Quiet Quitting: Burnout, Stress, or Bad Managers?

Quiet quitting relies on finding a successful balance between work expectations and personal boundaries. Forbes shares this insight, “Quiet quitting your job, also referred to as “acting your wage,” ensures that your professional life stays within the bounds of working hours and assigned duties.”

Quiet quitting is not quitting your job. Quiet quitting is described as doing your job without your job taking over your entire life.

Quiet quitting was coined in a March 2022 tweet, and the idea has gained popularity as a work option.

Employees have embraced this movement to set work boundaries, prioritize their interests outside the workday, and maintain a better work-life balance.

Quiet quitting is a way for workers to regain control of their lives and avoid burnout or stress. It can be done in many ways, but the goal is to make a change by taking action.

It could mean making small changes in your workday that help you get through it more easily, like setting boundaries around how much time you spend working, intentionally taking breaks or time away, or shutting down your phone or computer at a specific time.

Quiet quitting can also involve talking to your manager about possible changes that would benefit the workplace.

Whatever quiet quitting looks like for you, remember that there are therapy options and resources available to support you in finding balance at work.

GoodTherapy | Quiet Quitting

RELATED GOODTHERAPY ARTICLE: Are You Experiencing Job Burnout or Something Else?

How Does Quiet Quitting Relate to Mental Health?

Quiet quitting is often seen as a response to burnout and stress. It is important to note that quiet quitting is not necessarily an indication of mental health issues, though it can be a sign of them.

“We always need to strive to find a good work/life balance—making sure our job doesn’t dominate all of our working time, alongside still being present and interested in our work. There is a way to be still engaged with your work while also having clear boundaries.”—Elena Touroni, PhD

Quiet Quitting may be an attempt by workers to regain control of their lives and avoid further stress or anxiety in their job. At its core, quiet quitting can act as a coping mechanism for those feeling overwhelmed and unable to move forward in their current work situation.

By quietly quitting, workers can reclaim their life and directly control the source of their stress. This can help to reduce anxiety in the short term, but quiet quitting may not be a sustainable solution for those dealing with more serious mental health issues.

In some cases, quiet quitting can become an act of self-sabotage if it is done impulsively without considering potential repercussions.

It is important to remember that quiet quitting should be used as a last resort after other options have been explored.

Suppose you are feeling overwhelmed or stuck in your current situation. In that case, it may be beneficial to reach out to a therapist or mental health professional who can help you cope and manage your stress levels more effectively.

Ultimately, quiet quitting can be a valid option for those feeling overwhelmed in their current role.

However, workers must consider the potential repercussions on their mental health before taking this approach. Speak with a therapist or mental health professional who can help you understand why you feel the way you do in your current situation.

GoodTherapy | job dissatisfaction

How do bad managers contribute to quiet quitting?

If you’re a manager, ponder this thought from Harvard Business Review: Suppose you have multiple employees you believe are quietly quitting. In that case, an excellent question to ask yourself is: Is this a problem with my direct reports, or is this a problem with me and my leadership abilities?

Bad managers can have a significant impact on quiet quitting. Poor management practices such as micromanaging, setting unrealistic expectations, lack of communication, lack of trust and respect, and overall unfair treatment can all contribute to burnout and lead employees to quiet quit out of frustration or despair.

When workers feel that their efforts are not being recognized or appreciated, they may feel unvalued and overwhelmed. This can lead to quiet quitting to take back control of their lives and find a healthier working environment.

From Forbes, “Quiet quitting is a direct result of employees feeling “un-” in their positions—unappreciated, unsupported, under-compensated, unmotivated, or unimportant.”

In some cases, bad managers may also create an environment of fear, where workers are afraid to speak up or express themselves due to potential repercussions. This can have a detrimental effect on employee morale and further contribute to quiet quitting.

Employers need to create an open and supportive work environment that encourages trust, communication, and respect to reduce the likelihood of quiet quitting.

3 Behaviors Managers Can Adopt

  1. Create positivity—build common ground, go the extra mile, and establish mutual trust with all direct reports.
  2. Bring consistency—deliver on what you promise and show you care.
  3. Deliver expertise—provide an open and honest dialogue about the path forward and insight into expectations.

Take Steps to Prevent Quiet Quitting?

Employers can take steps to create better working environments that reduce the likelihood of quiet quitting.

First, they should ensure that they are providing a supportive and safe atmosphere with open communication. This includes fostering an environment of trust, respect, and appreciation for employees and encouraging constructive feedback between workers and managers.

Second, employers should be aware of the signs of burnout and work to support employees struggling with stress or other forms of mental illness. Taking steps such as having flexible schedules, offering paid vacation time, and implementing wellness programs can help reduce workers’ stress levels.

Finally, employers need to recognize the potential consequences of quiet quitting. Creating conditions that mitigate these risks can help to encourage workers to stay dedicated to the company.

By taking these steps, employers can create better working environments that reduce the likelihood of quiet quitting and promote employee well-being.


RELATED GOODTHERAPY ARTICLES: How to Find the Right Therapist and Therapy Today

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Strategies for Employee Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting should only be used after other options have been explored. It is important to remember that quiet quitting can have a significant impact on future job prospects and overall well-being, so it should not be done impulsively.

Instead, there are several strategies that workers can use when considering quiet quitting.

First, it may be beneficial to speak with a trusted confidante or therapist who can help you understand your situation better and identify potential solutions.

Doing this can also reduce stress levels and clarify why quiet quitting is your best option.

Second, make sure you are taking care of yourself both before and after quiet quitting. This includes getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, meditating or practicing mindfulness, and engaging in activities that bring joy and peace.

Taking care of yourself is essential for managing stress levels and regaining the balance you seek.

Finally, creating an exit plan may be beneficial before quitting quietly. Make sure to research your options for future employment (should your employer not be receptive to your change) and consider potential consequences such as financial difficulties or loss of professional contacts. A clear plan will ensure that quiet quitting is done with intentionality and thoughtfulness rather than impulsively out of desperation.

Key Take Aways Businesses and Managers Can Use Today

  1. Quiet quitting is a serious problem that can significantly affect employees and employers.
  2. Understand the causes of quiet quitting and take steps to reduce the likelihood of it occurring in the workplace.
  3. Create an open and supportive working environment with flexible schedules, paid vacation time, and wellness programs to reduce stress levels among workers.

Key Take Aways for Employees Considering Quiet Quitting

  1. Consider speaking with a trusted confidante or therapist before considering quiet quitting.
  2. Create an exit plan that considers future job prospects and overall well-being.
  3. Speak to a therapist about what work-life balance means to you.

The topic of quiet quitting has important implications for employers and employees alike, which is why it should not be taken lightly. With the right strategies, quiet quitting can be reduced, and healthier working environments can be created.

“Human beings need to have a sense of accomplishment, and the sense of accomplishment supports mental wellbeing.” Paula Allen, Global Leader and Senior Vice-President of Research and Total Wellbeing at LifeWorks

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