Quiet Quitting: Definitions, Causes and Tips to Enhance Work Culture

When you think about the word “quitting,” what comes to mind? A two-week resignation notice? An employee storming off in a flurry of frustration with the contents of their desk stuffed into a box? Or maybe someone who’s at work one day and gone the next? Any of those scenarios are accurate, but they don’t speak to the concept called “quiet quitting.”

To understand what this phenomenon is, let’s first clarify what it isn’t: quitting. (At least, not literally.) According to The New York Times, quiet quitting is a protest against unreasonable expectations, not work itself. It’s like pulling an emergency brake on the workaholic mentality.


Despite its popularity on TikTok, the concept didn’t appear out of nowhere. In an interview with Business Insider, Sona Movsesian, Conan O’Brien’s assistant since 2009 and author of The World’s Worst Assistant, explains she’s been quiet quitting for over a decade by taking frequent breaks and even watching TV at work.


She frames it as performing the bare minimum requirements of her role and avoiding any task outside of her job description. Quiet quitting isn’t just a buzzword for a mounting wave of poor performance, but a defensive reflex against burnout. Tanner Bergman, a national certified counselor specializing in corporate well-being, describes quiet quitting as “people protecting the limited capacities they have.” In other words, employees want to preserve boundaries, even if it comes at the cost of appearing less effective.


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