When to “Quiet Quit” and When to Jump Ship

Whether you feel the term is accurate or completely incorrect, “quiet quitting” is a topic of conversation whether you’re an employer or member of the workforce. If you’re feeling lackluster, do you stay at your current job? Do you look for something new? Before you make the decision, you need to ask yourself a few questions.


What kind of quiet quitting are you doing?

First, which definition of quiet quitting applies to you? Like any popular term, the interpretations cover a vast number of possibilities. Are you spending the hours of your work day texting, shopping online, and staring off into space? Or, are you doing the duties outlined in your job description, but not pushing yourself to go above and beyond? It should be easy to describe where you are on the definition map, so sit down and think critically about where you are mentally.

Then, try to answer the question:

What brought you to this place?

Have you spent your career going above and beyond with no reward? Did your company promise you opportunities for advancement that never materialize? Have you seen years pass with no promotions or raises while you know the company is making record profits? Are you angry and sick of poor treatment?

Or, are you generally content with your position, but you’re simply suffering from burnout? After all, the last few years have been intense on a variety of levels. It’s understandable if you’re feeling a little bit checked out.

Another possibility is that you’ve let some important boundaries go over time, and you need to start reinforcing them (not checking emails on weekends, etc.) in order to create a healthier work/life balance.

If you know you enjoy your job for the most part, but you need to take a bit of a mental break, that’s ok. If you’re able to handle your responsibilities, there shouldn’t be an issue with doing a little bit less while you regroup. And, if there’s been some scope creep on those responsibilities, you can have a direct conversation with your manager that you’ll be working to reset boundaries.

But now it’s time to think big picture for your future and ask:

What do you want in the long run?

If you’re expecting to love every second of a job, let go of that dream. Work is going to be work no matter where you are—whoever said if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life was wrong. It’s still work no matter how much you enjoy it. There will be days you aren’t feeling it and times when what’s going on personally has an impact on your ability to perform—and that’s just life.

But, if the company where you are right now is never going to give you the opportunity to move forward no matter how hard you work or devoted you are—if you know there will be no raises or bonuses no matter how stellar your performance, it’s time to look for other opportunities. Staying where you are and angrily coasting won’t rid you of your dissatisfaction. Take this time to think, very strategically, about what you want next. You don’t want to jump from one miserable situation to another. Do your research to see what’s out there, talk to your network, and apply to positions where you give yourself the best opportunity to avoid this set of circumstances again.

If you’re mostly happy in your current position, think about what you want if you stay. Is there a path to promotion you’d like to discuss with your manager? Are you satisfied with your role but would enjoy some learning opportunities to hone your skills and find new ways to do your job more efficiently? Have those conversations, and give yourself something to look forward to. Yes, work is work; but there are ways to find fulfillment and satisfaction in the day-to-day, and you should take advantage of them.

At the end of the day, the general idea of quiet quitting seems to be that employees are taking a step back to evaluate where work falls in order of importance—how large of a role it should play in your life? Is it where you want to find fulfillment? Or, is it the tool you want to use to facilitate finding fulfillment elsewhere? (For example, earning money gives you the opportunity to take that painting class.) Ideally, it should be a combination of the two—you should find satisfaction in what you do for work, and work should not consume your life. The quest is to find the balance.

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