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Quiet Quitting, is it Worth it?

Episode overview

In this episode of the finding career zen podcast, Pete Newsome changes it up by bringing on HR Consultant and college professor Ricky Baez to discuss a controversial new topic getting a lot of attention lately: quiet quitting.

Fueled by social media, many employees are staying in positions that don’t matter to them, with the intention of putting forth minimum effort.

This approach sounded to Pete like it’s the opposite of career zen, which is why he asked Ricky to join him for a discussion about this hot topic. Jump in to learn more about why quiet quitting is happening, and what can be done about it. Most importantly, listen to make sure it doesn’t happen to you!

Connect with Pete and Ricky on LinkedIn!

27 minutes

View transcript

Advice for those considering quiet quitting

  • Don’t treat your future relationships based on your experience with previous ones. If you want to just do your job, then fine. But doing the bare minimum will result in minimum results. If you ever want to get promoted, quiet quitting is not going to help you on your quest to moving up the career ladder.
  • Job descriptions rarely reflect the actual job. They are cumbersome. Hiring managers don’t usually have the depth of knowledge required for the job you desire, so don’t base too much of how you’re going to behave on what’s in a job description. 
  • If you don’t have the skill sets needed, go get them. It’s an employee’s market. You still need to put in the effort and training, but some organizations today are willing to hire and train individuals in order to keep their employees long-term.  
  • Reconsider what you’re doing every day. You have a choice each day, so make it one you’re happy and excited about. Go find reliable, credible resources and avoid getting your advice from social media. If you’re in an unhappy situation, get out as soon as possible. How do you want to spend your waking hours? 
  • Success doesn’t happen by accident. If you want to achieve things, it’s never going to happen by doing the bare minimum. Look long term. You need to go above and beyond to show you have what it takes to operate at the next level of leadership in an organization.

Additional resources

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome headshot

Pete Newsome is the President and founder of zengig, which he created after spending two decades in staffing and recruiting. He’s also the founder of 4 Corner Resources, the nationally acclaimed and award-winning staffing and recruiting firm he started out of a home office in 2005. Pete’s primary mission back then was the same as it is today: to do business in a personal way; with a commitment to zengig becoming the most comprehensive source of expert advice, tools, and resources for career growth and happiness. When he’s not in the office or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his career knowledge and expertise through public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Finding Career Zen & Hire Calling podcasts.


Pete Newsome  00:15
You’re listening to the finding career zen podcast. I’m Pete Newsome and I’m joined today by Ricky Baez. Ricky, how are you today?

Ricky Baez  00:23
I’m doing good today, sir, how about yourself?

Pete Newsome  00:25
I’m doing great. So I asked Ricky to come on today, we record The Hire Calling Podcast together. So if you haven’t listened to that, please check it out. It’s really aimed at employers and anyone who needs to hire talent. 

Pete Newsome  00:39
And we give advice along those lines, but Ricky mentioned something to me today. And I thought, wow, we really need to come on the zengig podcast and talk about that, and that is quiet quitting. 

Pete Newsome  00:50
So just by way of background, Ricky is an HR consultant and a longtime HR professional. He’s the HR director for my staffing business for 4 Corner Resources. And he’s a professor at Rollins College, where this topic came up in class this week. 

Pete Newsome  01:07
So, Ricky, we have to talk about this new phrase, perhaps a trend if it is such, quiet quitting.

Ricky Baez  01:19
I’ll call it a trend. That’s what I’ll call it. So you know, a couple of years ago, the big trend, a big phrase was the great resignation, right? And it wasn’t partly fueled by the pandemic as a starter right before the pandemic, but it gave it a lot of traction. 

Ricky Baez  01:38
And now, what we’re seeing is the new trend of quiet quitting which, at face value, it means this, it means that you as an employee, you’re just showing up to work, doing just enough to what your job description says, nothing more, nothing less. 

Ricky Baez  01:54
And from what I understand, because I’m still taking a deep dive into this for the past couple of weeks, from what I understand this is a general position that some employees have taken because they feel that it doesn’t matter how much they do, they don’t get paid appropriately, and they don’t get promotions. And I’m here to say that it’s 100% wrong. It is 100% wrong.

Pete Newsome  02:19
So quiet quitting isn’t quitting? It is when you do the bare minimum and that’s it. And where did this begin? Do you have any idea?

Ricky Baez  02:30
I’m still diving into that research. Because my students and I started talking about this the past weekend, it really is a hot topic. Because you know, some people feel passionate about this topic from one end, I feel passionately the other way. 

Ricky Baez  02:47
But Pete, I understand why because from what I have found, is that people, in general, are just really, not upset, but they are just tired of being demanded more from work and not getting more in return. Now, in general, on average, that’s what they’re saying. And I know there are some organizations out there that operate that way. 

Ricky Baez  03:10
But that brush shouldn’t be painted for the other organizations who do a really good job at paying people appropriately and career pathing for the employee. So that’s what’s happening. I think it’s partly also fueled by social media, you know, sort of somebody says something, what goes around the world comes back to you tenfold.

Pete Newsome  03:27
And that’s the world we’re in. We know that right now. So I can think of lots of reasons why it’s a bad idea, as an employee, tell me why anyone thinks it’s a good idea. What are the pros as you heard in your class this week?

Ricky Baez  03:45
I don’t know if I call it a pro. I don’t know if that’s what I’ll call the justification for it. That is what I will call it and what I will call is people sticking to the man quote, unquote, when they’re saying, “Look, if you want me to do all this extra work on all these things, and not paying me for it, I’m just not going to do it. Just do whatever my job description says.”

Ricky Baez  04:07
Now, I’ve got to see this from an employee’s and employee’s perspectives. I understand that rationale, if they have worked for an organization in the past, that’s how they were treated. But employees will make a big mistake in assuming your next organization is going to do that. Right? 

Ricky Baez  04:27
Because you cannot treat a future relationship based on your experience in previous relationships. I know that’s what human nature teaches us. But I’ll give you two lines, Pete, line one if there is an employee, that all they want to do is their job and their job alone and nothing else. They don’t want to get promoted. If they don’t want to do anything else, then I guess that’s okay. 

Ricky Baez  04:48
Right, because you’re doing exactly what you’re being paid to do. But the second part of that if you’re an employee that wants to get promoted, I gotta tell you, just doing the bare minimum, what the job description implies is not going to help you in your quest for moving up that career ladder. It’s just not going to happen.

Pete Newsome  05:07
No. And I would assume, and maybe that’s a dangerous thing to do, that anyone who chooses to operate in that manner has no intention of being promoted. Right? I mean, if that is your objective, I mean, this is just logical, right? If your objective is to do the bare minimum, in anything, you’re going to get minimum results. 

Pete Newsome  05:32
And in that case, it certainly doesn’t mean being at the top of the list of people who are going to be promoted anytime soon. Right? I mean, the employee that takes that approach has to know that and I would assume that they’re okay with that.

Ricky Baez  05:48
See, I think the other way, man, I don’t think they’re seeing how I don’t think they’re being strategic enough and seeing how this is going to affect them in the long run. I just don’t see it right. I think this is more of a, I’m tired of what is happening, I’m tired of what I’m hearing. Because what I’ve noticed as well, is other people who are taken on to this new trend, without experiencing any of those things. 

Ricky Baez  06:11
So just starting out in their career, and they haven’t had an opportunity to really go out there and showcase what they can do. So management can notice them and they can be promoted. I really think this is more one of those things that they’re looking at five minutes in front of them instead of two years in front of them, and this gonna hurt them in the end. 

Ricky Baez  06:26
So from an employee’s perspective, again, if you want to just do your job, do not worry about moving up the career ladder. Yeah, I guess that works, right? But this is not a pro, it’s more of how you set a justification. But for those of you who really want to move up, you’ve got to do a little bit, something above and beyond to show that you’ve got what it takes to operate at that next level of leadership in that organization.

Pete Newsome  06:53
So you know, thinking about job descriptions, which is in staffing for a long time, I thought about job descriptions a lot over the years, and most of them were very poorly written. Most of them are written by no offense, HR folks who do check boxes, to meet certain requirements or laws that are in place not to say those things aren’t important. 

Pete Newsome  07:17
But it’s more of like I said, checking a box versus really considering what this person is going to be doing day to day, month to month in the individual role. It’s just something as simple as, or as common rather than saying, you have to be able to lift 50 pounds in this job, right? We’ve all seen that in job descriptions, where no one’s lifting anything, let alone 50 pounds, but it’s a CYA thing. 

Pete Newsome  07:46
And we’re in a CYA world, we know that. The other thing I’ll say about job descriptions is my company. When we are recruiting on behalf of another organization, one of our clients, we don’t recruit based on job descriptions, because they very rarely reflect the actual job. And I’ve been saying that for a long time now and operating that way. 

Pete Newsome  08:10
So when I was selling, and calling on clients and managing accounts, years ago, if someone handed me a job description and said, “Here’s what we’re looking for now go find this person for us”, I would put the job description aside and say, “Okay, now tell me who and what you really want.” 

Pete Newsome  08:29
And the vast majority of the time, whatever that answer was, did not closely resemble what was on the job description itself. And that’s because job descriptions are cumbersome. They’re tedious to do, no one likes to do them. 

Ricky Baez  08:48
No, you’re correct there, sir. 

Pete Newsome  08:51
No one likes to do it. 

Pete Newsome  08:52
The hiring manager doesn’t like to do it, the HR person who’s largely unqualified to do it not because there’s anything wrong with that individual. It said, they’re not in the day-to-day of that seat is an HR professional, unless you only are responsible for one particular area of the business, you’re just not going to have that depth of knowledge. 

Pete Newsome  09:14
So it’s understandable why the job descriptions are bad. It’s not a good idea to base too much on what’s specifically in there because you’re gonna be very disappointed and you’re going to walk around carrying things for 50 pounds.

Ricky Baez  09:34
Well, you, you know, you bring up a really good point, because I can tell you from an HR perspective, why those JDs are sometimes way out of date. Because you know, here’s from an HR point of view, here’s how we put a JD together, right? We go sit with the person doing the job for a few hours, and ask him some questions about what kind of skill set it takes. 

Ricky Baez  09:56
I speak to the people who are the recipient of that work and that’s beat to the leader who oversees the quality of the work. And based on that information, I put together a job description. Now let’s say I do that on Monday, right? Let’s say Monday, September 9, for first, whatever, that’s when I do it, this year, between now and a year from now, the job is going to change. 

Ricky Baez  10:21
And every time that job changes, nobody calls HR and says, “Hey, by the way, we’re adding this and we’re adding that and this.” So as time goes on, because of some of these jobs, some of these JDs are about 10 years old. I mean, come on, technology has been created in the past 10 years this definitely changes jobs. So I understand where you’re coming from with that. 

Ricky Baez  10:42
So that’s why I do the same thing. I asked for the JD. And I also asked, okay, who specifically are you looking for? Because these are the quote-unquote, required credentials. Now, what are your preferences? And then let’s put them together, see who we can find.

Pete Newsome  10:56
Sure. That makes sense. And there are some organizations that put significant thought and time and effort into their job descriptions, and they do accurately reflect the role. But in my experience, looking at 1000s and 1000s of job descriptions, I can tell you that that is generally not the case. 

Pete Newsome  11:13
So as an employee, don’t base too much on how you’re going to behave on what’s in there. It’s not going to do you any favors. And I guess what I don’t understand about this concept of quiet quitting or doing the bare minimum is why would you want to be in a role where that was your thought process? 

Pete Newsome  11:33
You know, that sounds like a really unhealthy situation for both parties. If you have an employee, who really just doesn’t want to be there, or like you said, wants to stick it to their employer? That’s not a good idea. I mean, there are lots of other jobs and lots of other places to work. So why would you stay in that situation? 

Pete Newsome  11:57
Did your class have any insight into that? Did that come up at all? Like, why are you at this job where you’re so miserable? Where do you want to actually do it just as poorly as you can get away with?

Ricky Baez  12:11
Did that come up? Not from them, but from me. 

Pete Newsome  12:14

Ricky Baez  12:15
Because I posed that question. Now look, if you’re doing this for the sole purpose of pushing back, right, that tells me that you’re not happy where you are. And if you decide, look, as an employee, for any organization, two things are true. 

Ricky Baez  12:32
A, you decided to apply and accept the role. That’s number one. That’s a fact. And if you’re still there, B, you’ve decided to continue to be there. And if there are all these things that are happening, that you don’t like, and then you start quite quitting, just because you saw it on TikTok you saw it on social media, and it’s a cool thing to do. 

Ricky Baez  12:52
I got to tell you, it’s going to hurt your career in the long run. Because if you’re really upset about what’s happening, yes, you can have a conversation with your leader, you can have a conversation with each other. But if they don’t listen to you, chances are sometimes they don’t listen, then you have a decision to make. 

Ricky Baez  13:10
Either you stick around and you’re okay with those parameters when almost every state in the United States is an at-will employment state 49 of them, you have the opportunity to just get up and go somewhere else. But then the argument to that as well, well there isn’t anything else? 

Ricky Baez  13:26
Well, my argument there is Pete, there are a lot of other jobs out there, just maybe some that you may not have the skill set for which is perfectly okay. Get that skill set that you need to get that position that you want. At some point, employees have to put in that elbow grease to get that career that they want but not every candidate sees that unfortunately.

Pete Newsome  13:49
Well, for any candidate who’s listening, I’ll tell you right now, there are lots of resources available for you out there. There’s never been a better time than right now. And I know some job data has just come out this week indicating that there’s a slowdown in the market. I don’t care. I’m telling you this above and beyond anything we see there. 

Pete Newsome  13:52
There has never been a time in the history of the planet where it’s easier to get a job, it’s easier to get a good job. It’s easier to get a virtual job and to have lots of opportunities where with like you said, elbow grease, a little bit of effort, a little bit of training, and even if you have to take a little step back to take a big one forward. I encourage everyone to go to zengig.com. 

Pete Newsome  14:37
Look at our career guides on there. Look at the path to different professions that interests you. We list job openings all across the country. And you may be surprised if you haven’t looked lately as to how many of those jobs are virtual in nature, how many organizations now will hire and train to have employees long term that maybe don’t have the specific skill set or education coming in, that’s evolved a lot over the past two years because it’s been such an employee’s market. 

Pete Newsome  15:10
So take advantage of that. This podcast is called finding career zen. And so it bothers me greatly to think that people are in jobs, you know, at any significant number of, at scale, where they’re so unhappy that they want to stick it to their employer or approach to their job with less than their best effort. 

Pete Newsome  15:32
And that, to me, there shouldn’t be anything quiet about that, that should be a huge wake-up call. And the reason for you to reconsider what you’re doing every day. Like, you have a choice every day you wake up, and if that’s the one you’re making, you’re probably not very happy about how you’re spending your waking hours. And why let that continue?

Ricky Baez  16:00
Pete, with organizations like zengig, with the resources that are out there, that thing is put together for these candidates, there really is no reason not to have these opportunities out there really depends on what you want to do for yourself. And here’s what I want to tell everybody listening. 

Ricky Baez  16:21
Go to reliable, credible sources like zengig, all the information you need is there to get all the training and all the templates, you need to get that job. Here’s where you should not get your advice from, social media. Don’t do it, don’t do it. Just the other day, one of the students brought up a Ted Talk she sent to me just you know, as a joke, where there was this one guy saying here’s the best way to get your work-life balance back from corporate America. 

Ricky Baez  16:50
And then it showed him on a Zoom call. And it says 5 pm and the manager on the call said, “Hey, I just need a few more minutes I got a few more things to talk about.” And the guy’s like, nope, click and hangs up. Let me tell you, I know why that was put out there. 

Ricky Baez  17:08
Because there are some companies, right, they may not respect people’s time, and they will be there till 6 PM, but a few minutes over I mean, come on, you’re not going to be able to be flexible enough to look, sometimes you go over on time, and you want to show your boss and your team that you are a team player within reason, right? 

Ricky Baez  17:27
Extra 50 Min. But at the minute mark, you’re going to close your laptop and say goodbye, look you’re going to be labeled, I’m just going to say it, you’re going to be labeled as somebody who’s not a team player. And that’s just not a good look in corporate America. I mean, I know people are gonna challenge me on it, then I’m going to like about what it just happened at the end of the day it is a fact, there has to be a two-way street of respect to people.

Pete Newsome  17:50
There does. And if yours again, the situation is so unhealthy that you feel compelled to do that. Find something else to do that. Because if you want to be technical about it, if we look back, I haven’t seen this, TikTok video you’re describing. But if we went back through that person’s day, did they look at personal messages at all during the day? 

Pete Newsome  18:15
Did they get on social media that had something that wasn’t specifically related to their job? If so, if we’re going to be that technical about it, then they should have been terminated on the spot. The second those things happen, right? 

Pete Newsome  18:29
That’s absurd. Of course, it’s absurd. So is stopping the very second that, you know, five o’clock hits. So, I don’t know a better way to describe it, other than to say it’s just an all-around unhealthy situation if you have that kind of animosity towards your employer. 

Pete Newsome  18:49
Now If your employees, if your employer is taking advantage of you, you have to know what that is. But don’t be so literal. There needs to be an important takeaway from this if we’re giving advice. Don’t be so literal with that. Look for situations that are flexible, it shouldn’t be about people working with people. 

Pete Newsome  19:12
That’s, what it needs to be about. So if you’re in a situation, where you just really, aren’t happy, get out as soon as possible. That’s the best advice I could give anyone who’s quiet quitting. 

Ricky Baez  19:25
Well, you just said it, right? It’s how you choose to spend your waking hours, happy, and miserable. I’m not gonna last you some people who are really happy being miserable there. every waking hour, but it’s, it’s you have to decide what you want to do with it. And there are resources out there, we can help you find that other position where you aren’t going to be happy where you’d be happy to stay that extra few minutes because you really care about the bottom line. 

Ricky Baez  19:52
There’s a big difference between an employee caring about the bottom line and caring about the reason the organization exists, versus somebody who just working for somebody, right? Because if you care if you create an environment, so now I’m talking from the organization perspective, if the organization creates an environment in which employees are happy to be there for the reason the organization exists, let me tell you, nobody’s looking at the time. Nobody’s looking at the time. Everybody is just focused on what needs to happen. 

Ricky Baez  20:23
But again, it’s a two-way street. And you, as a candidate, and or employee have to decide what’s best for you. And I’m venturing to guess because I don’t want to speak for anybody and venture into guess that just being that and I’m going to say that Petey, you have it’s I don’t know what is happening, that that brings you joy, I don’t know what is happening in your life, that that you think that’s going to help you in your career, just being combative. And you know, what more power to you? Well, the people who really want to do something, you’ve got to put in that elbow. 

Pete Newsome  20:54
Well this concept of work-life balance, which has, of course, it’s important, right? I mean, I have, you know, my youngest of four kids is 14, right? I look back and you know, it was my kids was growing up. And I was fortunate that I took time when I could to spend with that. 

Pete Newsome  21:16
And that is important, right? But Did I did I have to stay late, you know, and do things for work? Because I had ambitions and wanted to advance? Absolutely. And so, balance means not doing to me, it means not doing any one thing all the time. Could I always go you’ll be the chaperone on the field trip? No. Okay. No. But did I on occasion? Yes, that’s balance. Right? 

Pete Newsome  21:41
Yeah, I saw a post on LinkedIn the other day, because I didn’t even know what this phrase was two weeks ago, and I and I’ve seen it, you know, a dozen times in the past week and a half or so. But then it was a post by a recruiter who was saying, I’m all for quiet, quitting. Don’t do anything more than your employer pays you to do. You don’t have to do this stuff. 

Pete Newsome  22:05
And we need to bring work-life balance back. And it was really talking about work-life balance a lot. And I thought, man, you know, 100 years ago, we from sunup to sundown, most, most of the humans on the planet, were fighting for survival all day, you know, foraging for food, you know, trying to find shelter. And in much of the world still lives like that, where, you know, throughout the entire day, their waking hours they’re trying to survive. So let’s just know that all things are relative, right? When it comes to work-life balance, it doesn’t mean you can’t work until 536. Right? 

Pete Newsome  22:50
Yeah. And that, listen, that’s not going to be a popular thing for a lot of people to hear. But we’re speaking from an HR perspective, from a business perspective, from an employee perspective from someone who wants you to be successful. And I promise you, no one wants more like work-life balance, and I do with my family and my kids over the years. But I also know that success doesn’t happen by accident. And if you want to achieve things, it’s never going to happen by doing the bare minimum.

Ricky Baez  23:23
Right? That’s right. I don’t think I saw that LinkedIn post, but you said a recruiter posted that recruiter post. Yes, folks, here’s what I’m saying about making sure you don’t, you know, uh, shoot yourself in the foot. Right? Because for looking from an HR point of view for recruiting, putting that on there, I would want to have a conversation with a recruiter not for what he or she posted. 

Ricky Baez  23:48
But why did he Why Why does he or she believed that? Let’s have a conversation. Let’s try to fix it. Right. But I don’t think I think giving that advice out there is really wrong, right? Because that gives the wrong impression from somebody who’s supposed to be the face of the organization. So I’m wondering what leadership thought about it. So now I’m gonna look it up. I’m sorry. 

Ricky Baez  24:11
It’s I’m sorry, that I’m sticking to that I kind of got to me. But you see, that’s what I’m talking about with social media. I don’t want people out there listening to just one thing about a specific subject at all. That’s what I’m going to do because Pete That’s what I started to see. 

Ricky Baez  24:27
I’m starting to see people who don’t have that much work experience taking the stance just because they want to follow that trend. And I’m just saying it’s Be careful what you do out there. Be careful what you put on social media because you may think one way right now but as you get older, you evolve, and you get smarter, you become wiser and you may have a different stance on that later on. And this is going to come back and bite you. Yeah, and just about there right now

Pete Newsome  24:51
That’s really important. And I think that’s a good way to conclude this because it’s a message it’s not what everyone may want to hear, but we truly believe it’s what they need to hear. Which is why we’re talking about this today, which is why that’s what you shared with your students in the class who were, you know, aspiring HR professionals who want to be in this world. 

Pete Newsome  25:15
And so we’ll always give you the advice that we think is necessary, even if it’s not popular. So, quiet quitting. Don’t do it. Actual quitting, when necessary, do it.

Ricky Baez  25:28
There we go. So there’s the phrase, Pete, there’s the phrase. Yeah, it’s you know, what, if you’re not that happy, don’t quiet quit. Just quit that is that. You know what I’m going to tell to my students, because next week, we’re talking about quiet firing the opposite of that, which also came up. 

Ricky Baez  25:46
But we could talk about that next week when I’m going to tell them that as far as about having an active role in your career by quitting actively when just things don’t go your way, that’s the best way to end this. 

Pete Newsome  25:57
That’s awesome.

Pete Newsome  25:58
Yeah, well, you can make a logo, just don’t do a logo for your class.

Ricky Baez  26:03
I might get sued. I get sued for that.

Pete Newsome  26:07
Alright, Ricky. Well, thanks for joining today. Now, I’m going to have you back on frequently. So we can talk about these controversial subjects, even those that we think probably shouldn’t be, but this one is a hot topic, and hopefully, we helped lead towards it going away sooner than later. I think it should, it needs to.

Ricky Baez  26:29
And if you decide to quit, loudly, the right way, go to zengig.com. You’ve got all the resources there for you. It will help you with interviews, resumes, and all these tips that are out there in one place. Trust me, you’re not going to be disappointed by the information. It was curated by a lot of leadership HR pros that have your best interests in mind. zengig.com Trust me, you’re not going to be disappointed. 

Pete Newsome  26:53
All the career advice is out there. So thanks for listening today. Drive safe and we will talk to you soon. Have a good one. Bye.