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How Leaders Can Influence 'Quiet Quitting'

Gallup prescribes strengthening a culture of accountability

TikTok trends tend not to last much longer than a lunch hour, but “quiet quitting” appears to have legs.

Late last month, various news articles began seizing on posts where young workers expressed exasperation with their work life and proclaimed that they were content with doing the bare minimum for their employer: “Not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond,” as one TikTok user put it.

Perhaps, the conversation around “quiet quitting” has gone on for so long because it’s not really a new phenomenon. The concept of looking at your workload and going “nah” to a lot of it is as old as work itself. The tedium of the office—and office culture—has been commemorated in works like Herman Melville’s 1853 short story Bartleby, the Scrivener, in which an office drudge softly intones, “I would prefer not to." As a Gen-Xer, I spent the early 90s practically marinating in contempt for anything that resembled professional ambition or ladder-climbing. We had bigger things on our minds, or thought we did, and withdrawing in disgust, as a popular song and movie put it at the time, was not the same as apathy.

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