Quiet Quitters

Posted On October 8, 2022

Lots of talk about “quiet quitters” with my clients these days. Here’s what I’m learning about them and about the companies who aren’t having any problems with them. 


Quiet quitting is all the talk with my corporate seminar clients these days. Many don’t understand it, nor do they understand why someone would do it. My clients could, of course, go through some extra effort to ask their employees about quiet quitting but most won’t because it’s too much work. Which is, ironically, what quiet quitting is all about – not willing to go the extra mile because of the extra work required and its dubious benefit. It’s easier to believe a popular narrative than actually sleuthing it out, getting some answers, and fixing it.

For those unaware, quiet quitting is where employees simply refuse to hustle, refuse to step up to extra challenges or opportunities presented by workplace leaders. The employees have serious doubts if the extra work or hustle will lead to anything beneficial. The phenomenon is largely affiliated with the youngest elements of today’s workplace, roughly those under about 28 years old.

For generations the workplace assumed the youth would bear the brunt of the hardest work. Called apprentice to master, pay your dues, whatever, the young ones are supposed to arrive early, stay late, and work hard so that they can get ahead. However, many young employees today – the quiet quitters – don’t believe that bargain exists anymore. It appears, they say, the system is about lining the pockets of those at the top with little thought paid to those doing the entry level, grunt work. There is little reason to believe that “pay your dues” will ever pay off, they say. It’s the way of the past, not of today.

Here’s what I’ve seen recently. The workplaces loyal to a pay your dues model struggle with young employees. They’re workplaces full of quiet quitters. Any suggestion of pay your dues is met with a quiet response of “this place is probably not for me.” The Covid pandemic, like pandemics before it, took what was eventually coming and put it into our laps right now here today and this workplace attitude is one of them. Others are mental health awareness, virtual meetings, and working from home. They were being discussed, they were on the horizon, but now, post pandemic, they’re right here  in our laps.

My clients not experiencing the quiet quitters are early adopters of what they saw was coming. Many employers aren’t aware of it, or they sense it but are unwilling to accept it. What is it? Simply, the workplace model has flipped. In the thriving, non-quiet quitter workplaces, the senior workers – who were once served by the junior workers – are now serving the junior workers. They’re asking, “What do you need to be successful here and how can I facilitate it.” Pay your dues inverted. The reason? Technology. Parenting trends. Schooling. Lots of things. Fight it if you want but you’ll eventually lose. The traditional workplace has flipped, and it is, like it or not, the future.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep it Real.

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