The term "quiet quitting" has been thrown around a lot lately, and it's easy to understand why: It's catchy, short, and sums up the concept of "quitting" in one word.
But what if we took a step back and looked at the other end of the spectrum? What if we thought about how many people are quietly fired?
Silent treatment is something that all of us have experienced at some point in our lives. It can be painful, confusing, and even infuriating. And yet it continues to happen all around us daily—in the workplace and beyond. Quietly fired. The term is as simple as it is powerful. It's an evocative phrase that helps us understand what it feels like to be treated unfairly, unkindly, and without respect by those who should know better—and how often this happens in the workplace. Quiet quitting and quiet firing are two sides of the same coin. They're examples of a company or manager trying to counteract a broken employee-employer relationship but in different ways.
Quiet quitting is an act of civil disobedience: employees advocate for work-life balance or against a broken company culture by refusing to work overtime or take on herculean tasks. Quiet firing, on the other hand, is an attempt to create distance between an employee and their employer by shifting certain responsibilities away from them—hoping they'll disengage and leave on their own.
On the surface, the idea of "quiet quitting" sounds positive. After all, it's better than being fired or laid off in front of your peers. But what if we took a step back and looked at the other end of the spectrum?
What if we thought about how many people are quietly fired? Here's the thing: It's not just an idea. It's a very real problem that happens all too often. And when it does, it can crush your career and leave you feeling isolated, discouraged, and unsupported.
It's a condition of modern workplaces where employees are frequently pushed out the door without ever receiving the feedback they need to be successful. And it's an epidemic because we're seeing more of it in today's work environment, where measuring performance is becoming more difficult than ever.
The line between quiet firing and silent quitting has never been more blurred than it is today.
Examples of quiet firing can include employers giving you less and less work or giving other employees everything that used to be yours to do so that you find yourself doing random tasks. Another example is when a company makes it clear that they don't want you to be part of their team by changing your email address or office location.
While quiet firing is often viewed as the best way to terminate an employee, it might present some legal issues for a company. Furthermore, it might also demoralize and upset other employees working hard to make their company successful.
In both cases, it seems like employers are taking a passive approach when they should be taking an active one. Instead of fostering open lines of communication with employees who have concerns about how they're being treated, employers seem to be doing everything they can to avoid having those conversations.
This method or practice is counterproductive because it takes away from employees' ability to do their jobs at a standard of excellence while also giving them more than what they have to give—which led us to this burnout epidemic in the first place.
I think it's time we acknowledge that there's something wrong with this situation and that we need to change things. If you're an employer, let's discuss the issues affecting our workplaces. Let's have some difficult conversations to work together to improve things for everyone.