Quiet quitting gets loud

Is "Quiet Quitting" healthy boundary-setting by employees who value mental wellness or is it worker passive-aggression amounting to laziness?

The debate is lively and the opinions are numerous. If you haven't been on social media or watched the television talk shows or the news recently, quiet quitting is defined as not accepting additional work without additional compensation for it.

A summary of quiet quitting by Denver's 9News

It could be the American dream turned inside out to the chagrin of corporations everywhere.

Man wearing a blue shirt, burgundy suspenders & yellow patterned tie & hold a coffee cup. "If you could go ahead and stop "quiet quitting...that'd be great."
Many bosses don't like the idea of quiet quitting

You might think it's an age thing since many of the most vocal proponents appear to be under 30.

Photo of a young Black man with curly hair and glasses smiling as he looks at a laptop screen in his home
Young workers like the idea of quiet quitting. Fortune Magazine article
Reddit post about quiet quitting being "bliss" after not being compensated for putting "heart, soul and booty" into work.
A young subReddit contributor gets real

However, some employees who've been working for decades are either buying in or acknowledging that they were quiet quitting before Millennials made it a thing.


Homer Simpson explains his American work ethic. "The Simpsons" / Hulu


"Over50TV" host Lou Reyes

While in the safety of his vehicle, TikTok video creator @hunterkaimi concurs on the polarizing nature of the entire concept, but believes the divisiveness is age-related.

@hunterkaimi just my thoughts take it or leave it #quietquitting ♬ original sound - Hunter Kaimi

With staffing shortages present in almost every industry, this new movement appears to be a realization by workers of the new leverage they possess. However, as a Wall Street Journal article warns, quiet quitting may prompt quiet firing.


"Mr. Wonderful" Kevin O'Leary, an investment and business guru with a popular YouTube channel, plainly hates the idea in this short video, calling quiet quitters "losers."


Kevin O'Leary states his opinion on YouTube

Trevor Noah of the Daily Show takes a much more humorous view. "People in this country are so obsessed with work," he said in a YouTube short. "Work is just the place you go to avoid your family. It doesn't need to be the most important part of your existence."

Still of Trevor Noah, the host of "The Daily Show." H's wearing a dark suit and tie and a white shirt.
On "The Daily Show," Trevor Noah lobs a laugh about work really being about family avoidance

Dr. Phil just aired an entire show on the topic pitting a business owner and a labor lawyer against each other.

Composite photo of an older, gray-haired man in a suit on the left and a younger man with glasses and wearing a suit on the right
Brent Wilsey (left), an asset manager, and Ryan Stygar (right), a labor and employment attorney, debate quiet quitting on a Dr. Phil episode

A viral TikTok video is perhaps the strongest indicator of support for this work reform ethic. In July, a young man known as @zkchillin (now @zaidleppelin) calmly explained his rationale in a video montage that included a bubble machine and piano music.

@zaidleppelin On quiet quitting #workreform ♬ original sound - ruby

About 3.5 million people have watched his video. More than 8 million people agreed with his statement about work not defining worth and have added to the still-trending #QuietQuitting hashtag on many social platforms.

Ironically, while America debates the merits (or the lack thereof), some businesses are using the concept as a marketing device, like the Japanese spa Ten Thousand Waves.

"We believe in paying our staff for doing excellent work that is above & beyond...pretty much the opposite of quiet quitting...."
Excerpt from a Ten Thousand Waves marketing email

Regardless of perspective, there will always be some bosses who are unhappy with performance...

A gif of Selina Meyer banging on a desk in her "Veep" office and saying, "The level of incompetence in this office is STAG-GER-ING!"
Actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer in "Veep" on HBO Max

...and some employees who will complain or simply use quiet quitting as a work strategy.

Zack Budryk" "'Quite quitting' is so funny, the house of cards is so reliant on us doing things we're not paid to do that they had to make up a perjorative...."
A Twitter post from Zack Budryk

Then, of course, some employees make it work both ways.

Photo of actor John Krasinski as sardonic Jim Halpert on "The Office." Jack Appleby, Twitter: Quiet quitting isn't new, Jim did it at Dunder-Mifflin for 9 seasons. The Office on Peacock: And he got promoted. Just sayin'.
A Twitter thread sums up Jim's performance in the long-running show, "The Office"

What are your thoughts? Drop us an email at

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Supporting people in recovery from trauma and suicidal intensity is my Why. I live differently abled & am proudly part-Indigenous (Mvskoke).
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