Why Gen Z Is Quiet Quitting

The trend encourages workers to stop going above and beyond at work to save their mental health.

August 16, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Are your employees “quiet quitting?” The term quiet quitting means to stop going above and beyond your responsibilities at work, meaning not taking on added responsibilities outside of a role’s job description and not working extra hours, reports Fortune.

The term is circulating on TikTok, and user @zkchillin said in a viral video that “you’re still performing your duties but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life. The reality is, it’s not,” he said. The video has more than three million views and 500,000 likes.

Gen Zers have watched the millennial culture subscribe to the hustle culture mentality, and many millennials have experienced burnout as a result.

“It’s the latest salvo in the pandemic-era tug-of-war between managers and junior colleagues over work-life balance, making the ‘hustle culture’ of the 2010s a distant memory and replacing it with something of a comeback of Gen X’s 1990s-era slacker culture,” writes Fortune.

According to a recent Gallup poll, only 21% of employees are engaged at work, and only 33% are actually thriving in their overall wellbeing. Additionally, 44% of employees reported they felt stress throughout their workday.

One TikTok user said that quiet quitting is becoming a trend among people who are unhappy at work or are wanting better work-life balance.

“You don’t really have to go extra above and beyond because the companies really show you no love for doing that,” he said, referencing the idea of quiet quitting. “And that’s a problem.”

Opponents of quiet quitting say that instead of silently settling at a job, workers should talk about their responsibilities with their employer because their workload may be too great, and their boss might not realize it.

“Quiet quitting is literally wasting your time at this company and shooting yourself in the foot. So please don’t do that,” said one TikTok user.

Another TikToker believes that quiet quitting is a coping mechanism to deal with that fact that an employee’s job has either crossed boundaries or doesn’t align with their values.

Doing the minimum at work is not a new phenomenon, as Elise Freedman, a senior client partner at Korn Ferry, noted to the Wall Street Journal. And with remote work, employees who aren’t engaged in their work or companies can more easily hide. Amid rising layoffs, especially at technology startups, these employees’ jobs may be most at risk. “It’s perfectly appropriate that we expect our employees to give their all,” Freedman told the Journal.

NACS has partnered with The Good Jobs Institute on how c-store operators can provide “good jobs,” which meet people’s basic needs and offer conditions for engagement and motivation. The Good Jobs Calculator, designed exclusively for NACS members and the convenience industry, allows retailers to use their own data and customized assumptions about the amount of improvement or uplift achievable, so executives can run scenarios on the bottom-line impact of a Good Jobs system.

Additionally, in the NACS Magazine article “Understanding Your Local Labor Landscape,” NACS provides tips on building an effective employee value proposition.