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Quiet quitting is the quickest way to erode your mental health

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting, while there is no universal definition for it, is understood to be fulfilling the requirements of the role and not going above and beyond. It is an intentional choice. In performance management terms it’s ‘meeting expectations, just.’ So, you are carrying out the tasks outlined in your job description during expected working hours and you’re being protective of your non-work time and energy. 


Here are some of the top signs you are engaging in quiet quitting behaviours:

  • Doing the bare minimum to prevent being asked to leave or get performance managed
  • Leaving the office by 6pm and leaving work to be completed the next day 
  • Not working overtime even if your role might require it 
  • Lack of interest in taking on tasks or responsibilities that are not included in your position description
  • Lack of willingness to go above and beyond or do more in an effort to get recognised or promoted. 


Quiet quitting is considered part of a larger trend where employees are re-calibrating what they are prepared to do for their current remuneration. Some say it is the alternative solution to resigning without somewhere else to go. Others say it’s a response to the ‘hustle culture.’ Whatever the reason, it’ll have a big impact on productivity especially as a recent Gallup poll found that that about half of U.S. workers are “quiet quitters. 


Have you already quiet quit without admitting it? 


When people are too afraid to outright quit, they often quiet quit without admitting that’s what they are doing. Instead of going forward with the process, they passively withdraw and metaphorically quit without actually doing it. Signs this is happening can include-


  • Tuning out
  • Numbing behaviors
  • Calling in sick, delegating meeting attendance to others 
  • Becoming passive aggressive
  • Avoidance
  • Self-sabotage


These behaviors can all lead to “quiet quitting” without declaring that you’re leaving. In the end, this can lead to significant consequences that can be worse than the fallout from quitting. 


Failing to quit can erode your mental health 


Research shows that when you increase your efforts on a project, you value the project more. Work is no different. The effort or personal energy you put into your work, the more engaged you feel at work and the more job satisfaction you derive from your work. Job satisfaction positively impacts your physical and mental wellbeing. Quiet quitting can sap you of the engagement and purpose that contributes to your job satisfaction. Therefore, making less effort, being less engaged and experiencing lower job satisfaction can leave you feeling like your days at work are futile and boring, which may prompt you to consider that you may now be a failure. 


If quiet quitting is causing you to behave in ways that go against your values, then over time it is likely to cause you some angst. If you get hooked by your angst and feelings of guilt, shame and failure, then you may develop anxiety and depression. 


Be courageous enough to quit with purpose


If you know quitting is the right answer for your situation, it’s important to develop the courage to do what’s best. Failing to take action can result in unnecessary consequences that can be avoided. Facing the situation head on may be hard but checking out and avoiding things can cause problems you may not have considered. It’s better to be up front and honest with yourself and others so you can quit well and leave confident, knowing you gave it your best as you move on to your next role. 


If you are struggling to make the healthy choice to quit, it can leave you feeling conflicted. If you subscribe to the notion quitters never win and winners never quit, it can be especially hard to know when enough is enough and it’s time to stop. Sometimes it’s best to look at the data and make an informed decision. 


Six signs quitting is the healthy choice 


If you feel like want to quit, but aren’t sure if you’re giving up too soon, there are some factors that can help you feel confident the decision to quit is a solid one. 


1. If you’re undervalued, it may be time to quit. If your talents are being wasted, it’s an indicator the healthy choice is to quit and engage where your time and experience is valued. Some situations can drain you of your time and energy without giving anything back. Whatever situation you’re in, it’s important to feel valued for your contribution. 


2. If you can’t be your true self, it may be time to quit. While you need to be discerning about what you share about your life, it is important that you feel comfortable and confident with who you are in most situations. If you are caught up in ways that don’t allow for you to be yourself, it may time to end the charade and find a better situation. 


3. If you aren’t paid enough, it may be time to quit. Everyone deserves appropriate compensation for their work. If you are underpaid or haven’t been given a raise, despite good reviews and longevity, it may be an indicator you should be looking at other options. 


4. If your values conflict, it may be time to quit. It can be especially hard being in situations where your values are in conflict. Having to set aside your opinions, thoughts, and feelings to accommodate someone else’s can be exhausting and morally challenging. From friends to employment, if your values are in conflict, it may be time to do some quitting. 


5. If you can’t meet your responsibilities, it may be time to quit. It may feel like you have to say yes, even when you want to say no and drop a few commitments. If you’re not careful, you may discover you can’t meet your primary responsibilities because you’re spread too thin. If saying yes to one more thing could cause chaos in your life, it’s probably time to quit anything that’s not absolutely necessary. 


6. If you’re afraid to leave, it may be time to quit. If staying in a situation is based on the fear of leaving, it’s a clear sign you should quit. Fear, guilt, and shame are primary ways people stay entrenched in bad situations. Staying in situations out of fear can be dangerous to your mental and physical health. If you are unable to quit, it may be good to get outside help. 


Sometimes it’s not crystal clear if you should leave a situation, but if you are living with some of these typical indicators, it may be your sign you should start planning your exit strategy. Trust your instincts and be good to yourself so you don’t stay in situations too long. 


If you need help to figure out how to re-engage at work or how to find a new role, and leave your job without burning any bridges get in touch and arrange confidential call with me and we can explore together how you can find the courage to do what's right for you. 


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