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What is quiet quitting? Inside the work trend taking over TikTok

The new trend is all about setting clear work-life boundaries.
/ Source: TODAY

Quiet quitting, a new workplace trend taking off on TikTok, has workers setting out to establish clear work-life boundaries to reduce stress — but without actually being taken off of the company payroll, as the name might suggest.

The new trend of quiet quitting has sparked more than 3.9 million video views on TikTok as well as articles from The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian and other websites. Hundreds of quiet quitters are speaking out about how they're working harder to retain healthy work-life balance, and less on surpassing expectations outside of their job descriptions, all while staying at their current jobs.

"People aren’t going above and beyond — they’re not bending over backwards for their employers anymore and sacrificing their mental and physical health," Allison Peck, a career coach with more than 400,000 followers on TikTok, told TODAY. "They’re doing what they’re getting paid for."

What are people saying about quiet quitting?

Videos tagged #QuietQuitting range from workplace ruminations on closing your computer when 5 p.m. strikes and spending more time with family, to others who quip the definition of quiet quitting is just ... working.

"Isn't that just called 'working'? Like, doing your job properly, with a healthy boundary?" asked TikTok user, who identified herself as a full-time software developer.

“Quiet quitting means that when somebody asks you to do something that’s not in your contract, you don’t do it," TikTok user millennialmsfrizz said in a video describing how quiet quitting can be applied to teaching professions.

TikToker resumeaddict said in a video quiet quitting includes "not doing the job of two to three people — you know, stuff like that?"

Critics of the trend call it a "recipe for disaster" or "shooting yourself in the foot," while Peck wishes quiet quitting had a different name.

"I wish it was called something different because you’re not quitting. You’re taking care of yourself," Peck told TODAY. "You’re coasting. You’re, like, carefully coasting."

Who is taking part in quiet quitting?

While many people speaking out about quiet quitting on TikTok mostly skew younger, polling suggests people of all ages are feeling similar attitudes toward being engaged at work.

A Gallup poll released earlier this year found just 32% of employees were now engaged, compared to 36% in 2020. A downward shift between 2020 and 2021 marked the first annual decline in engagement in over a decade, according to Gallup.

Gen X, Gen Z, older millennials and baby boomers were among those polled, and those generations all indicated they were being engaged between 31% and 33%.

The poll also found employees who worked remotely or had hybrid schedules had higher levels of engagement, at 37%, compared to those who worked in the office or on-site, at 29%.

What can employers do in response to quiet quitting?

Jim Harter, chief scientist of workplace and well-being at Gallup, told TODAY it all starts at the top to combat quiet quitting.

“Managers are really important, and that does start at the top," Harter said. "It is important to have the right kind of conversations at the right time so that people do know what’s expected of them and their role, and how their work connects to something bigger."

Natalie Flores, a worker who participates in quiet quitting, told TODAY it's about knowing your worth.

"Quietly quitting for me is acting my wage and knowing that my time is valuable," Flores said.

Clayton Farris, an actor and self-proclaimed quiet quitter, said in a video he still works just as hard as he did before.

"I still get just as much accomplished," he said. "I just don’t stress and internally rip myself to shreds. And it’s beautiful!"