforce shift during the pandemic largely brought on the rise of this behavior, said S. Chris Edmonds, founder and CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group, a Colorado-based consultancy that helps senior leaders create a positive work culture.
Companies have pushed additional responsibilities on employees because some organizations were unprepared for the pandemic and great resignation, he said.
Many people were also frustrated when managers insisted on certain rules like going back to in-person work, which created more burnout and frustration, Edmonds said.
Only 24% of Americans thought their managers had their best interests at heart, according to a Gallup poll released in March 2022.
Quietly dropping some of your work tasks you think are beyond your description is not a sustainable solution, but there are other ways to achieve what you want, Edmonds said.
Evaluate your priorities
In order to set boundaries in your career, you need to learn what your boundaries are, said Octavia Goredema, career coach and author of “Prep, Push, Pivot: Essential Career Strategies for Underrepresented Women.”
“The fastest way to burn out is if you don’t respect what matters most to you,” she said.
For some, that may be clocking out of work on time instead of staying two hours later, Goredema said.
Employees should ask themselves what tasks make them feel fulfilled and which ones don’t matter as much, she said.
From there, you can home in on what your priorities are and what you need to be fulfilled in your career, Goredema said.
Share your needs
After you determine what you need your position to be for you to be successful and happy in your role, it’s best to speak with your manager to gain some understanding, Edmonds said. Communication is key.
You may have one idea of what your job responsibilities are, and your boss may have another, Caprino said. If you stop doing some tasks because you feel they’re outside your scope, it could look like you’re slacking if your manager thinks those are part of your job, she said.
“Even running my own team, if I suddenly stopped doing work that everyone assumes I’d be doing, there would be trouble and things would fall through the cracks,” Caprino said.
If you’re aiming to get fairly compensated for any additional work you’ve taken on, present facts to your manager about your job performance and what you’ve accomplished so far, she said.
Reach out to your employees
From the manager’s perspective, it’s important to understand your employees and make sure they feel supported in their respective roles, Edmonds said.
“The responsibility of employers is to find out what people perceive as fair, then don’t do anything less than that,” he said.
Leaders should focus on engaging in regular conversations and building relationships with their employees, Edmonds said.
Talks could expand beyond work to include some of their personal interests and priorities because that can often affect their work life, Caprino said.
“If you don’t understand the internal state of your employees, things are going to happen that you’re going to be blindsided by,” she said.
Managers should consider setting up one-on-one meetings with their workers at least once a quarter, Goredema said.
“We have to show that we are committed as leaders, that we’re involved and that we’re invested,” she said.