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Burned-out employees are ‘quiet quitting’ their jobs: What to know about the trend

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(NEW YORK) — When Paige West decided to scale back the amount of effort she was putting into her corporate job, she joined a growing workplace trend known as “quiet quitting.”

“When I was quiet quitting, I didn’t want to constantly feel that stress of working that job and feeling like I needed to put my 1000% in,” West, now a digital creator, told “Good Morning America.” “So I decided to scale that back and really just do the work that was required of me.”

For West, the urge to focus more on her work-life balance and give less to her job came during the coronavirus pandemic, when she, like many workers around the globe, began working remotely from home.

“I was really struggling with just the idea of a 9 to 5, especially when COVID hit and we were all working from home,” said West. “I was just stuck at my desk all day from 9 to 5, at a minimum, working on my computer, staring at a screen. For me, that just wasn’t the ideal situation.”

With the pandemic blurring the lines between work and home, people like West are using quiet quitting as a way to set more boundaries between their professional and personal lives.

The new form of “quitting” sees people keeping their jobs, but mentally stepping back from the burdens of work — for example, working the bare minimum number of hours and not making their jobs an important center of their lives.

Clayton Farris, a freelance writer, said he heard about the trend on TikTok, where the hashtag #quietquitting has been posted more than 3 million times.

“I just heard about this term called Quiet Quitting, and I realized that is what I’ve been doing … against my will,” Farris said in a video on TikTok.

Farris told “GMA” he has learned in his own life how to set boundaries around work.

“It’s about quitting the hustle culture that goes along with work in our society,” he said. “I can still be a very productive, active worker and not have to focus on work 24 hours a day.”

Data shows the trend of putting limits on one’s job and work life, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, is most popular among people just starting out in their careers, those who are in their early 20s.

“Being connected to a mission or purpose is a high priority for the younger generation,” said Jim Harter, chief workplace scientist at Gallup. “That’s something they want but they’re not experiencing in their current workplaces.”

Rebecca Jarvis, ABC News chief business, technology and economics correspondent, said making a decision to quiet quit a job could come down to a person’s career goals.

“If your objective is work-life balance over income and maybe even job security and you’re not lookin for big raises and promotions, then this could work for you,” Jarvis said, noting the current job market is also amenable to the trend. “It is much easier to pull off when there are nearly two job openings for every job seeker.”

The risk of quiet quitting, according to Jarvis, is that an employee who is less invested in their job may be “more likely to be laid off in a down economy.”

Jarvis said that for employees who are feeling burned out, it may be the right time to speak with their manager.

“Set time. Talk to them about the fact that you’re feeling burned out,” she said, adding that employees should also come prepared with solutions for how they can fulfill their job obligations while also taking care of themselves.

Finally, according to Jarvis, employees can look for community within their workplace to make things a little easier on themselves.

“For people who don’t necessarily feel it on their team, look around the company. ” said Jarvis. “There may be others and when you have that community, those friends at the job, it goes by so much more quickly.”

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