Quitting jobs quietly

Home > National >

print dictionary print

Quitting jobs quietly

The author is an international news team reporter at the JoongAng Ilbo.

At 9 a.m., you start your day at work. You do your best within the boundaries of your project, but will not work overtime or respond to any unexpected situations. At 6 p.m., you end your day, turn off the mobile phone, and ignore any work-related emails. You spend the evening with friends and family, not coworkers or bosses.

You do your job faithfully but do not pursue perfection. You will not tender your resignation, but have parted with evaluation and competition at work. You are not willing to return more than your company offered, and you don’t strive for a better position or conditions within the organization.

This is how “quite quitting” works, a trend rapidly spreading among millennials and Gen Z in the U.S. Zaid Khan, a 24-year-old engineer in New York, posted a video on TikTok that went viral. Many young Americans agree that that’s exactly how they work and say that they chose this after suffering greatly while trying to do many things perfectly.

After the concept of quiet quitting spread on social media, some criticize it as “irresponsible behavior of under performers.” Critics say it is maladaptive behavior, ruining the atmosphere for the entire organization and encouraging dissatisfaction among colleagues. Others show pity, saying that “it is unfortunate to work only for rewards, a sad thing to waste time without enjoying or engaging in work.”

Major media outlets such as the New York Times interpret it as a rejection of the popular belief that work should be the center of life, and as a resistance to the “natural” expectation of overtime, and a rejection of the “hustle” culture to “love work.”

Harvard Business Review had another perspective. It came up with the analysis that quiet quitting is an issue about bad bosses, not bad employees. Employees’ lack of motivation is a response to manager’s behavior and a result of untrustworthy leadership. Instead of blaming employees who carry on quiet quitting, the company should keep in mind that workers want to offer their energy, creativity, time and passion to “qualified organizations and leaders.”

This is what is happening in America. But I feel a burning sensation at one side of my heart. The day after the record rainfall last month, a worker had to write a letter of apology for being two minutes late to work. A female worker has been cooking rice and washing towels from day one at the Korean Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives.

These may be fragmentary episodes, but these incidents are still a reality at workplaces in Korea. Both Korea and America need to review the genuine qualifications of a leader rather than blindly blaming young workers.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)