Quiet quitting or quiet thriving?

How gen z employees are shifting the labor market

Kamilah Osman

Quiet quitting is a new term used to describe the refusal to go above and beyond in the workplace. Instead, workers who quiet quit still do what is expected of them, but choose not to do more or less than what they are paid for. According to research done by Gallup, quiet quitters make up 50% of the U.S workforce today, with 65% of them being young adults ranging from 18-29 years old. An employee may not always be able to simply quit their job because they are undervalued, but they can choose to reduce the amount of stress at their workplace by practicing quiet quitting. In a post by The New Yorker, a news site, Zaid Khan, an engineer in his early twenties says, “You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle-culture mentality that work has to be your life. The reality is it’s not. And your worth as a person is not defined by your labor.” Today, there is a striking difference between the mentality of older generations and Gen Z. Some may say that Gen Z is normalizing doing just enough to get by, but others argue that when workers feel unfulfilled and employers are not addressing their needs then workers and their work ethic are negatively effected. So quiet quitting may be the best way to avoid the large numbers of employee resignations, or “loud quitters”, that the country experienced in 2021 and 2022.

So what stops Gen Z from going above and beyond, while many older adults are still committed to do their jobs at the highest performance levels? While older generation adults had a supercharged work ethic and were conditioned to do more to stand out, Gen Z seems to be less impressed and unfulfilled by this form of recognition. Instead, Gen Z is proving to be more creative and independent by creating jobs that offer flexibility and enjoyment and changing the way that they view traditional jobs in general. Sullayman Jalloh, a junior at South Gwinnett who works at Publix, says “if it isn’t something that is entertaining or enjoyable, they [Gen Z] won’t be dedicated to doing it even if the reward is better. In the end, if the process is long and extensive, they won’t do it.” Since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the exhaustion that teens went through during digital learning completely changed the way that teens view work.

The study by Gallup also found that the workplace has gotten worse for younger employees in satisfaction surveys given to Gen Z and younger millennials. A lot of their dissatisfaction came from being disconnected and disengaged from their employers.

At South Gwinnett, career pathways, sports, clubs, and organizations are designed to find ways to engage students in order to improve their performance in the classroom. On Jan. 25, South Gwinnett hosted a 9th grade night for rising freshmen to allow them to connect to South and get a preview on what our school has to offer. Rising ninth graders were welcomed by current students, teachers, and administrators who were able to showcase South and provide them with more information related to their personal interests and goals. How can this apply to the workplace and motivate employees to want to perform at their best? According to the article by Gallup “it is clear that quiet quitting is a symptom of poor management and we must first address these three things: managers need to engage new employees, create accountability where employees can see how their work contributes to the organization’s purpose, and have one meaningful conversation per week with each team member to assess their life situation, strengths, and goals.” A practice already put in place to make sure students at South are engaged and performing at their best.